A Quick Guide to Desktop Publishing Software

Desktop publishing software is a tremendous innovation, but where do you start when selecting one to purchase? It might seem easier to continue using your word processor for desktop publishing, but that might not work long-term. By evaluating your own requirements first, you will soon be able to develop a list of possibilities and then filter them down to one.

The most obvious requirement for desktop publishing software is that it be capable of creating your desired projects easily. As you look at the features of each package, you’ll want to know if an application can be used to make the publications you regularly create. In other words, will you create brochures or other business publications, or do you want to be able to make pages for your scrapbooks? The projects you’ll be doing most often should be a primary factor in your decision.

Another basic requirement is that the desktop publishing software fit your own skill level. Do you have the ability to use advanced functions or will the software need to include a lot of templates for tasks you perform often? A user with lots of experience will soon be ready for a change if the package they buy is too basic. Whether you’re still fairly new to desktop publishing or possess advanced skills, the package you choose should be one you’ll feel comfortable using over time.

You’ll also want to ask yourself at what frequency you’ll be using the software. If you’re going to be using it daily, you will probably want a full-featured package, with the ability to create your own templates and master pages, and automate routine tasks. If you will only be working with it occasionally, you might not need these more advanced features. Those features will obviously translate to price, which leads us to our next requirement.

Finding the right desktop publishing software at a price you can afford is also very important. You won’t want to make your decision solely based upon price, but spending too much money for features you’ll never use is also unnecessary. Before you make your final decision, you should also consider how a desktop publishing package incorporates graphics. Can you create your own graphics, choose your own colors and easily add photos and other image files? Take the time to learn whether you’ll be limited to only adding clip art to your publications, or if the package will allow you to create custom design elements.

Two more requirements to go-where and how will you print your projects and how much support is available? Printing at a print shop may require your projects to be saved in a format that your print shop can read and understand.

With regard to support, if you’re a desktop publishing pro, you may only need an occasional assist with an upgrade or advanced features. On the other hand, someone fairly new to this type of software may need to know there’s a support hotline, training classes, or internet resources communities available.

What you require of a desktop publishing package will give you clues about which program is appropriate. Rather than buying the least expensive or most popular package, consider your own requirements when buying and you’ll find desktop publishing a satisfying experience.

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