GPU Performance

The Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), found on video cards and as part of display systems, is a specialized processor that can rapidly execute commands for manipulating and displaying images.

GPU-accelerated computing offers faster performance across a broad range of design, animation, and video applications.
This means that InDesign runs faster and smoother than ever before.

System requirements

To use GPU Performance, your Mac should have a minimum of 1024 MB of VRAM (2 GB recommended), and your computer must support Metal or minimum OpenGL version 4.0 or greater.

 Metal capable GPU feature is available to all users from 16.3 or later.

Supported machines

  • iMac 4K
  • iMac 5K
  • MacBook Pro Retina
  • Mac Pro connected to a HiDPI monitor
  • Mac mini connected to a HiDPI monitor

To check for VRAM values:

  • Mac 10.9: Choose Mac > About This Mac > More Info (Graphics information).
  • Mac 10.10, 10.11: Choose Mac > About This Mac (Graphics information).

To find out if your computer supports the required OpenGL version (4.0 or later), see this Apple Support document.

What is the benefit of GPU for InDesign?

HiDPI monitors are becoming the standard. With the high monitor resolutions, it is getting difficult for CPU to handle the rendering.

Also, InDesign’s default display performance has always been set to Typical Quality. Due to this you do not see the images placed in the document in their full fidelity. This was done to provide you with optimum performance when you perform operations like zooming, scrolling, panning etc.

This is where the GPU comes into play. Rendering on high-density displays is best handled by the GPU. GPU acceleration makes the rendering of the documents faster while zooming, scrolling, and panning. With the GPU enhancements, InDesign now shows images in their fullest fidelity without compromising the performance.

If your system has a compatible GPU card, InDesign renders the document using the GPU by default and sets the Display Performance to High Quality.

The enhanced performance from using the GPU in InDesign powers features like Animated Zoom which make zoom actions smooth and animated. Here is how it works:

Select the zoom tool (Z), and do one of the following:

  • Press and hold down the mouse button (long press) to zoom in to the center. Press Option and hold down the mouse button (long press) to zoom out.
  • Press and drag the pointer to the right to zoom in or to the left to zoom out.
  • Press Shift to switch to marquee zoom mode. 

Enable GPU Performance

In Preferences, if your computer meets the system requirements for GPU Performance, GPU option will be ON by default, however, you can always choose to switch to CPU mode and disable the GPU to perform any manual process. To do so, follow these instructions to disable the feature:

  1. In the application bar, click the GPU Performance icon to display the GPU Performance settings in the Preferences panel.

  2. Clear (to disable) the GPU Performance check box and click OK.

Toggle between preview modes

When the GPU Performance feature is enabled, you can switch (Shift + E) between the GPU Preview mode and the CPU Preview mode.

  • To switch to GPU Preview, choose View > GPU Preview.
  • To switch to CPU Preview, choose View > Preview on CPU.

You can also toggle between GPU preview mode and Overprint preview mode by using the Command+Option+Shift+Y shortcut. 

GPU Performance settings

You can change GPU Performance feature settings in the Preferences panel.

GPU preferences

Besides enabling or disabling GPU Performance, here are other GPU Performance settings you can modify in the Preferences panel:

  • Animated Zoom: Select this check box to make zoom actions smooth and animated.

Metal GPU support

InDesign support for macOS Metal API significantly boosts the performance, and increases the response time on systems with Apple silicon M1 chip.


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