Publishing Software for a novice?

  1936 16:15 24 Jul 05
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I've just written a guide to camping and caravan sites with a view of the sea in Britain and I am going to use a local printer to print it for me but I want to get it into a format that will save him time. By this I mean making sure that I have not produced more text than will fit into the top half of the page so that I can place a colour photograph on the bottom half of the page.
I did buy a Software package with, "select Desktop Publishing" on the box which I found out to be "Serif Page Plus 6" when I loaded it but I have no idea how to do what I want to do with it. I have never used any Publishing Software and wonder if anyone would care to recommend one that a newby could cope with.

  Forum Editor 16:19 24 Jul 05

is to ask your printer in which format you should save the print job. In the past, most commercial printers would only work with Apple Mac files saved in software like Quark Xpress, but things have changed a lot. Many printers will now accept a variety of formats, but before you spend a lot of time on this it's best to find out which ones your particular company would prefer.

  Diemmess 16:33 24 Jul 05

....... My nearby printer is happy to receive Adobe .pdf files (of each page) which seem to take him almost no time to arrange with Quark for the litho process.
This is for a 32 page village magazine.

The snag here is your ability to convert Word or Graphics to PDF. Adobe Acrobat is not cheap!

I believe that Serif Page Plus v 10 will do this for you, but few printers will consider Page Plus themselves, so it is usatisfactory for you.

  Kate B 17:10 24 Jul 05

Actually, I'd suggest just using Microsoft Word or similar if you don't know anything about DTP or design.

Pick a simple, elegant font like Trebuchet or Arial and do your guide in two simple columns, preferably with a line of white between each paragraph, no paragraph indents and ragged right (ie the column isn't justified at the right margin). You can put pictures into Word documents. The result will be something simple and easy on the eye rather than the messes you sometimes see produced by people who clearly don't know what they're doing.

The temptation with something like Quark or Serif or similar is to get too carried away with colours, fonts, point sizes etc. Simple is best, honestly.

  Diemmess 18:12 24 Jul 05

Word can do almost anything, in fact that is what I use ......... It's just the final transfer to the printer that used to be awkward and not every printer can use Word.docs..... The whole industry used to live and breathe Apple Macs and non PC friendly software.

So we are back to FE's sound advice, talk to your professional printer first.

  Bramblerose 18:41 24 Jul 05

If you need to convert your files to pdf then click here is very easy to use - my printer is happy to accept pdf files made from it!

  1936 23:18 26 Jul 05

In the end built my own page makeup in a rather convoluted way as follows:

1. I assumed that I would be printing what I think is an A5 page book or an A4 folded in half.
2. I then constructed a table with 6 columns making up the left margin of the left hand page, the left hand page, two centre margins, a right hand page and a right hand margin a top margin and a bottom margin just like a book looks folded open.
3. I then typed a page of text normally which in my case is Times New Roman 12 point.
4. I then looked at some books and worked out that they normally use about ten point type.
5. I then copied a page of my Times New Roman 12 point and pasted it onto one page of my table and mucked about with different fonts and point sizes until I made it fit finishing up with a 10 point type face.

It may not be the right way but my printer managed to produce a book that I wrote on camping and caravan sites with a view of the sea and until I can find someone to teach me how to use a publishing package that will have to do.
However, thank you for telling me about Trebuchet, it really is very nice.

  Kate B 00:58 27 Jul 05

Sounds like a very effective bodge - well done! If you're interested you should see if there's some kind of adult education course in basic page design and publishing software. It sounds as though you'd get a lot out of it.

  Snec 10:09 27 Jul 05

I like your style. I would wager you are a country girl turned "towny".

Sounds like a very effective bodge indeed, LOL.

Nothing against townies, mind. I let my daughter marry one.

  Kate B 13:45 27 Jul 05

Snec, I'm just a townie. I get nervous outside Zone 2 of the Tube. And cows ... they're just wrong.

  stlucia 14:18 27 Jul 05

1936, I would seriously advise you to learn how to use a Desktop Publisher. I know Word "can do everything", but in my view it makes it much more of a hassle than a proper DTP package.

I've used Aldus (now Adobe) Pagemaker almost ever since it was invented and, in fact, don't have a word processor software on my PC because in its basic setup Pagemaker works just like a word processor -- just start typing at the cursor. I've used Serif (don't remember which version) and found it very similar to Pagemaker.

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