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It seems there's a lot of confusion whenever the term 64-bit is thrown around in relation to software. So, exactly what does 64-bit mean to us as InDesign users? Well, the truth is, a 64-bit version of InDesign means a lot. Not necessarily because 64-bit is this ever impressive, awesome thing, but because of what it takes to make an application go from 32 to 64-bit on the back end. Let's start with the basics. One of the most basic things your computer relies on is RAM or random-access memory. RAM acts as sort of a throttling system for your computer that determines exactly how fast you can go and how much you can do at one time.
In theory, the more RAM you have, the faster you can go. So when software is 32-bit. It can actually only leverage two gigabytes of RAM at a time. In today's day and age, that's relatively low. Which means that this application is going to be less stable, and it's going to crash more often because it's more likely to run out of memory. Conversely, with a 64-bit application, you could theoretically throw as much RAM as you want at it. 8, 16 or even 32 gigs if you're feeling crazy, which means that these apps are more stable and they crash less.
So, exactly what does this mean for us, right now? This means that if your computer has more than three gigabytes of RAM in it, you should expect to see some mild performance enhancements when doing heavy tasks in InDesign. So this means a better experience when you're processing long documents. Easier exporting and batch processing, and faster effects. Like blurs, drop shadows, et cetera. Anything basically that would make your computer fan normally sound like it's about take flight. This also means that InDesign should be a more stable application as well. Most crashes occur when your computer runs out of memory or RAM. Having software that can leverage more memory, providing you have more to through at it, makes sure that it's able to run at peak performance without sort of running out of air, basically.
In the end the changeover to 64-bit is just the groundwork. With this new architecture in place, Adobe can now build more powerful features on top of what already exists in InDesign. It's as if in InDesign, we went from a dial-up connection to broadband overnight. This is just the beginning, and the possibilities, literally, are endless.
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