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Desktop Publishing Software Buying Guide

By
Matt D'Angelo
,
business.com writer
| Updated
Dec 13, 2018
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Desktop Publishing Software Buying Guide

Whether for drafting company brochures or printing new business cards, publishing software is an essential tool for many business owners. There's a lot to consider when deciding which program to purchase. For some businesses, page layout software that's focused more on enterprise-level operation and pairing with third-party companies, like printing services, can be the best option. For smaller, at-home projects that need a professional appearance but don't demand control over the publishing intricacies that page layout software provides, desktop publishing software may be a better choice.

Regardless of which is best for your business, it's crucial to consider what features your company needs. While most software includes tools for managing text and building professional documents, individual features vary greatly.

Why Buy Desktop Publishing Software?

Publishing software allows your business to produce professional-grade documents at a fraction of the cost of commercial printing. Restaurants that need to print menus, businesses looking to produce an e-book, and a writer looking to self-publish a novel can all benefit from either desktop publishing or page layout software.

Publishing content in a professional manner establishes a good face for your business. A publishing system that is flexible and has a lot of features allows you to adjust your print materials to fit your business, regardless of how its style or feel changes over time. Most software comes with the ability to edit and filter images, create elegant text styles, or layer elements to create visual effects. With the proper support systems, workers can learn how to effectively and efficiently create documents and edit content.

Besides presenting your company in a professional manner, publishing software can serve as a more efficient way to create content. Every business owner has used a word processor like Microsoft Word, but those same projects may be better off in publishing software like InDesign. A typical example is flyers. It's easy to hop on a word processor and create a flyer for your business. But with publishing software, you can use more features and create a better, attention-grabbing flyer for your business.

Features to Look For

There are a few important features to look for when considering publishing software. Besides the different sharing and publishing options, publishing software should come with a full selection of tools for design and page layout.

  • Layout tools – Make sure you find a program that is user-friendly and fits your skills as a designer. Some programs have a steep learning curve, so it's important to find one with layout and organization tools that are easy to pick up. For more experienced designers, the ability to do things like group objects and arrange layers can be a crucial aspect of a program. Also, you should be able to quickly reconfigure paragraphs and toggle the snap-to-grid alignment.
  • Design tools – Just about all of these programs should have tools to adjust graphics, add filters to photos or edit images. The best programs, however, allow you to go even further by designing things like smartphone apps, e-books and QR codes.
  • Text options – You should be able to do things like create drop caps, type text along a customized path and treat letters as individual shapes. Some programs even allow you to create visual effects. While text options are important, they take a back seat to layout and graphic tools for these programs.

Pricing

Common Desktop Publishing Software Questions & Answers

Have a desktop publishing software question of your own?
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What type of Adobe software do I need to design my own brochure?

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InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop are the defacto standards for desktop publishing. But having the software and learning to use it doesn't make a professional desktop publisher, designer or photographer. You have to know some of the principles of what makes a good page, and how to incorporate copy and graphics effectively. Having an inherent sense of what a balanced, visually appealing page is, is important. InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop are great tools. But they're just that —...

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If you are laying out a project for print you need to use a combination of software. Adobe CC includes InDesign. InDesign on its own is a okay program. It works best with Photoshop and Illustrator. It is a layout program. Illustrator is great for vector graphics and a specific kind of illustration. Logos and branding work great in Illustrator. Photoshop is for photo retouching and getting creative with pixel based images. Photoshop is also a illustration tool. Now when you have your...

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I look for relationship, reliability, flexibility, and timeliness to delivery - long before price. Cheapest price does not always mean business. What are your core values, what is important to you to provide to your customers, etc...I ask this because, for example...as a consultant, coach - with tons of us out there, I could deliver on my core values and go inexpensive..but that is devaluing my work, and customers will see that - therefore it works against me - it certainly doesn't work for...

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I like to highlight this: 1. Clarify startup business ideas - to sell 3D printers or to use 3D printers to provide services or to rent 3D printers or to run other business but using 3D printers to enhance the results. 2. I suppose you wanted to use 3D printers to provide services - this is the most capital intensive model. Different targeted customers required different types of 3D printers and material investment will be onerous if the mixture of customers are not correct. 3. 3D business...

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When I was starting up my business I invested a bit of money with a graphic designer to create my logo and some graphics elements that I used for both my business cards and website. Then, for my business cards, I printed them using Vista Print but with my custom graphics (cost is reasonable and I was able to create the business card myself quite easily, even though I'm not a designer). I'd say it depends on your what your business is, but for me, as a marketing and PR agency, the investment in...

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