How To Choose Desktop Publishing Software

As desktop publishing software becomes more accessible and affordable to the everyday computer user, more people are using it to create high-quality printed documents from the comfort of their own home. To help you make an educated decision before choosing desktop publishing software, you will need to evaluate your needs, learning curve, budget, and equipment. 

  1. Evaluate your desktop publishing needs. The most important question to ask yourself is, "What do I want to do with this desktop publishing software?" The desktop publishing software that is right for you will depend heavily on this answer.
    • If you are looking for desktop publishing software that you and your family can use to create simple documents such as posters, greeting cards, and business cards, then I suggest The Print Shop Deluxe 21.
    • Using a word processor like Microsoft Word can also be a viable choice. There are books out there that can help you, such as Advanced Microsoft Word 2003 Desktop Publishing, by Joanne Arford and Judy Burnside . It really can be amazing what kind of desktop publishing you can do with a word processor. 
    • If you are a small business and you need something simple yet professional, Microsoft Publisher 2003 is an excellent pick.
    • If you are looking for some very powerful desktop publishing software to create professional-looking documents, Adobe InDesign CS2 is the program for you. You can literally do almost anything with this software.

  2. Decide how much learning you want to do. You can easily jump in and get started right away with Print Shop Deluxe and Microsoft Word. If you choose Microsoft Publisher to be your desktop publishing software, you will need to allow yourself a few days to get comfortable with the software before you are ready to create documents for your business. A helpful book for Microsoft Publisher is Learning Microsoft Office Publisher 2003, by Faithe Wempen. If you choose Adobe InDesign as your desktop publishing software, then be prepared to spend lots of time learning the software. This is not a program you can just open up and easily use to create a document; you will need to learn how the program works. Check out Adobe InDesign CS2 One-on-One, by Deke McClelland.
  3. Decide how much you want to spend on desktop publishing software. There is a wide range of costs for desktop publishing software. If you already have word processing software, then you will not have any additional cost, which is a big plus. Print Shop Deluxe 21 will cost around $50 and previous versions will be even less. Microsoft Publisher 2003 costs around $140, which makes it a great buy for small businesses. Adobe InDesign CS2 will set you back around $600. This may seem like a lot of money, but it will get you cream-of-the-crop documents.
  4. Make sure the desktop publishing software will work on your computer. Before you choose desktop publishing software, make sure that it will work on your computer. Talk to a salesperson or read the back of the box so you know that your computer will meet the minimum requirements. If you choose desktop publishing software that asks too much of your computer, your computer is going to be very sluggish at best or potentially not run the software at all.

Choosing desktop publishing software based on your needs, learning curve, budget, and computer requirements will ensure that you are satisfied with your new software. You are now on your way to creating your own documents.


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