Comparing InDesign with PowerPoint and Word

As we’ve been designing across all three platforms for many years, we thought it would be useful to share some of our insights. We acknowledge that each has a purpose, however understanding the design compromises or risks is also necessary.

There are benefits with using Adobe InDesign (InDesign) over Microsoft Word (Word) or Microsoft PowerPoint (PowerPoint). Resources, software, budget and project deadlines are all factors in determining which software package to use.

PowerPoint

PowerPoint is software for presentations that has become a psuedo design tool for organisations worldwide.

Upside

  • Most organisations have access to PowerPoint and therefore can amend content without the need for a designer.
  • Templates can be created and styles locked down to assist your organisation’s staff to stay on brand.
  • Good solution when a template or style remains consistent throughout presentation.
  • Good for tailored presentations for a topic or event.

Downside

  • Not suitable for documents that need to be printed.
  • Default user settings such as margins, Word version and mac/pc operating system can compromise the document flow and formatting/design leading to wasted effort adjusting the document.
  • Not ideal for presentations that contain large amounts of complex information as there are limitations to the design capability.
  • Every computer needs to have the same font installed otherwise PowerPoint defaults to another font and therefore compromises the design.
  • Larger file sizes becoming unmanageable.
  • When exporting a PDF from PowerPoint the image resolution size is compromised and images pixelate.

Best use: Presentations of most types.

Word

Word is software for word processing that much like PowerPoint has become a default tool for some design projects.

Upside

  • Most organisations have access to Word and therefore can amend content without the need for a designer.
  • Templates can be created and styles locked down to assist your organisation’s staff to stay on brand.
  • Good solution when a template or style remains consistent throughout document.

Downside

  • Not suitable for documents that need to be professionally printed.
  • Default user settings such as margins, Word version and mac/pc operating system can compromise the document flow and formatting/design leading to wasted effort adjusting document.
  • Deletion of section and page breaks can impact document design.
  • Documents grow in file size quickly as soon as visual graphics are inserted rendering the files unmanageable and in some cases corrupting the files (we’ve all been there).
  • Every computer needs to have the same font installed otherwise it defaults to another font and compromises the design.
  • When updating images generally need to be sized specifically. Incorrect sized images cause the document content to reflow.
  • Exporting a PDF from Word image resolution size is compromised and images pixelate.

Best use: Primarily text based documents with limited images.

InDesign

InDesign is purpose built, industry standard design software that allows for the greatest flexibility for design projects.

Upside

  • As a purpose built tool it ensures the best design outcome with no compromises in design.
  • Easier to manage high quality images, graphics and supporting brand elements.
  • Once design is created, can be relatively quick to update images and text.
  • Professional, high quality output for print.

Downside

  • Unfamiliar software for non designers.
  • Changes require either a skilled designer or an internal resource with a level of proficiency with InDesign.
  • Cost of subscription ID if used internally.
  • Last minute changes are dependent on available resources.

Best use:  Any professional looking document or design that requires complex information to be represented in a way to promote, advertise or communicate your brand.

We are more than happy to work on projects based on our clients requirements. However, it is important to understand the need for using the best solution for your project and how it makes all the difference to the project output.