Fast Approvals Using Adobe Illustrator and InDesign Together


If you‘re working on a project with InDesign and Illustrator, how much time do you spend making PDFs for review? Say you‘ve got a logo going in Illustrator plus a multi-page layout in InDesign. The logo needs to be approved separately, but the client should see it in context on the pages too. So you end up creating a big, super attractive review with all the pieces to ensure a fast thumbs up. Pretty much a pain in the neck.

Here‘s a digital magazine project that shows how you can use Adobe CS Review to set up a complex review pretty easily from inside Illustrator CS5 and InDesign CS5. The project is a city guide, an urban living pub that includes this spread containing Illustrator icons along with copy and imagery — all needing to be reviewed and approved.

Step 1: Start a Review

Inside InDesign CS5, create a new review containing just the one spread, or a range, or every page in your file. Go to the CS Live menu and choose Create New Review. You‘ll be automatically signed into or you‘ll be asked to hop in using your Adobe ID. Name the review and set the resolution that you want your reviewers to work with. Your artwork will then be uploaded. By the way, your upload is called a “part.“

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Start a review from within InDesign, from the CS Live menu.

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Name the review, and set page range and viewing quality. Click Upload to send it up to

Now go to Illustrator CS5, where you‘ve been working on vector graphics for the magazine. You want reviewers to see this full set of matched graphics as well as see the icons as they‘re used in the InDesign layout. Since you‘ve already started a review, you‘ll add this artboard through the CS Review panel. It gets uploaded as a new part to your existing review.

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Add Illustrator artwork to the review using the CS Review panel.

Step 2: Share with Reviewers

In a browser, get into your review and use Share File to invite your reviewers to join. There are two levels of permission you can assign. A Reviewer has a full set of commenting tools and a Co-author can also invite other reviewers, delete others‘ comments, or add content to the review, such as a photo, graphic, or what have you. Reviewers receive your invitation via email with a link to the review, and they‘ll log in using an Adobe ID. No fuss — nothing to download.

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In the browser-based review window, see Share File option. List reviewers, assign roles and create an invite.


Step 3: Gather Comments

Reviewers log into your review and use the commenting tools to remark on selected areas. Everyone on the review can see everyone‘s notes immediately, and they can reply to each other, right there. In the browser interface, it‘s easy to navigate around the art, zoom in, and page up and down. A special feature of review parts created from InDesign is that text is selectable. Reviewers can highlight and comment all the way down to the character level.

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See when reviewers are logged in and watch them comment, almost in real time. On this layout there are some copy problems where text selection comes in handy.

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All reviewers can zoom into the artwork, pan around, and view the hot spots. They can reply to each other‘s notes which is great for quickly resolving conflicts.

Step 4: Make your Changes

Back in Illustrator and InDesign, you can now see all the feedback in the CS Review panels — in both applications — including little thumbnails indicating the areas in the artwork with comments. You can also reply to comments, copy suggested text, flag comments, and totally manage the review from the panels. You don‘t have to do anything in the browser if you don‘t want to. Make changes to your artwork using feedback visible in the CS Review Panel.

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Inside InDesign, see all the review activity in the CS Review panel and make the requested changes right there.

Step 5: Upload New Art and Get Signoff

When you‘re ready to show your edits to your reviewers, choose Add Content in the CS Review panel. The new artwork will be uploaded to the same review, becoming another part to the review available to the same set of reviewers for comment. Using the same review means you can see the history of the feedback from the beginning, and see the responses to your changes, all in one place. Upload both a new version of the Illustrator vector graphics with the color changes, and the InDesign layout showing your copy changes.

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Once you‘ve uploaded your changes, see the growing list of parts. All reviewers can continue to add comments, including you.

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Your updated artwork is available to the same reviewers, no need to send new invitations. Hopefully now you‘ll get approval!.

Most of us would rather work with our images than worry about approvals, but to get a project out the door, someone‘s got to give you the thumbs up. CS Review seems a whole lot easier than making PDF comps or review websites. And it‘s inside Adobe Photoshop CS5, Illustrator CS5, InDesign CS5, and Adobe Premiere Pro CS5. You‘ve seen that one review can contain work from those different tools — next time, try adding a video sequence.

You can find out more about CS Review on the Adobe website at The way pricing works is that CS Review (and the rest of CS Live online services) is complementary for 12 months when you sign up online or register your Creative Suite 5 product before April 30, 2011.

Nisha is the head blogger for She loves tattoos and inspirational quotes. Check her out on google plus


  1. Detailed tutorial. Great stuff, thanks for this. I never thought of using AI but after seeing what can be done with it, I am seriously thinking about how much time I would have saved in all these months.

  2. Useful info. Fortunate me I found your web site by accident, and I am surprised why this twist of fate did not came about in advance! I bookmarked it.

  3. Since CS Live has stopped.. Could you teach us how to create approvals without CS Live review? I’m getting a headache trying to find an answer.

  4. I don’t know how to use these kind of tools. I would love to learn some of these. Hope there’s tutorials about this here. Nice post!


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