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AdforceX is compatible with macOS® 10.14 Mojave through 14.5 Sonoma

Cognitive’s AdforceX is the flagship of our award-winning ad layout systems — completely reimagined, redesigned and reengineered to run on every Mac operating system and hardware from Mojave forward (including on the latest Macintosh hardware using Apple Silicon M1, M2 and M3 processors). And AdforceX is fully integrated with our AdImport, Fido and Split & Folio Plug-ins for Adobe® InDesign® CC 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024, providing an end-to-end, “plan to print’” production system for your publications.

Welcome to AdforceX 4.0

This release represents a major milestone in the development of both our core ad layout functionality as well as a major upgrade to the dynamic AdforceX SmartFlow module that brings rapid, intuitive and completely customizable layout for classified liners and displays.

We have also introduced major changes to Smart Link, the built-in AdforceX technology that automatically finds and links the digital asset file to each ad. With a completely redesigned and optimized interface, Smart Link now supports sophisticated wildcard mapping, enabling AdforceX to find and link image files to ad placements – even, for example, when ad numbers are embedded in complex file paths. This makes it easy for ad departments to name the ad files so they are easily recognized and still have Smart Link find them.

Version 4.0 also includes extensive new enhancements and additions such as:

  • New issue navigation tools
  • New ad grouping and ungrouping capability
  • New placement drag modes
  • New, fully integrated Help system
  • New import and export options for configurations
  • Expansion of the Rules Manager
  • Real time preferences display


With growing requests to flow classifieds within the same issue as display ads, SmartFlow has been a critical priority on our development roadmap. We’ve made it easy to set up your classified import data – main classifications, sub-classifications and headers – with a simple import mechanism, saving lots of time in configuring SmartFlow for your classifieds.

While we’ve updated most of the options in SmartFlow, the most significant enhancement is the ability create and manipulate multiple flows. Display ads and whole classifications can be moved interactively around the page or to another page. This creates the ability for ads to be moved in and out or between flows. When you drag one or more additional ads into a placed SmartFlow, the flow automatically reflows around a placed ad(s). And, when dragging ads into a flow, classification and sub-classification headers can be placed automatically above the ads. All reflow processes are lightening fast, even in image mode.

Another SmartFlow enhancement is Drag Justification. This function allows a user to select any number of columns in a flow and by dragging the selection rectangles that appear, the flow can be resized in both the horizontal and vertical planes. 

Ad Placement Enhancements

In version 4.0, you can group and ungroup sets of ads. A grouped set of ads can be moved react can be dragged or nudged like you would a single ad.

One of the cooler additions to the product is the introduction of “drag modes.” Drag modes allow you to drag and drop ads onto a page in one of three manners. You can simply drag an ad on a page, and it will place based on page gravity. If you wanted to override page gravity and place the ad exactly where you want it, use PreciseDrag. Finally, you could use SnapDrag to have the ad “snap” to the nearest column while respecting the page’s vertical margins.

Other User Inspired Updates

  • Hand Tool to drag the issue around
  • Zoom In and Out keyboard commands
  • Lock/Unlock sets of ads
  • Real Time preference updating

Ad Group display options

AdforceX Rules Manager

Beautifully designed publications often have hairline rules that separate ads and ad stacks from editorial content. But how much time is spent in page production creating and placing those rules in InDesign or drawing box rules around certain display ads? Well, AdforceX users don’t have to do all that work in InDesign anymore. After a few months of development and with the generous input from some of our premier customers, we have provided the ability to apply rules in any AdforceX issue and, with the latest version of our AdImport plug-in for InDesign, you can bring them into InDesign pages along with their linked ads. In fact, we’ve given you the ability to create rule sets that are publication specific! But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s dissect the Rules Manager.

Anatomy of the Rules Manager

The Rules Manager consists of three building blocks that enable you to create an individual rule set, place rules based on criteria you specify, and then group rule placements into collections that can apply multiple rule placements in one step. And, naturally, you place rule sets to placements on single page or to an individual ad placement, giving you absolute control. As with nearly all AdforceX actions, any of these actions is undoable.

The Rules Editor is the where the individual rule sets are created. You can define your own or choose to create and edit one of our standard presets. Rules can be created to place boxes around ads, place line rules between classified liners, divide content between editorial and advertising, and even box an entire stack of ads.

Once you’ve created the individual rule set, use the Rules Placement Editor to apply placements based on specific criteria. Say you wanted to apply liner rules to classified ads. To do this, you could create a placement that applies the rule to the classified section. Placements can be applied to ads based on selected ads, the entire issue, page ranges, and ad types – just to name a few scenarios.

Lastly, you can use the Rules Collections palette to create, define and apply multiple Rule Placements at once. Take the classified liner placement example we mentioned previously. Say you want to have a Rules Collection that places rules between liners and places boxes around the classified displays, but only in the classified section. To accomplish this, create the rules in the Rules Editor, create the placements in the Rules Placements Editor and then create a collection using the Rules Collections palette. Once created, simply click Apply and each rule set will be applied in the classified section.

Not all publications may have the same design. Some of our customers are laying out dozens of publications with AdforceX and require different rule sets for each publication. Managing them all would be a nightmare, but since Rule Placements and Rules Collections are supported in Publication Preferences, you can organize which Rules are available for each publication.

Want to find out more about how Rules work with AdforceX? Just reach out to us at


Simply Our Best Ever Ad Layout Solution

With a completely new, streamlined set of interfaces, AdforceX makes the ad dummying process easier and more intuitive than ever with these capabilities:

  • Contact the Cognitive technical support team directly from within the application
  • Easy license management for transferring licensing and preferences across multiple machines
  • Contextual menus for quick and convenient access to page and runsheet actions
  • Ad dummying with image views in either spread, married or single page view
  • Type any entry to filter pages and ads
  • Pages and Runsheet Inspectors for viewing and batch-changing information about ads and pages
  • Detachable Runsheet Arrangements to quickly switch between multiple runsheet views
  • Built-in linking intelligence that automatically links ads to their digital files using SmartLinks or Search Folders
  • Publication-specific Preferences allow multiple publications to each have their own structures, column models, ad sizes, conflict rules, sections, products, markets, zones, etc.
  • Layout view displaying the issue as a miniaturized graphic representation of pages and ads
  • Layouts palette to build comprehensive auto layout processes you can ‘run’ individually or sequentially
  • Comprehensive page requests that can include page ranges, special tags and multiple page requests
  • Issue template management for efficient access and reuse of issue setups
  • Physical press sectioning with automatic folios combined with logical content sections allowing precise ad placements
  • Definable issue configurations to automate section structures and page color assignments
  • Customizable user interfaces
  • Multiple column models and page sizes — even in the same issue
  • User-definable Conflict Rules to control ad placements based on a variety of criteria
  • Watch folder notifications when ad images “drop” into a Smart Link or Search Folder or when ad image files are modified
  • Pagination Manager to calculate page count needed to reach desired ad percentage for the issue


Easy adoption for ALS and AdForce customers

Our customers have relied on our ad layout solutions, day in and day out, for years. To make sure it’s easy to adopt AdforceX, we built an intelligent import process that brings in your ALS or AdForce preferences. This  ensures that your configurations and import setups that align with your front-end data will work with AdforceX right from the start.


Plenty of help to guide your way

AdforceX tool tips display descriptions and usage for every aspect of the application. And the Help menu has all the instructional documentation to help you learn how to configure and use your new software. Select a topic and it opens in your browser. You can find whatever you need as you work with AdforceX, or download the full setup and user guide to refer to it anytime.

Same tried and true features

On top of it all, AdforceX has all the key capabilities our customers have come to expect from our ad layout solutions:

Keeps track of color placements, page and section requests, pickups and a host of other requirements.

Imports tab-delimited runsheet files from any electronic order-entry system.

Supports a wide array of customizable page and issue attributes.

Controls double truck placements and accurately exports bleed ads to InDesign.

Flows ads automatically, by drag-and-drop, or a combination of both.

Manages ad conflicts and even shows you a potential conflict as you drag and drop ads.

Links ads to their digital file paths without requiring file path entries in the runsheet.

Multidirectional flow controls allow forward, backward or random ad distribution.

Completed issues and pages can be opened in InDesign with ad links, folios and all the other layout information inherited.

System Requirements for AdforceX 3.5

Macintosh computer with Intel processor for macOS 10.14 Mojave, 10.15 Catalina, 11 Big Sur, 12 Monterey and 13 Ventura. Supports either Intel or ARM processor for Big Sur through Ventura.

AdforceX layouts can be opened InDesign using our AdImport Plug-in for CC 2021 through 2023 on Mac or Windows.

Click LINK to see full compatibility chart.