Desktop Publishing Software — A Quick Review

by Kim G on January 16, 2011

desktop publishing software

desktop publishing software

This post is a quick desktop publishing software list/review.    Desktop publishing software allows you to freely layout text and graphics on a page. DTP software is very versatile, and can be used for many projects such as flyers, brochures, business cards, newsletters, catalogs and many other publications and projects. Beginning desktop publishers or home computer users are sometimes are confused about what DTP software they will need.  Read our post “Desktop Publishing Software — Understanding Your Needs” to get a better idea about what kinds of features you may need in your DTP Software.

This post will list a variety of DTP Software with different levels of functionality and price ranges.  Some are more suited to professional desktop publishing and some are better for home and small business use.   Anyway, here goes.

Adobe InDesign — This program is  the industry standard for commercial desktop publishing and printing.  You can do almost anything in page layout with this program. InDesign has extensive DTP functionality including, color management, typesetting features, tools for creating and editing graphics.  This program, of course has tons of support, including support through Adobe, commercial videos, training classes and many Internet resources.  If you are new to Desktop Publishing, this program can be overwhelming.  But if you have the money, and the time to learn, it’s worth it.
Price: Approx.  between $550 – $800  Upgrade about $200.  Also available as a bundle with other Adobe Graphics applications.

Scribus — I LOVE Open Source.  Scribus is a free, open source DTP Program with powerful desktop publishing features good for both small business and home projects as well as commercial projects.  Scribus has great built in drawing and graphics tools.  Scribus has almost all the functionality that is available in higher-end commercial DTP programs such as InDesign and QuarkXPress.  There are video tutorials, forums and websites for getting support and guidance.  And, did I mention it was free.
Price: FREE

Adobe PageMaker
— This DTP program was extremely popular (formerly known as Aldus Pagemaker), years ago, and was widely used throughout the industry.  Adobe now owns this software, and they do not plan to release any new versions.  Adobe is encouraging all Pagemaker users to convert to InDesign.  However Pagemaker is still available for purchase, and is an robust desktop publishing package.
Price: $499  Upgrade $79

QuarkXpress — Quark was the industry standard for professional desktop publishing  for many years, until Adobe InDesign showed up.  They still make a great piece of software, widely used by many businesses.  QuarkXpress has advanced font manipulation features, multiple file format support and the ability to export to Flash.  This is a powerful piece of software with a steep learning curve for beginners.
Price: Approx. $800  Upgrade: $300

Microsoft Publisher –  Microsoft Publisher is good for small business or home use.  Publisher has many templates that will get any small business owner up and running with designing and printing business publications such as brochures, business cards, and flyers.  However, Publisher lacks many of the “higher-end” functionality needed for professional printing projects, such as  color management, and kerning.  Also, Microsoft has incorporated much of  Publisher’s page layout functionality into the latest version of Microsoft Word 2010.
Price: Approx. $125.00  Also sold bundled with the Microsoft Office Productivity Suite.

Serif Page Plus–  Serif Page Plus rivals Microsoft Publisher for the home use and small business market.  Serif offers lots of commonly used templates, and an easy to use interface to get you up and running product great looking products.  Serif has added a photo-editing and logo editing tools to add more functionality past the standard desktop publishing features.  This software is worth a look.
Price: Approx. $100

Broderbund Print Shop — Print shop has been around for a while.  It was one of the first easy to use desktop publishing packages, widely used for home and small business print projects.  The software is easy to use, and comes with tons of clipart and fun home project and business templates.  This software comes in a standard, deluxe and professional version, and is inexpensive.  This software is good for the novice or occasional desktop publisher.
Price: Between $29 and $89 depending on which version

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