Desktop Publishing

By: Dean Barnard

Copyright (c) 2007 Dean Barnard

What is desktop publishing? This question was put to me a while back and it took me some time to find an easy answer. The closest I can come to it is this: publishing using computer software is desktop publishing. Why a desktop? Because a personal computer is a desktop, isn't it? Work like page layout, margins, typesetting etc. which was done manually was being handed over to the computer. Desktop publishing does all those things right on the Desktop as in a printing press. Computers had been introduced to the printing technology way back in the early nineties. But it was a costly affair. Macintosh computers working on exorbitantly priced software were deployed. Obviously only the very big and moneyed publishers and printers could afford the technology. Slowly things started changing. Flash forward to the present and there is an assortment of desktop publishing software available at reasonable and affordable price.

Adobe PageMaker

Adobe corporation has been at the forefront of developing publishing software. They started off with Adobe PageMaker, which remains my most popular application to date. It has slowly lost market share to other new faces, but in the nineties it was way on top of any desktop publishing software. It occupied very less memory, would work on any PC, made no demands on the hardware and was reasonably priced. No doubt offices churned out newsletters, fliers and pamphlets using PageMaker. It has changed hands many times. With Aldous bought over by Adobe, PageMaker had a makeover from a purely Macintosh application to a Windows one. Adobe added the hugely popular postscript language to it, giving it an added dimension.

PageMaker's easy to navigate menus, color palettes and intuitive tools has added to its attraction. Text can be directly typed and formatted in the layout view. The latest data merge feature helps in importing text, images and graphics from external databases making page layout a fun affair. Provision of color separation tool with authentic print output is an attractive feature of PageMaker.

CorelDraw

CorelDraw is another of my favorites. It was developed for the Intel based computers running windows operating system. Though a vector based software, it was projected successfully as a complete solution for desktop publishing. The feature which I liked most had nothing to do with the software. It was the large collection of clipart which was included with the package which made it almost indispensible. The clipart were so popular that even today one would find them in use. Its latest version X3 includes a powerful bitmap to vector tracing application. Its interactive Fit text to Path tool can be used to manipulate and draw text in various shapes. This is a favorite tool with designers because of its use in all sorts of print applications, from mailers to brochures.

Desktop publishing has revolutionized the print technology. The tedium of manual typesetting has been replaced by a creative and exciting alternative which has boosted productivity to unimaginable levels.

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