The Best Desktop Publishing Software: Reviews & Feature Comparison Chart

Looking for the best desktop publishing software? In this article, you'll learn about the top two contenders for this position, Adobe InDesign and QuarkXpress, along with a description of features and a comparison chart, so you can easily determine which software package is right for your publishing needs.

In recent years Adobe InDesign has been recognized as the best desktop publishing software (although QuarkXpress once held the lead for over a decade), but the new version of QuarkXpress with its focus on electronic publishing may be a better choice for those whose products are delivered online.

Adobe InDesign is a top contender for printed documents with support for tabbed documents, tiled windows, self-adjusting panels and the workpage switcher. InDesign also features Smart Guides which allows you to interactively reposition, rotate, size and align objects on the fly. The ability to preflight, determine what your document will look like before it prints, is an excellent addition to an already robust feature set.

By contrast, Quark has some incredible features for creating electronic designs, but can obviously also be used for print designs. In fact, I've laid out all my books in QuarkXpress. New features include support for Unicode and the ability to handle about 30 different languages and easily turn glyphs into text boxes. Quark also allows you to create vector-based drawings, but of course, it doesn't have the power or flexibility

best desktop publishing software

The biggest drawback of QuarkXpress is that it lacks the integration with other software packages that InDesign supports in the version Adobe suite of products including Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator and more.

In the final analysis, Adobe InDesign is still probably the winner, unless your focus is primarily on creating ebooks.

Best Desktop Publishing Software: Feature Comparison Chart:

Feature InDesign QuarkXpress
Hardware zoom Yes
Imports Files Directly Yes, but you have to draw the text boxes. Yes, Quark automatically creates the container boxes for text and images, also supports drag and drop
Links Panel Yes, shows all embedded and linked graphics, stacks and repeats with linked page numbers, so you can quickly jump around in a document. Yes, QuarkXpress has great support for electronic publishing.
Ability to position, size & rotate items (and spreads) interactively Yes, has workspace switcher, self-adjusting panels, tabbed documents, and tiled windows. Yes, with multiple grids and baseline grid feature. Excellent hanging drop characters.
Preflighting Yes, allows you to check complex documents before printing Need preflighting software.
Conditional text Yes Yes
Advanced features for handling long documents Yes, InDesign allows you to create dynamic links to text anchors or paragraphs based on style tags Yes, but not as well as InDesign
Handles multiple versions of a document Yes, allows you to create different catalogs with different regional pricing and content Yes
Can easily add text links and rollovers Yes, also has page curl support for pdfs Yes, plus support for animation and video
Flash video support & SWF Authoring No Yes, supports scripting and video playback. This is a big plus for digital publishers. Also supports interactivity. Load and play ideo and add animations
Integrates with other programs Yes, with other programs in CS4 suite like Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver, etc No
Multi-designer support Yes Yes

Best Prices on Desktop Publishing Software

Choose the software that best fits your needs based on the desktop publishing software reviews above and the feature checklist. Make sure to choose the version for your platform: PC or Mac and determine whether you need to buy the full version or just the upgrade. The prices below are the best prices on the web for the two best desktop publishing software packages available today.

Adobe Indesign For the PC or the Mac

QuarkXpress Mac/PC full version

After reading this article, hopefully, you have determined the best desktop publishing software for your needs. Be sure to sign up for our periodic newsletter by typing your name and email address in the subscribe box in the top left hand corner of the page.

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Best Desktop Publishing Software - Desktop Publishing


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