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Tips on Choosing Desktop Publishing Software

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Ginny Edwards•updated: 10/24/2010

In the process of choosing desktop publishing software applications, you must consider using trial versions first before making your final decision. This will assure you that your choice was an educated one.

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    In the process of choosing desktop publishing software, you have to consider a lot of factors. This is a short guide to help you determine those factors which will hopefully make your decision easier.

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    Your Desktop Publishing Needs

    You must first determine your desktop publishing needs. You can do this by evaluating why you need a desktop publishing software. Will you be doing some professional page layouts, long documents, database-based documents, enterprise publishing, small business publishing, home publishing, creative printing, web publishing or any combination of these general tasks? If you find desktop publishing applications that can handle all of these needs, then you will have yourself viable candidates. If you think you will only need a specific kind of task done, focus on software that will help you with that. Also, take into consideration the kind of printing hardware that is or will be available to you. A high-end desktop publishing software that gives you clean and elegant results will be for nothing if your means of printing gives you sub-par results.

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    Software Learning Curve

    If you are not a publishing professional, you need to consider software that is simple and easy to use. Otherwise, you should look for software that does not have a steep learning curve. It needs to be an application that you can learn and understand in a short span of time. If possible, go for a software application that you can be an expert on in due time. You can ask co-workers or friends about the learning curve on these applications. You can also read reviews and user feedback on the Internet to get a feel of how user friendly the desktop publishing software is.

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    Features, Additional Effects and Future Upgrades

    Most desktop publishing software applications have a trial version that you can download from the Internet. It is recommended that you download and try as many as possible so you can get a firsthand look at the features like spell checker and thesaurus, usability, navigation, special effects, and default templates including templates for brochures, greeting cards, business cards, labels, envelopes, certificates, menus, resumes, and newsletters. Look for the application that gives you creative freedom the most and can offer you more features, tools, and usable design components like fonts, clip art, stock photos, and graphics in future software upgrades.

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    Your Budget for the Purchase

    You may have found the software that suits your needs and user reviews say it is very easy to use, but it may cost you a little too much especially if you are not running a business and if you are just going to use the software for personal purposes. This is why you should look for several desktop publishing software that fit your needs and with positive user feedback. From your list of candidates, you can then determine what is appropriate for your price range.

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    Taking into consideration all the tips in choosing desktop publishing software previously mentioned, it is recommended that you try the latest versions of the following software applications so you can make an educated decision: Adobe PageMaker, Adobe InDesign, Adobe FrameMaker, Quark XPress, Serif Pageplus X2, and Corel Ventura.