TechSoup.org The place for nonprofits, charities, and libraries

What are your favorite page layout tools?

What are your favorite page layout tools?

  • Do you have a tool that you think works best for page layout? What do you use to design donor letters and annual reports?

    Becky Wiegand is the Webinar Program Manager at TechSoup.org
    @bajeckabean on Twitter

  • For many years I've used PagePlus for page layout. It's put out by Serif software, which also has photo editing software that I use and like.

    It is much less expensive than similar software, and has a full range of page layout features.

    The company also hosts an active User Forum where questions are answered quickly by other users.

    Best wishes,

    ________________________
    Sasha Daucus
    www.FundRaiserSoftware.com
    www.FundRaiserBasic.com
    Volunteer TechSoup Moderator

  • Being a designer, I prefer Adobe InDesign. It is a bit pricey, but there is no project it cannot handle.

    Beyond that I would suggest something like PagePlus (as Sasha mentioned), MS Publisher or even OpenOffice if you are on a very tight budget. It really depends on your budget and skill set.

    Microsoft Publisher can be a pain if you are an advanced user b/c it can be so limiting for custom operations, but on the other hand you would be hard pressed to find a more intuitive interface for beginners. It also has support for vast numbers of commercial templates from Universal, Avery, etc. Clipart is included and additional free artwork and project templates (newsletters, newspapers, resumes, etc.) can be downloaded from Microsoft once you register online.

    PagePlus and Publisher have active communities so you will have easy access to peer support forums, customer-created templates, project ideas, etc.
  • Steven,

    Does Open Office have page layout features? I thought it just a regular word processing program.

    Best wishes,

    ________________________
    Sasha Daucus
    www.FundRaiserSoftware.com
    www.FundRaiserBasic.com
    Volunteer TechSoup Moderator

  • OpenOffice has several components - word processor, database, spreadsheet, multimedia presentation software (à la PowerPoint), and a "Draw" program that looks a bit more like Visio than Publisher to me.

    I haven't used OpenOffice lately, so hopefully someone else here will be able to tell you how it handles page layout projects.

    In the meantime, here's a [link] to the OpenOffice site that gives an overview of its applications.

    Dana

  • Adobe InDesign for sure. I love how it works with PhotoShop layers and several other features. Plus, being familiar with PhotoShop and Illustrator and other Adobe products InDesign can't be beat.

    I'd agree with steventrotter's words about it depending on your budget and skill set too. Personally, I hate Publisher, but that doesn't mean it's not the right tool for someone else.
    Shane Nurnberg Rowell Family Empowerment "...to empower people with diverse abilities..."
  • Right, OpenOffice is in no way created with page layout in mind, but I have run into several people over the years using the tools included in OpenOffice (or MS Word) very effectively.

    I guess it just depends on which interface you are most comfortable with. I can't manage to do anything with Publisher or Word b/c I am more accustomed to the Adobe/Corel suites, but I have seen people create school newspapers and logos within these word processing products that worked very effectively for their project(s).
  • InDesign is superb with a steep learning curve.

    PagePlus I have used for over 8 years and in the last 3 years my wife and I have used it to publish 37 books in black and white and color. We specialize in helping authors self-publish. It is far more intuitive than InDesign.

    John Grossman
    Back Channel Press
  • We use InDesign. I'm not the person in the office who uses it, but she loves it, although the comment about the steep learning is definitely true. If you're going to spend the money for InDesign (assuming you can't get a discounted price) plan on also popping for some training for the person who'll be using it.

    Mike Kirros IS Coordinator Clean Water Action/Clean Water Fund Midwest Regional Office

  • I have used PagePlus for several years for my Buddhist Publications. More recently I also starting using OpenOffice, which is better suited to longer books. In the past I have used WordPerfect, PageMaker Classic, and MS Publisher.

    OpenOffice is the best value for money :wink; but PagePlus is a lot easier to use if you want to do anything with graphical content or complex layout.

    InDesign would be way beyond the budget of my small charitable organisation, but I think I would also find it hard to learn now.

    If a later version of PagePlus adds support for OpenType fonts, it will be nearly perfect.
    The early bird catches the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
  • How time flies! I had forgotten about this forum until I was checking my bookmarks. PagePlus X5 was released nearly a year ago now, on 18th October 2010, so it might not be too long before the next version is out. The release cycle is about 15 to 18 months so look out for PagePlus X6 in time for Christmas.

    PagePlus X5 did add support for OpenType features, and the implementation is excellent. A text-editing context toolbar gives quick access to commonly used features. If you have Vista then you have some nice OpenType fonts and Windows 7 adds a few more. You can find some nice free OpenType fonts on my web site.

    Besides OpenType Feature support, PagePlus X5 add supports for Cross-references, Variables, Word Count, Mixed Page Numbers in the same publication, Mixed Page Orientation, Powerful Page imposition via the Print Preview dialogue, Autocorrect Improvements, Multi-level Image Loading to speed up handling of large images, Gradient fills for Line, Improved PDF Output, Object Management in the layers tab, Editing of Masterpage Objects and promotion of them to the page, Import User Settings from previous version, and Improved Colour Management.

    The early bird catches the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.