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  1. #1
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    I design a lot of posters, fliers, booklets, etc. for community choirs, an artist friend, personal use, etc. I do basic layout, photo manipulation, etc. but tend not to do much drawing.

    I've been using an outdated copy of CorelDraw 7 (it keeps crashing!) for some years, and also have a creaky old version of QuarkXpress. I'm reluctant to learn anything brand new, although it does seem that many of these packages have lots of techniques in common.

    It seems to me that the old distinction between desktop publishing, word processing and photo manipulation has all but disappeared. You can use Word OR Photoshop to do much of what I require, but neither program does quite what I need.

    I'd really like an updated all-round software package that is very versatile, which allows me to do document layout accurately AND to manipulate photos to a reasonable standard. BUT I don't want to fork out for the latest Photoshop or Corel or QuarkXPress packages. Not only are they hugely expensive, but they all seem like over-kill for my needs.

    Any advice very gratefully received!

    Chris


  2. #2
    Bronze Lounger IanWilson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Rowbury View Post
    I design a lot of posters, fliers, booklets, etc. for community choirs, an artist friend, personal use, etc. I do basic layout, photo manipulation, etc. but tend not to do much drawing.

    I've been using an outdated copy of CorelDraw 7 (it keeps crashing!) for some years, and also have a creaky old version of QuarkXpress. I'm reluctant to learn anything brand new, although it does seem that many of these packages have lots of techniques in common.

    It seems to me that the old distinction between desktop publishing, word processing and photo manipulation has all but disappeared. You can use Word OR Photoshop to do much of what I require, but neither program does quite what I need.

    I'd really like an updated all-round software package that is very versatile, which allows me to do document layout accurately AND to manipulate photos to a reasonable standard. BUT I don't want to fork out for the latest Photoshop or Corel or QuarkXPress packages. Not only are they hugely expensive, but they all seem like over-kill for my needs.

    Any advice very gratefully received!

    Chris
    I use Serif PagePlus which is pretty versatile and easy to use. The price is fairly modest (79.99 in the UK). You can get an older version free though there have been several updates since then and you may find that it lacks features from the latest version that you would want to have.


    Ian


  3. #3
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    Thanks for the suggestion Ian. I have heard lots about Serif PagePlus, and will check it out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Rowbury View Post
    Thanks for the suggestion Ian. I have heard lots about Serif PagePlus, and will check it out.
    See Publisher Home Page - Microsoft Office Online. An upgrade version is not very expensive in the US - $99.95 USD list price. You can find some pretty good deals on Office 2007 if you search around a bit.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Bronze Lounger IanWilson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP View Post
    See Publisher Home Page - Microsoft Office Online. An upgrade version is not very expensive in the US - $99.95 USD list price. You can find some pretty good deals on Office 2007 if you search around a bit.

    Joe
    Chris is in the UK, not the US, I believe. And in my view, PagePlus is much easier to use and more versatile than Publisher (though to be fair I haven't tried any version of Publisher later than Office 2003).


    Ian


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    Quote Originally Posted by IanWilson View Post
    Chris is in the UK, not the US, I believe. And in my view, PagePlus is much easier to use and more versatile than Publisher (though to be fair I haven't tried any version of Publisher later than Office 2003).
    Yes, I saw that he was in the UK. I just wanted to give him a reference point on price that is why I included the US list price. Office 2007 can be found at a discount easily now days. You are certainly entitled to your view on any program and probably have much more experience with DTP than I. The OP asked about inexpensive DTP programs. I know Publisher is used by many people and is relatively inexpensive.

    No harm intended.

    Joe
    Joe

  7. #7
    5 Star Lounger RussB's Avatar
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    Look into OpenOffice.org, irfanview.com, and/or gimp.org. Yes may a little learning curve, but it just may be well worth it.
    Do you "Believe"? Do you vote? Please Read:
    LEARN something today so you can TEACH something tomorrow.
    DETAIL in your question promotes DETAIL in my answer.
    Dominus Vobiscum <))>(

  8. #8
    Bronze Lounger IanWilson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP View Post
    Yes, I saw that he was in the UK. I just wanted to give him a reference point on price that is why I included the US list price. Office 2007 can be found at a discount easily now days. You are certainly entitled to your view on any program and probably have much more experience with DTP than I. The OP asked about inexpensive DTP programs. I know Publisher is used by many people and is relatively inexpensive.

    No harm intended.

    Joe
    Sorry, Joe. I hope I didn't come across critical or sarcastic.

    I do use PagePlus for one church newsletter on a regular basis, but I am sure that I don't get nearly as much out of it as it is capable of doing, and I'm no expert. But although I have Publisher as part of the Office package, I think I'd find it harder to produce what I want with it. The upgrade version of Publisher 2007 is 84.72 on Amazon, which I think equates to about $130. As is often the case, you can get cheaper software in the USA!

    Ian

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  9. #9
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    Thanks for your suggestions so far. It seems that both Publisher and PagePlus are marketed as desktop publishing packages. Do they include good image manipulation too? I'm used to being able to tweak photos to quite a sophisticated degree in the Corel package. Also, are their outputs easily and readily acceptable to professional print shops. I did read somewhere that Publisher wasn't liked very much by printers!

    I guess these two packages again highlight the fact that there is no longer any clear distinction between image manipulation, word processing and desktop publishing packages. I did a CD cover layout with CorelDraw which is basically a drawing package; a colleague did the same thing using PhotoShop; and I've also done a photo-heavy booklet using Word.

    I'm getting more bemused as to what KIND of package I should be looking for!!

    And yes, software always seems MUCH more expensive here than in the US.

    Chris





  10. #10
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    Hi Chris

    There are links to some free Desktop Publishing programs at Free Desktop Publishing Software for Windows - Try These Free Windows Desktop Publishing Software Options.

    Cheers
    Ken
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/KenK_sig.gif>

  11. #11
    Bronze Lounger IanWilson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Rowbury View Post
    Thanks for your suggestions so far. It seems that both Publisher and PagePlus are marketed as desktop publishing packages. Do they include good image manipulation too? I'm used to being able to tweak photos to quite a sophisticated degree in the Corel package. Also, are their outputs easily and readily acceptable to professional print shops. I did read somewhere that Publisher wasn't liked very much by printers!

    I guess these two packages again highlight the fact that there is no longer any clear distinction between image manipulation, word processing and desktop publishing packages. I did a CD cover layout with CorelDraw which is basically a drawing package; a colleague did the same thing using PhotoShop; and I've also done a photo-heavy booklet using Word.

    I'm getting more bemused as to what KIND of package I should be looking for!!

    And yes, software always seems MUCH more expensive here than in the US.

    Chris
    PagePlus can produce output as a PDF file and you have a good degree of control over things like the degree of compression of images, whether to include crops marks, registration targets, colour calibration bars, whether to output colour as RGB, CMYK, and so on. (Many of these are features I haven't used myself, I have to admit!)

    Ian



  12. #12
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    It seems that both Publisher and PagePlus are marketed as desktop publishing packages. Do they include good image manipulation too?
    Also, are their outputs easily and readily acceptable to professional print shops. I did read somewhere that Publisher wasn't liked very much by printers
    I don't know anything about PagePlus but I would also recommend Publisher as a quick and effective Page Layout program. I use it for simple jobs I need to share with less experienced users and it works pretty well and has a good set of templates ready to go. I have never actually bought a copy individually because it is often bundled with the MS Office suite and so to me it is as good as free.

    I have also heard that it isn't liked by printers but the problem lies not in the program but in the user. The printer bureaus like files prepared by design professionals who have learned the hard way what the printers need. People who supply InDesign and Quark Express files to a printer are LIKELY TO BE professionals who have worked with printers many times before. People who supply Publisher files to a printer are LIKELY TO BE office workers doing a one-off job and unlikely to understand print bureau issues like image & font inclusion, bleeds, rich blacks, close registration, die cuts, CMYK colour images, spot colours etc. For this reason the printers 'don't like Publisher', not because of the program's actual capabilities.

    In any case, PDF is the file type absolutely loved by printers - if you can save the final product as PDF then any bureau would be delighted to do business with you.

    Publisher (and Microsoft) does not have good image manipulation nor good vector graphic capabilities. You need to use different programs for that. If you are looking for free image manipulation tools you might want to start looking on this forum for recommendations. In the free vector graphic tools, I have used Inkscape and been very impressed with the bang for the buck.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

  13. #13
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    I haven't used Page Plus in a gazillion years, so my rather negative impressions are quite dated. I also found Publisher 2003 to be cumbersome and had text disappear unexpectedly when a file version was saved. That caused major problems with a project that needed several edits. I swore off Publisher after that experience. I have used InDesign, CorelDraw x3, Photoshop, Photoshop Essentials, and more in the interim.

    I had Publisher 2007 installed as part of an Office 2007 installation. I was having problems with spot colors rendering in RGB with some labels I created in InDesign. Frustrated, I decided to try recreating one using Publisher 2007. It took a while to find out how to position and size things as precisely as I could with InDesign. I wrongly assumed that it wasn't possible. Once I discovered how, it was just as easy as InDesign. Specifying color was another area that took time to discover how to go beyond the simple. Once I did, it, too was easy. The color seemed more true both on screen, printed from Windows, and in PDF's. I am now using Publisher for many other projects where I would have used InDesign. I have sent pdf files to commercial printers with no complaints.Photo manipulation is actually more robust than I expected. You can certainly do all of the normal placement, layering, cropping, compressing, rotating, and resizing that can be done in most layout programs.

    I am more familiar and therefore more comfortable manipulating photos and vector images with Fireworks (for the web) and PhotoShop or Illustrator. But...the more I explore PhotoShop Elements, the more I'm deciding that it will become my "go to" graphics program. It is much less expensive than the full PhotoShop, easier to accomplish routine tasks that take many steps in the full PhotoShop and there are robust user forums that explain and showcase some pretty amazing images created with Elements. Like Publisher, there is much greater control over just about everything than what is obvious from the interface. Once you know how to get to those controls, a whole new world opens up for the control freak.

    Don
    Don
    Windows 10 64bit, Intel Core i5-490K 3.5GHz, Intel HD Graphics, 8GBRAM, 350GB SSD

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