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Desktop publishing forum: DTP applications recommendations?

by: beelissa February 27, 2007 2:25 PM PST

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DTP applications recommendations?

by beelissa - 2/27/07 2:25 PM

Hi. I'm new to this forum but I've been doing DTP a long time. I'm a stay-at-home mom now, and have been for going on 16 years, but before then I worked at a publishing firm and watched the switch-over from old-fashioned typesetting programs to DTP. I learned on Ventura Publisher, this was pre-Win 3.1, whatever that was known as. I also had experience with PageMaker (first on the Mac, later on the PC) and Quark (only on the Mac). System 7 came out about the time I had my first child.

At home, I couldn't afford PageMaker or anything like that. I purchased Microsoft Publisher after doing some extensive research as to what was out there -- this was probably 1994 or so. I still have Publisher 98 running on one of my computers, and it's what I'm most familiar with now. What I like about it is I can import files but I can also easily start with a blank document and type directly onto the page to make a quick 1 or 2 page document, and it does tables and "word art" and things like that. My kids like that it can also be used to make greeting cards, the kind that you fold twice and then you have a card that has a cover and an inside greeting.

So, once again I find myself looking around for a different application. I like Publisher, but I find myself wanting to jump to a different operating system. I've tried several open source programs that I believe would run on Linux (not DTP apps but image manipulation, word processing, presentation, spreadsheet -- The Gimp, Inkscape, Open Office) -- I've liked all of these well enough to feel that I could switch to them and abandon Microsoft and related products entirely. Except for DTP. I tried Scribus. I made a document that, once printed up, stapled and folded, became a 10-page booklet with text and black and white illustrations that I created in inkscape and the gimp. I thought it took me almost twice as long as it would have in Publisher, and I was disappointed with a bunch of things. Maybe this program is different if you run it in Linux? I was running it in Win xp. seem to remember I had to convert all of the inkscape files to a different format, using the gimp, in order to import them into Scribus. And I couldn't seem to create a box of text right in Scribus, I had to type every word in a word processor, save the file, and import it into Scribus. I found both of these things highly annoying, but maybe I missed some workaround or something.

So I'm wondering -- are there good, inexpensive DTP programs out there for the Mac and/or Linux? Or am I going to have to stick to Windows and go out and buy the most recent version of Publisher? Or is there a good non-microsoft but windows-based DTP application out there that won't break my bank?

Thanks for your help!

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