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Broderbund Print Shop 22 - Cheap and Clumsy but Useful

written by: Haresh Khemani•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 2/24/2009
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Broderbund Print Shop 22 has a wide range of features and tools including a photo editor. Bundled with thousands of templates and images, this desktop publishing program makes it easy to create greeting cards, crafts, calendars, skins for an iPod®, and much more.

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    Introduction

    Broderbund Print Shop 22 is a useful software program for the most printing needs of home users and small businesses. Broderbund Print Shop 22 has features and tools similar to highly popular and more expensive programs like PageMaker, CorelDraw, and PhotoShop. With a few simple steps, you can create banners, letterheads, business cards, mailing labels, calendars, CD-DVD labels, web pages, and much more. You also have the option of creating these projects from the scratch or by using one of Print Shop 22's many templates. [See Images 1 and 2]

    Print Shop 22's photo editing features let you crop and resize your photos, change the brightness, and apply a number of effects. The photo editor's step-by-step instructions show you how to apply the various changes to your photos. [See Image 3]

    The highlight of Print Shop 22 is its user interface (UI). Designed to be extremely user friendly, Print Shop 22's UI makes it easy to start creating any type of print-related project without any prior training. The addition of thousands of templates and images make it even easier for those who are totally new to desktop publishing. Print Shop 22 actually trains you to create highly attractive and creative printing projects.  [See images 4 and 5]

    Though thousands of images are available in the Print Shop 22 gallery, you can create your own by using the excellent drawing tools included. Various shapes can be created for desktop publishing projects or for web pages.Print Shop 22's versatile text tool enables you to insert text in your images in various formats. [See Image 6]

    The help and support features of Broderbund Print Shop 22 are another strength of the software. Tutorials on a wide range of features help you create various printing jobs not only with Print Shop but also with any other desktop publishing software in general. [See Images 7 and 8]
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    Help & Support

    Rating AverageWhat's Hot: Strong support in the form of help center and highly dynamic tutorials are the prominent assets of Print Shop 22. In fact, the trio of assets in Print Shop: user interface, features, and support make Print Shop a great tool to learn desktop publishing functions. This saves you lot of time and money over having to learn them in class. The interface is highly interactive, the functions are wide and tutorials are easy to understand. You can start using the software in the shortest possible time.What's Not: I didn’t find any free telephone support.
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    Price to Value

    Rating AverageWhat's Hot: Broderbund Print Shop 22 Standard is available at a mere $24.99 with a host of features for which other companies charge hundreds of dollars. Thousands of templates and images added with the software make it even more valuable.

    Print Shop 22 comes with dynamic tutorials and support so you don’t even need external training to learn the software. Creating the professional quality printing projects and editing the photos with photo workshop are very easy.What's Not: Considering the wide variety of the features, the cost of the Print Shop 22 is very low, but unfortunately the company has not been able to offer highly efficient and productive software. Print Shop 22 is very slow; while adding the template or the graphic images it seems as if the software is getting crushed under it own load due to highly dense contents. The slow working of the software is very frustrating and at times you literally feel like uninstalling Print Shop 22 and using the more popular and expensive software.

    In fact, I found that using open source free desktop publishing software like Inkscape, Scribus, and Paint.Net are much more efficient and productive.
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    Installation & Setup

    Rating AverageWhat's Not: I have never found installation of software to be as difficult as it was for Print Shop 22. It seems Broderbund is living in the primitive age when installation and setups required lot of expertise.

    First of all, let me inform you that Print Shop 22 will not install on your Windows Vista operating system. I’m using Vista Home Edition so I had to install Print Shop on my other computer. 

    I started downloading Print Shop 22 on my Windows XP, but I was told to first download Appstream Application Manager, which was a highly mysterious application. When I started downloading Print Shop 22. I was not asked anything about where to save or install it; instead the application manager started saving and installing the software without my knowledge while I was still waiting for the download. I could not find what the size of Print Shop was nor had I any clue as to when the download would be completed.

    Suddenly, I saw the icon in the Programs Menu and I was able to open the software directly. Later, I found that I could open the software from application manager also. However, it was very, very slow. When I tried to add the template of the selected image, Print Shop 22 would hang for many seconds and then move further.

    Meanwhile, in the Appstream Application Manager, I found that Print Shop was still under the process of downloading quite slowly, even on my broadband connection. Then from the application manager itself, I found the size of software to be whopping 1269MB, which was unbelievable. After downloading 413MB the process of downloading stopped and then I started getting server problems.

    During this whole process I could only open Print Shop 22 if my computer was online, otherwise it wouldn't start.

    I can’t understand why Broderbund has made the installation process so complicated. Maybe they are trying to prevent the piracy of their software, but this isn't the proper way to do that. If in the process of installation and setup the user gets frustrated (as I got), they won’t think of using it further, no matter how useful and dynamic the software is.
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    User Interface

    Rating AverageWhat's Hot: The User Interface is one of the strengths of the Print Shop 22 and it makes using the software easy for the newbie. With the highly interactive user interface you can create professional quality printing projects without any prior training.

    When you open Print Shop 22, a long list of the various types of projects open where you can select a category such as blank pages, banners, booklets, and many others. The next step is to select whether you wish to create the project from scratch or a previously created template. [See Image 1 and 2]

    For the newbie, the best way to create projects of professional quality is by using the template. Thereafter, you are told to select the template of your choice to which you can easily add text and images with various effects and alignment. At any stage you can go back to original window by selecting the various options available in left pane.

    If you wish to edit the photos or the clipart, you can select the option of “Edit a Photo" from the starting window. The photo workshop editor enables you to edit your photos in systematic steps. Print Shop’s photo editor interface is the easiest I have ever seen.What's Not: The user interface is highly interactive but adding the templates and images is very slow and time consuming. Print shop 22 takes lot of time in searching the templates and images. At this stage you wish that they should have been available externally in a separate package and not within the software.
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    Product Features

    Rating AverageWhat's Hot: The wide variety of features offered by Print Shop 22 is its other important strength. In a single software you get combined features of popular and expensive desktop publishing packages.

    By choosing the option of “Blank Pages," you can create  page designs of professional quality with various text and graphic effects. There are also readymade templates and images to choose from. [See Image 9] 

    Within a few steps, you can create Banners, Business Cards, Calendars, CD/DVD Labels, Certificates, Greeting Cards, Hand-Crafted Cards, Invitations, Letterhead, Newsletters, Photo Greeting Cards, Postcards, Signs and much more. Within each project you can apply various text effects, background effects, water marks, etc.

    Photo editor is another important feature of Print Shop 22. It’s a sort of workshop which comprises the step-by-step instructions to edit the photo or the clipart. The interface is such that you learn while performing photo editing.

    If you wish to create you own graphic images, various drawing tools are also available. You can also create professional quality web pages and even publish them on the website.
    [See Images 10 and 11]

    Print Shop 22 creates the files of various formats depending on the type of project selected by you. You can save the project in PDF format to take the printout anywhere. All the projects that have been created in Print Shop 22 can be seen under  the “My Projects" menu.What's Not: Broderbund has tried to put all the desktop publishing features that are found in separate softwares on the market into a single software. They have greatly succeeded in doing this but have sacrificed operational speed in the process. In fact, with so many features, Print Shop 22 has become clumsy.

    Further, adding thousands of templates and images has increased the size of Print Shop 22 well beyond imagination. In fact, the total size of the software (1269MB) is highly unacceptable. I can go as far as accepting the size, but when I tried to add the template or image to the project, the software would hang (stop working) for several seconds and sometimes it would stop responding at all. This is a frustrating test of your patience. And it doesn’t happen only once, it repeats again and again.

    Even while using certain tools of the photo editor, Print Shop 22 would stop and take a longtime to operate. Overall, I was able to download only about 413MB of software in more than three days on my broadband connection; thereafter I started facing server problems.

    Print Shop 22 creates projects in file formats which will not open in other software and computers on which this software is not installed. This can be troubling, especially since Print Shop is not a widely used software. Of course you can always create the files in PDF format and print from any computer.
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    Performance

    Rating AverageWhat's Hot: Print Shop 22 works smoothly as you select the type of the project or photo editing feature. It’s easy applying various texts, color, background and other effects. Creating your own images is easy. Photo editing features are explained and implemented in a step-by-step manner.What's Not: Applying templates and inserting images is very slow and frustrating. The software hangs for long periods of time and also stops responding all too often. Some features of photo editor are also extremely slow. This reduces the efficiency and productivity of the user.
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    Images

    Starting WindowSelecting the method to create your projectPhoto EditorArt (Images) GalleryProject GalleryDrawing ToolsPrint SHop Help CenterPrint Shop TutorialsSample page designSample WebpageSample Webpage
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    Suggested Features

    * Installation should be made easier by separating Print Shop 22 from the application manager. Make the installation similar to other popular software.

    * Reduce the size of the software. Provide templates and images in a separate package.

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    Conclusion

    Print Shop 22 is good software for home and small business users interested in creating desktop publishing projects like banners, letterheads, business cards, mailing labels, calendars, CD-DVD labels, web pages, and much more. You can create the projects either from scratch or by using the templates.

    With the help of thousands of templates and images provided with Print Shop 22, you can create professional quality printing projects without any prior training. The user interface of Print Shop is also very easy and helps you learn and use the software simultaneously.

    Print Shop 22 has some excellent tools for text, color, white marks, drawing and more. The files are saved in various formats including the PDF.

    Print Shop 22 comes with photo editing tools. The step-by-step instructions enable you to apply various editing and special effects to your photos.

    Print Shop comes with wide range of features including those of the popular and expensive desktop publishing software available in the market. The software does have constraints regarding its slow performance.
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    Related Products

    Art Explosion Publisher Pro, Microsoft Publisher 2007