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
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.
|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.|
|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|
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.
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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