In this third installment on the best desktop publishing tools for page layout, we'll compare the top three programs for producing home publishing projects (or, as it is sometimes called, computer crafts). And what are these three? Print Shop 22 Deluxe, PrintMaster Platinum 18, and Print Artist Platinum 22. We'll compare each on price, ease of use, and feature set (read: templates).
If you're new to desktop publishing but want a program that can bring out your "crafty" side, you're going to want to start with templates. Professionally designed, the templates in all three programs allow you to create just about any home project you can dream up: wedding invitations, stationery, calendars, banners, business cards, and much more. But massive quantities of templates won't do you any good if the program is too difficult to use, or priced out of your budget. Fortunately, Print Shop Deluxe, PrintMaster, and Print Artist all cost under $50. Let's take a look at each one:
Broderbund Print Shop 22 Deluxe (Price: $40 U.S.)
If you're looking for templates galore (20,000) and could use a photo editor as well, go with Print Shop Deluxe (http://www.broderbund.com/jump.jsp?itemID=1658&mainPID=1658&itemType=PRODUCT&path=1%2C2%2C6%2C413&iProductID=1658
) It But Print Shop offers much more and is by far the most well-rounded desktop publishing tool in this threesome. Print Shop has also been around a long time and its maturity shows in its easy-to-use user interface. If you're using this product for the first time, there are several tutorials to step you through how to use Print Shop's templates and other features, including its built-in photo editor. If you've used DTP programs before, Print Shop also allows you to create your project from scratch.
Broderbund PrintMaster Platinum 18 (Price: $40 U.S.)
) is a first cousin to Print Shop with one key difference: its scrapbooking component. If you're a scrapbooker, PrintMaster is your one-stop solution with its Scrapbook Creator. PrintMaster also wins the template wars with 21,000, but its user interface was surprisingly less friendly. That said, the learning curve is not steep and most first-time users will have no trouble learning to use this product.
Nova Development Print Artist Platinum 22 (Price: $50 U.S.)
Print Artist (http://www.novadevelopment.com/products/Print_Artist_Platinum_22/default.aspx
Any of the page layout programs covered in Part 2 of this series (http://www.brighthub.com/multimedia/publishing/articles/2288.aspx
) can also produce greeting cards, calendars, banners, and so on, but you'll pay more and have to learn more. For newcomers to desktop publishing and those who simply want to create some personal memories using their own computer and a printer, Print Shop Deluxe is your best bet in terms of price, ease of use, and templates a-plenty. But if you're a scrapbooker, go with PrintMaster.