Difference Between Illustrator and Indesign

Adobe Corporation Inc. has a specialization in making those types of software that are used for the creation and publication of different types of content. Be it photography, illustration, animation, video, graphics, motion pictures and print. Adobe is famous all around the world. There are millions of users of adobe who use its flagship product for editing or photoshopping images i.e. adobe Photoshop. Besides this they are other apps of Adobe like Acrobat Reader, PDF Illustrator, Indesign etc. all this falls under Adobe Creative Suite.

Illustrator vs Indesign

The main difference between Adobe Illustrator and Indesign is that when it comes to handling a single page project, Illustrator is the best app to use it. But when a multi-page project comes, Indesign is considered as the best application to use. It also keeps numbering the pages automatically. Illustrator was released in the year 1987. Indesign was released in the year 1999. Illustrator is used for a vector graphics editor. Indesign is used for Desktop Publishing.

Illustrator and Indesign

Illustrator was launched by adobe Inc.Earlier Illustrator was designed to be used in Apple Macintosh. After that its development started in 1985. It is used as a vector graphics editor. Recently it has been reviewed as the best application for editing vector graphics. Illustrator consists of various tools like a sidebar that appears on the left of the screen with options like create, manipulate,  and select objects or artworks. The select tool can do the following things such as reshaping, slicing and cutting, symbolism, moving, drawing, typing, painting, and zooming, and graph.

Indesign is also produced by adobe Inc. It is used as a page layout designing and desktop publishing software. Following works can be done by using Indesign like flyers, brochures, magazines, newspapers, presentations, posters, books and ebooks. With the help of the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, Indesign can also publish content on tablet devices. Users that use Indesign mainly are Production and Graphic artists who create various types of posters, print media and periodicals.

Comparison Table Between Illustrator and Indesign

Parameters of ComparisonIllustratorIndesign
TypeVector Graphics editorDesktop Publishing
LanguageC++, ActionScriptC++
EditingNot goodConsidered best
DrawingBestNot good
FeaturesPerfect for creating Logos.Very well integrated with other systems.

What is Illustrator?

Illustrator was being developed for Apple Macintosh in 1985. Its commercialization began in 1987 as font development and PostScript file format software. Adobe Illustrator was produced, developed and published by adobe Inc. It was a companion product for adobe Photoshop. Illustrator was considered good for creating logos, and it provided better results in typesetting and graphic design. Earlier, Illustrator was called “ the Adobe Illustrator”. When version 1.7, called Illustrator 88, came into the market, many new features and tools were added.

When the earlier versions of illustrator were launched, it didn’t support preview mode. So users have to open two windows simultaneously. One to show their work in progress, and the other showed the live preview of the work. Eventually, it was developed for Apple, but Adobe launched it on other platforms as well. In the 1990s, Illustrator was launched on platforms like NeXT, Silicon Graphics IRIX, Digital Equipment Corporation Ultrix, and Sun Solaris. Illustrator Version 4 was the first that supported preview mode. Then to boring consistency, Adobe changed its interface and made it the same for both Windows and Apple users.

Adobe illustrator was compatible with Inkscape. It has a lot of tools like APen Tools, Pencil Tools, Paintbrush Tools, Selection Tools etc. One feature called Illustrator Draw is also available with Illustrator. It is a free vector drawing app available on both android and iOS devices.

What is Indesign?

Adobe Indesign was made by the company Aldus Corporation as PageMaker in 1994. After suffering losses, Aldus sold PageMaker to adobe. Adobe launched PageMaker as Indesign in 1999. Version 1.0 of Indesign was also released in the same year. Firstly, adobe launched Indesign in the united kingdom. After several faults and bugs, kernel architecture was removed from Indesign forever. Indesign is considered as the first software of desktop publishing designed for Mac OS X. When the third version of Indesign was launched, adobe bundled the product along with Photoshop, Illustrator and Acrobat Reader in Adobe Creative Suite.

The feature of Indesign is that it is available in multiple languages. It can even export the documents in adobe’s PDF. It supports Unicode character sets, advanced transparency & typography with OpenType fonts, layout styles, optical margin alignment, and cross-platform scripting with JavaScript. New file Format and ‘Drag and Drop Feature’ was available in Indesign after 2004.

When InDesign was localised, then it was released in Middle eastern editions with features like Text settings, Bi-directional text flow, Indices, Table of Contents, Reverse layout, Importing and exporting and complex script rendering. The user base of Indesign is spawned in over 35 countries with approximately 50,000+ users.

Main Differences Between Illustrator and Indesign

  1. Illustrator is a Vector Graphics editor. Indesign is a Desktop Publishing software.
  2. Illustrator is written in C++ and ActionScript. Indesign is written in C++.
  3. When it comes to handling single-page documents, Illustrator is the best choice. Indesign is capable of handling multi-page documents efficiently.
  4. Editing of images is not done very well in Illustrator. Editing images is considered best in Indesign.
  5. Fore drawing enhanced and creative designs, Illustrator is best. Indesign is not good at this.
  6. Feature of Illustrator includes considered good for creating logos and typesetting. Features of Indesign is that it is good for text-related projects and very well integrated with other systems.


Both illustrator and Indesign are the software of adobe corporation. They both constitute an important part of the Adobe Creative Suite. Although they were launched in different years. Their purpose is also different from each other. Some of the features like drawing and editing images overlap. Illustrator and Indesign both can handle multi-page documents. But Illustrator cannot handle such large files. Indesign is considered best for these.

The work that Indesign can do. No other competitor is there in the market to compete with it. For shapes, icons, logos, words or texts that use effects etc., Illustrator is used. Indesign is used for automation tools to handle texts and typography, create or edit the images, type, insert or format images etc. is done.


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=aQ9OTbj3heQC&oi=fnd&pg=PT15&dq=Illustrator+and+Indesign&ots=Uc_VZbEcMG&sig=R_Co0qxZIPfCl9QE_3d0PdhtrUs
  2. http://www.wibkekraemer.com/portfolio_kraemerwibke.pdf
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