Desktop Publishing Software Today

Desktop publishing (DTP) is alive and thriving – but with some notable differences that reflect today’s advanced technologies. While DTP software was once in a class of its own, today we’re seeing a blurring of the lines between word processing and desktop publishing. For example, Microsoft Word lets you create advanced layouts and links between documents, and many desktop publishing applications include word processing capabilities.

Dedicated desktop publishing software can be divided into three categories: high-end, small business, and budget. The following list is not exhaustive, but mentions more well-known products in each category.


When we think of high-end DTP software, Quark and Adobe are leaders.

QuarkXPress 7 is considered the industry standard and holds the market share for high-end DTP software applications. The award-winning QuarkXPress 7 (approx. $749) is suitable for large publishing tasks such as layouts for magazines and newspapers. Its multi-user capabilities allow more than one user to edit different “zones” on the same page and allow layout and graphic elements to be edited outside of the layout application. Speed ​​is one of the product’s notoriety claims, according to a new independent report by Ron Roszkiewicz Consulting. According to Quark’s website, the report concludes that QuarkXPress 7 offers the highest productivity in both design-intensive and production-intensive workflows.

Adobe’s InDesign CS3 is a tough competitor and according to Adobe the new standard in page layout software. Priced at around $699, this high-end product is intended for fast-paced publishing environments where two or more people work on design and layout at the same time. Like QuarkXPress, it is well suited for laying out large publications. The application includes features found in both Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and integrates with other Adobe products including Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, InCopy, and Acrobat. People unfamiliar with these products will find a steep learning curve. InDesign CS3 is available for both Mac and Windows operating systems.

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I’m not sure where the Scribus DTP program fits in. According to the website, “Scribus is an open source program that brings award-winning, professional page layout to Linux/UNIX, Mac OS X, OS/2, and Windows desktops with a combination of print-ready and new edition approaches to page layout.” ” The site promises that under its user-friendly interface, the product supports professional desktop publishing features, including CMYK color, separations, ICC color management, and PDF creation. An enthusiastic user community provides support for new users, and the price (free) is hard to beat.

DTP for small businesses

Microsoft and Adobe are the ones to beat in this category.

Adobe PageMaker 7, InDesign’s “little brother”, is suitable for small businesses, schools or organizations that want to create brochures, sales letters, newsletters, one-page flyers, complex reports and similar documents. The application provides templates, graphics, and intuitive design tools that enable users to work productively with other Adobe applications. It can be output to any printing device, including high-speed digital printers and high-end commercial printers. PageMaker is available for both Mac and PC and costs around $499.

However, CNET readers were less enthusiastic, giving PageMaker a mere 5.3 out of 10. Complaints included a steep learning curve, the fact that it’s four times the price of MS Publisher, its main competitor, and the poor quality of the HTML-generated pages. CNET recommended PageMaker for companies that publish many documents and want to quickly convert paper documents to PDF files or compile catalogs from databases. Adobe encourages users to switch to InDesign, so PageMaker 7 may be the last of the PageMaker releases.

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Microsoft Office Publisher 2007 is intended for small businesses, schools or organizations and allows you to create the same types of business documents that were mentioned for PageMaker 7. In this first release since 2003, Publisher was designed to offer a quick start and short learning curve. Interchangeable templates allow you to start, for example, with a business card and then click one button to create a return label with the business card information already attached.

The Editor’s Tasks feature is another interesting concept – this feature provides tips on various topics such as: B. how to prepare a publication for a mailing list or how to track the impact of marketing campaigns. The application integrates with other Office components including Office Outlook 2007, Office Excel and Business Contact Manager.

The average customer rating from Amazon is 4.5 out of 5 stars. The software costs around $150 if purchased separately or comes with MS Office

Budget-conscious DTP

Quite a few offers dominate this category, but I couldn’t pinpoint the leading products.

The Printing House 22 Deluxe

It’s hard to believe, but this software has sold more than 17 million copies since it first appeared in the 1980s. The current version is 22 for PC and 2 for Mac OS. The PC version is available in Print Shop Deluxe and Print Shop Pro Publisher Deluxe editions. This software includes graphics and layout tools that you can use to create brochures, business cards, calendars, CD/DVD labels, certificates, family trees, greeting cards, and handmade cards and invitations.

Print Shop 22 Deluxe cost around $50 and received 3.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon. Various companions are available, including Print Shop Pro Publisher Deluxe, aimed at small businesses; the Print Shop Design Suite Professional Edition; and a few applications specifically for creating family trees.

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CeledyDraw 2

CeledyDraw is a graphic design and desktop publishing software application suitable for homes, schools, and small businesses. Tailored for the layman, it creates logos, graphics, flowcharts, diagrams, flyers, brochures, business cards, greeting cards and more. Celedy Draw (about $65) can only import text in text format, which can be an inconvenience for small businesses used to including Word documents in their publications. According to Consumer Guide Products, this software is best for creating one- or two-page documents and has a fairly steep learning curve.


Canvastic is desktop publishing for K-8 kids. The application offers a clear screen display that grows with the user. It has no toy features and teachers have advanced options to customize the application to student needs. The product retails for $80 while an educational license is available for $60.