You can export the file to IDML and it will open in CS5. Whether is resembles your layout or not is up in the air.
This is, quite simply, a very poor workflow. If the recipients need CS5 files then work in CS5.
If you all upgrade to CS6 there should be no issues opening the earlier files.
We need to purchase software for my computer. I need to know what I need to purchase. I cannot purchase earlier versions of CS from Adobe, only the most current version. Which leaves me with an issue of compatibility. If I had CS5 already, I would not be asking this question as it would be moot... My only options at this point are to purchase CS6 and have potential issues with files, or try to find a version of CS5 from a 3rd party vendor like Amazon or ebay (neither of which is a good option, if you know anything at all about corporate purchasing policies and practices). I need to anticipate how much of an issue I'll have if we purchase CS6 so it doesn't interrupt workflow.
And if what you are saying is true, then why did the other Adobe employee tell me (definitively) that the 2 versions are not compatible in any way, shape or form? Based on the comparison table, it would seem they are dramatically different.
So far, I've gotten 3 different answers, all from Adobe "experts." I'm very frustrated. Especially that I cannot just get on the phone and speak to a live tech to answer this seemingly simple question...
An exact answer depends on the exact wording of your question.
"Are CS5 and CS6 files compatible with each other?" NO.
But a longer, and more accurate, answer is "They are, up to a certain point and with proper precautions."
1. You cannot open a 6 file in '5 or earlier. To be able to, save your file as IDML -- that *can* be opened by earlier versions, at least one or two. (Saving back to a CS3 compatible format, for example, takes more effort and a working CS4.)
2. When saving as IDML, the file ought to open exactly as it was with the original version. If there were any new features used in the file, they will be (silently!) ignored by older versions.
3. Due to code changes, there might be a change in text flow. Nothing you can do about it, text is always reformatted according to the internal rules of the version you open it with.
4. Older version files ought to open right away in a newer version. "Ought to", because the latger the difference in version, the larger chances *something* might fail. Apart from that, the text might also reflow, as per point 3.
So you see, the correct answer to "are they compatible. depends more on how much time you have to answer it.
(I also have the distinct impression we, the daily users of InDesign, know substantially more about it than your average Adobe Help Center employee. :) Any further questions? Always here to help.)
Thank you. Yes, I tend to agree - frequent users are typically better sources of accurate information. Your answer was more helpful, and we may purchase CS6 and take our chances. It sounded from the other Adobe person who said they were NOT compatible that the IDML option did not work with CS6 as the versions were SO dramatically different. I guess they didn't want to make the sale! Thanks again.