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InDesign VS. Illustrator:Which Software Suits You Better?

Here's the comparison guide between InDesign and Illustrator that’ll help you make the right choice.

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While both Adobe graphic design software InDesign and Illustrator sound similar, they function quite differently, hence posing a great challenge for users when making a choice. These two industry-leading tools feature unique, beneficial designs and a plethora of functions that will help you achieve your design goals.

However, the choice between them always bothers the users, thus leaving them confused and overwhelmed. But there's no need to freak out, as our experts are here to assist you. We have compiled a comprehensive guide covering a brief introduction to both tools, followed by an in-depth breakdown of differences so you can make an accurate choice.

Part 1. Overview of Adobe InDesign and Illustrator

Here's a complete overview of both designing tools so you can have a better understanding of them.

1. Adobe InDesign

adobe indesign

Adobe InDesign is an industry-leading software and is widely acclaimed for its ability to create neat and clean layouts for both mobile and desktop devices. It is primarily launched as a desktop publishing and typesetting software with the intent to create flyers, posters, magazines, and newspapers.

This Adobe tool can be easily auto-integrated with Adobe Publishing Suite, making it a perfect choice for publishers and artists. InDesign is a versatile application that offers its users pixel-perfect control over their typography and design. The tool is precise enough to cater to even the most discerning professional in the industry.

What makes this design software worth giving a try is its ease of learning and simple user interface. Unlike other professional Adobe tools, InDesign is fairly simple to use and navigate. However, it features a few complex text controls that may take a bit longer than usual to master. Due to its simplistic design and advanced features, the tool is suitable for both beginners and professionals alike.

Want to know more about this Adobe-based design software? Keep scrolling and find the key features, compatible systems, and pros & cons of using the tool here.

Key Features:

  • Well-Designed Interface: Compared to all of Adobe's Creative Cloud Applications, this app comes with a well-built and customizable interface. While it follows a dark gray background, you can add your personal touch by customizing it fully.
  • Creates Multi-Page Documents: The tool has a number of useful tools that helps you create multi-page documents. Also, the Master Page functions of the software keep the master copy, which can be quickly inserted into different locations.
  • Beneficial Integrations: InDesignseamlessly corresponds with several integrations, like Canto DAM, to handle different files and tasks.
  • A number of Export Options: The tool features plenty of export options to make publishing the file hassle-free. Moreover, it also provides you access to some analytics to check how your project is performing.

Supported Systems: Windows and macOS


It can handle any layout task.

The software is packed with a number of useful tools.

It features various style settings and libraries.

The tool offers complete system support.


It is pricey and also charges a cancelation fee if you want to move out of the plan.

Tricky layering

2. Adobe Illustrator

adobe illustrator

A vector-based graphic design software, Illustrator has quickly become a key member of Adobe Applications, alongside Photoshop and several others. This software is mainly used to create icons, incredible patterns, and product packaging. The major feature that gives this tool an edge over others is its ability to produce intricately detailed and patterned designs.

Since this software is entirely vector-based, you can rest assured as all your designs are completely scalable. Moreover, the tool performs a good job when creating notable logos that require minute detailing. It has become a branding asset for several companies that require sophisticated designs of varying sizes and shapes.

However, before you jump into adding the tool to your collection, it's good to know the fact that Illustrator is designed for projects that require maximum artwork and creativity. It features 90 different tools for character creation, producing out-of-the-box patterns, and creating stunning typography.

Here are mentioned some of the key features of this graphic designing tool that set it a class apart.

Key Features:

  • Creates Custom Letters: This tool is by far the best Adobe program for creating custom letters. You can draw or sketch the idea manually, and the tool will then vectorize it to add your imagination to life.
  • Excellent 3D Effects: Illustratorfeatures a plethora of 3D effects to make your project look more realistic. You can import several 3D materials to your Favorites and then use them in your project whenever you want.
  • Eases the learning curve with in-app Discover Panel: The in-app Discover panel of the tool offers helpful information to ease the learning process. You can also use the Help tab to find quick questions and reminders.
  • Customizable Interface: Users can instantly customize its flattened interface from dark to light gray. In addition, you can also change the configuration of menus to enjoy a better experience.

Supported Systems: Windows and macOS


It creates out-of-the-box patterns with unique detailing.

The tool supports multiple repositionable pages, and you can easily resize them with presets.

It is stocked with a tool panel that contains around 90 different options to choose from.

It offers tons of file-exporting options.


Quite complicated to use

No universal hotkeys or shortcuts

Part 2. Top 4 Differences between InDesign and Illustrator

Now that you are covered with the overview, it's time to enlist some major differences between these design tools. Check the comparison guide and make an appropriate choice for your project.

1. What Are They Used for?

Adobe InDesign: It is mainly designed for text-based documents, specifically books, magazines, and newspapers. This software mainly focuses on layouts and is thus used at the end of the creative process. Since it works with pages, it can easily handle multiple layouts but features a few drawing options.

Adobe Illustrator: This tool is an ideal choice for those looking to produce creative, enhanced patterns and designs. It is specialized in vector graphics and illustrations; hence, it is used at the beginning of the creative process. Illustrator works well for creating artwork and logos. It is a graphic design software, hence, does a good job at graphics rather than blocks of text.

2. What Are Their Distinctive Features?

Adobe InDesign:

  • It works in pages and thus maintains a specific order while working.
  • The tool has strong formatting skills.
  • The main goal of the tool is to put together the different elements in an appealing way.
  • It has a few design options.

Adobe Illustrator:

  • This software works in artboards, which may or may not be sequential.
  • It has powerful design skills and brings your imagination to reality.
  • The main objective of the tool is to complete all design aspects before the project can go through the final formatting.
  • It features around 90 different design tools.

3. Benefits of Using

Adobe InDesign:

  • It is an expert in handling long documents, even up to tens of thousands of pages.
  • InDesignis good at creating multi-page documents, like brochures and magazines.
  • This tool is extremely simple to use, and you don't have to undergo any special tutorial for the same.
  • It offers the best output project features and lets you design a document in horizontal and vertical variants.
  • Collaboration and sharing with InDesign is way easier than all other Adobe apps, thus saving your time and increasing productivity.

Adobe Illustrator:

  • It is ideal for producing unique logos, single-page documents, vector images, and attractive business cards.
  • This tool is extremely diverse when it comes to creating complex graphics and works well with all other Adobe applications.
  • It allows for in-panel editing and is completely scalable.
  • The software lets you create files in manageable sizes. Hence you will never get stuck with enormous files that are hard to export.
  • Illustratorworks on almost any computer system, be it Windows PC or macOS.
  • It can easily create print-ready and web graphics to save you time and effort.

4. Plans & Pricing

Adobe InDesign:

  • It is available at US$20.99 per month.

Adobe Illustrator:

  • This app is available for US$20.99 per month.

Part 3. [Bonus] Great PDF Alternative to Adobe InDesign and Illustrator

wondershare pdfelement

While Adobe InDesign and Illustrator offer best-in-class features, they come with a pricey tag that might not be suitable for budget-conscious users. That's where Wondershare PDFelement - PDF Editor comes into the role.

This affordable alternative is a reliable and probably the fastest way to handle your PDF documents across different devices, including web, mobile, and PC. While the tool offers tons of powerful features, it comes at half of the price of Adobe, thus catering to the needs of budget-oriented users.

PDFelement is compatible with multiple operating systems, be it Android, iPhone, Windows, or macOS. This tool is all about simplicity, functionality, and affordability. Moreover, it is a lightweight option that won't take up much space on your device, thus not affecting your system's performance.

With a refreshed interface and myriad features, this classic PDF editor lets you manage your PDF documents without any hassle. Unlike Adobe Illustrator and Indesign, you won't have to go through complex learning tutorials to use the tool. Just download the tool, get the subscription, and start editing.

Below are mentioned some key features of the Wondershare PDFelement that make it worth paying for.

Key Features:

  • Easy Editing: Want to edit PDFs like Word? Turn to the PDFelement and make easy modifications. With this, you can change colors, sizes, and font styles and insert links and watermarks to your document.
  • Annotate Files: Whether you want to add comments or edit the existing ones, PDFelement lets you highlight, underline, or draw on the file instantly.
  • Organize your PDFs: The tool lets your merge, split, and rotate files so you can manage them in one place. Users can also extract the desired pages and create a new PDF from the same.
  • Creating a Form: Creating and filling forms in PDF has never been easy, but with Wondershare PDFelement, you can do all these things without putting much effort.
  • Add passwords to your PDF: This tool always keeps safety on the top; hence, it allows you to add passwords or create signatures to prevent unauthorized access.

Supports basic and advanced business features.

Cross-platform compatibility makes it ideal for everyone.

Simple and user-friendly interface

Offers a variety of useful features


It might slow down occasionally.

System Support: Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS

Awards & Certificate:

  • It won the Best Software Awards 2022.
  • The tool has also been recognized as a leader in PDF editors.
  • It appears on the 2022 Software Advice Front Runners list.
  • PDFelement is also listed among the top 50 office products in 2022.