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Group test: what's the best desktop publishing software?

The best desktop publishing software you can buy

PC Advisor reviews the best desktop publishing software you can buy in the UK right now.

5. QuarkXPress 8.0

We were impressed with QuarkXPress 8.0. if you've been waiting for a compelling reason to make the move from Quark 4.0 or 5.0, then this may well be it (as a £279 upgrade, it's well worthwhile). However, if you're looking for your first professional DTP program, then there's no getting away from the huge price tag with which QuarkXPress 8.0 is saddled, nor the fact that you can kit yourself out with Adobe Creative Suite 3.0's InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator or Dreamweaver package for only a hundred pounds more.

4. Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 6

Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 6 is a fully fledged creative suite for the price of an image editor. Xara doesn’t compromise on features in any area.

3. Serif PagePlus X4

Despite some quirks, we recommend Serif PagePlus X4 highly. With its new integrated PhotoLab, enhanced drawing tools, and direct import of text from files, PagePlus X4 is a comprehensive, worthwhile upgrade that can stand on its own.

2. Adobe Illustrator CS5

Despite long-hoped-for enhancements that have not been delivered, the new features and updates that are included in Adobe Illustrator CS5 are so compelling we're unable to say anything short of this: Illustrator CS5 is a great buy. Even if you have no need of all the new features - and we can't see anyone not benefiting from at least one of them - the zippier performance alone will pay back the cost of the upgrade in time that you don't have to wait for Illustrator to complete tasks.

1. Adobe Creative Suite 5

So is Adobe Creative Suite 5 a must-buy? That all depends on your needs. In CS4, Adobe seemed to concentrate on improving integration between its applications. This time round, the focus is on improving each individual app, and the decision over whether this is a must-have upgrade for you or not depends on how much you will benefit from the special new tools of each program. Some, such as Roto Brush in After Effects or the Gap tool and Split Columns in InDesign, promise to be huge timesavers. Photoshop's Content-Aware Fill also offers a quick way to carry out a common task, while the new brushes it shares with Illustrator which mimic real paint effects will have a big impact on the digital art scene. Many will benefit from the ability to explore iPhone app development in Flash. Other changes, such as the move to 64-bit for After Effects and Photoshop for Mac, offer a big enough performance boost to convince many a wavering creative.

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