The new InDesign CS will hold its own as the document-layout anchor of Creative Suite and as a standalone DTP package, but as a product update, there's little to write home about.

Upside: Only one of InDesign's enhancements boasts universal appeal, but it's a biggie: nested styles. For example, you can now define a style format that carries format info for both the paragraph's initial cap and the body text. That can be a big time-saver, especially for layouts intended for multiple targets, such as print and online. Adobe also claims to have improved performance.

Downside: Though important in their various contexts, the rest of InDesign's mostly subtle updates will likely appeal to only niche segments of its users--those with output intended for offset printers or XML documents.

Outlook: Even if Adobe had left InDesign untouched and QuarkXPress hadn't rolled over and died, InDesign would still be the winner for complex desktop-publishing tasks. So when it ships at the end of this year, the $699 price tag won't seem unreasonable. However, justifying the $169 upgrade might be more difficult.