Good day all -
-- Which software? Depend on what exactly you would like to do. If you want to layout a book - that is page to page, on and on the a page layout
program might be the best choice. Corel Ventura, Adobe Pagemaker, or Quark Express. Page layout programs are near the top in difficulty of
learning - to make use of all the features available.
-- Next are the "smaller" or lower-level page layout programs. Serif's PagePlus, of course Microsoft Publisher, and a couple of others.
-- Then are the word processers - Corel WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, AbiWord, OpenOffice, etc. And you can use WordPad depending on
your final needs ( and WordPad comes with all versions of Windows ). These are designed for business and personal document production, but
can be used ( by employing built-in features ) for all kinds of layout - including newsletters and books. Not as full featured as a dedicated layout
program, but serviceable. If you already have these it may behoove you to learn more about their capabilities, and if you already have Microsoft
Office, in some business edition, you may already have Microsoft Publisher ( I dislike this program intensely ).
-- Lastly, I'll mention drawing programs. CorelDRAW, Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia Freehand are at the top of the heap. And then there are a
bunch at a second tier. The only ones that come to mind right now is Serif's DrawPlus.and SmartDraw Pro. Drawing programs provide the
maximum flexibility in layout simplicity for impostion ( for printing at home on a single page printier ). The additional bonuses are, the program is
already able to handle "vector" ( scaleable without loss of quality ) images. This means you can create images for your book, layout the pages to
be printed at home, do the imposition, etc - all at your control right in front of you.
-- Yes, these programs demand some learning but offer a lot for a little, and as you learn them will offer more.
-- Personally CorelDRAW is the easiest to learn and offers the most bang for the buck. Illustrator and Freehand are far more convoluted to learn
and have other quirks that make using them problematice at best, in my opinion. A few years ago CorelDraw held 85% of the world market for
graphics programs - I'm sure that is down a bit now with new competitors in the market.
-- CorelDRAW, beginning with version 4 offered multi-page layouts for the first time, and I've actually put v4 on several persons computers. It is a
good choice for those who need minimal graphics. BUT version 11 is the current version and I now recommend v8 or v9 for anyone wishing to get
into this area - you will have five years of learning before you exceed it abilities - and v8 / 9 will save you quite a bit of money.
-- Look on places like eBay ( don't bid, just pay the few dollars extra to buy it from someone who has several discs. Buy legal discs, not copies.
) Also buy full versions and not "upgrade" versions.
-- A huge bonus of buying CorelDRAW is that it is nearly always sold as a suite of programs. You will get a vector drawing program of un-
matched power, a photo editing program ( PhotoPaint ) that many consider to be the equal of PhotoShop, the ability to create fonts, a tracing
program ( to convert bitmaps to vector images ), and a whole bunch of other things, like a barcode program, too. Over 1000 fonts are included in
the package. If you get version 8, it will include a 3d drawing program ( CorelDREAM ) which was dropped in version 9. Version 10 added a
program called CorelRAVE, which is a competitor to Flash - for creating on screen animations like Shockwave. Version 11 is easy to find as it is
the newest - and the most expensive.
-- You can export Corel files for printing at many shops - and it has the ability to export PS / EPS ( PostScript / Encapsulated PostScript ) files
for those shops that can take electronic files directly to press. AlphaGraphics / Kinko's / more.
-- If you feel you need a real page layout program the costs skyrocket. Corel's Ventura is cheap for a professional program at about $700 or so (
but it usually includes Corel PhotoPaint, and WordPerfect word processor. Quark Express, ~ $1300, and is the favorite of magazine publishers,
but difficult and has little in the way of extras ( and recently was "beaten" in an evaluation of page layout programs ). PageMaker has been
around for some time and has its' supporters.
-- A few people I know who layout books for authors for a living - will double their price if an author sends them a file in Word or PageMaker
format. They prefer text in rich text format or Wordperfect format - and each use Ventura as their page layout program.
-- Serif was selected as the fourth "best" software company last year by a very well-respected consumer computer magazine. Serif has a
corporate idea of looking at the best features of high-end software and incorporating those features into their lower priced offerings. A couple of
their programs have features not found in the very costly "professional" programs.
-- Serif's PagePlus PDF ( the newest version ) just beat out Quark in the evaluation article I read last year - it had always been second or so in
the past few years. The newest version now offers PDF ( portable document format ) creation as a feature. And its' price is listed at $130
compared to Quarks ~ $1300 price. PagePlus offers an internal word processor, 400 fonts, and some graphic features also - and now multi-page
-- Okay, I'll go out on a limb here. I would recommend that anyone interested in trying out several programs, or in learning some computer
graphics, and photo editing . . . go get the FREE versions of Serif's software. These are now a couple of versions old and are offered as an
inducement to buy the newest versions. You will need to "register" to download them - but I would recommend that you go the CD route. You do
have to pay for shipping $6 I think it is. WELL worth it to try them out - but you can download them and be just fine. If you do not have a high-
speed internet connection - the CD is the better choice.
-- You will get PagePlus page layout program, DrawPlus drawing program, PhotoPlus photo editing program, WebPlus web page creation
program, and 3d Plus for 3d images ( WebPlus and 3d Plus are questionable, but are on the CD ). GREAT to learn on.
-- If you buy each of the above new versions you will be much better off buying the CorelDRAW suite.
-- Now, if you are / get serious about this, even halfway serious, get CorelDRAW suite - period. Version 8 or 9 will cost you from about $15 to $50
including shipping and offers you so much more for your investiment. Version 10 is also available to $125 to $200, and the newest version
11 is anywhere from $175 to about $300 - Full price is about $500 or so for a new, not upgrade, version.
-- For the uses I am guessing at - printing at home primarily, doing your own graphics, letters, layout, imposition, cutting, etc - CorelDRAW is the
only choice as far as I am concerned. And it does have the bonus of being a full-featured suite of programs, and can export for professional
printing too. The inclusion of 1000 fonts and more clip art than anyone will use doesn't hurt either.
-- As you might guess, I am truly biased toward Corel - they don't send me any money though. I've used, and own, many of the above mentioned
programs and now rely on CorelDRAW and Serif almost totally for what I am doing in the graphics areas. I use both Corel PhotoPaint and
PhotoShop for photos ( but there are some very nice FREE photo programs out there ).
-- You can see a broad range of examples of graphics, logos, lettering, maps, etc, I've created by wandering through my "umbrella" website of
about 300 pages The address is http://www.kintner.com
Good luck, it is sometimes daunting, but begin . . .
Barry A. Kintner - Phoenix, Arizona a2z@...