Desktop Publishing
I tried to like Publisher, even when I was a fan of Microsoft (back when Windows was merely a toy with lots of potential, and domination of the software industry was still just a gleam in Mr. Bill's eye). I couldn't. I bought another publishing program (since vanished from the market) instead. Looking at it again recently, I was amazed at how little it had changed; despite the addition of some new technologies and buzzwords, it was clear that Microsoft was counting on the Microsoft name and its ties to MS Office to sell Publisher, and didn't feel especially motivated to improve it.
high quality Adobe InDesign is the successor to PageMaker, the application that invented "desktop publishing". For Windows and Mac OS. Windows Mac OS
high quality QuarkXPress demonstrates that Adobe doesn't actually own the desktop-publishing-software market. In fact, it's preferred by a great many design and publishing professionals, folks who need top-quality tools (and therefor regard MS Publisher as a bad joke). It's highly extensible and customisable, able to adapt to almost any publishing project. Also expensive; also worth it. For Windows and Mac OS. Windows Mac OS
close match low price Serif PagePlus is intent on winning over people who would otherwise use MS Publisher, as demonstrated by their side-by-side checklist of all the features it has but Publisher doesn't. The current version has been overhauled to provide more tools for web publishing. For Windows. Windows
high quality challenge MS Corel Ventura was one of the early competitors to PageMaker. Although it never caught up, it's still around and still a very capable, professional-grade program. It's suited for print or electronic publishing. For Windows. Windows
low price GreenStreet Publisher is available in several versions; rather than taking the current version off the market when they released a new more powerful version, they've kept it available at a lower price for those who don't need the more advanced capbilities. Even if you go for the latest version, in the bundled package with their drawing, photo-editing, and text-manipulation programs, it's still affordable. For Windows. Windows
low price PageFocus has an unusual combination of features, serving as much as a database manager as a publishing tool. The drawing tools can be used to create stand-alone documents, plus the program can generate data-driven reports. It's available in three versions: regular, pro (which adds more database tools), and enterprise (which adds ODBC/SQL access). A free reader is also available, so you can distribute PageFocus applications electronically. For Windows. Windows
low price Brøderbund's The Print Shop is like the coelacanth fish (a contemporary of the dinosaurs which has somehow survived to modern times). This program was born in the days of the (pre-Macintosh) Apple ][ but is still alive and kicking, upgraded of course, in both standard and deluxe editions for modern Windows systems. It's still geared mostly toward the home user or very-small business. Windows
low price challenge MS KWord is called a "word-processor", but it's frame-based (not page-based), which makes it suitable for desktop publishing. It's a component for the free KOffice suite for Unix-like operating systems running the KDE desktop (also free). It can also be used for simple documents as well, of course, and includes the sorts of features one expects in a word processor (spell-checking, headers/footers, paragraph and text styles, templates, powerful search-and-replace, etc.) Unix-like
If you regularly do serious publication design, a "real" DTP system with a proper frame-based structure is worth the investment, but for simple and occasional publishing projects, a mere word processor might be adequate. As the major word processors have added feature after feature to compete with each other, many of them have become capable of doing the kinds of jobs once reserved for dedicated DTP software.
close match a close match or substitute for Microsoft's product
high quality an especially high-quality alternative
low price an inexpensive (or even free) alternative
challenge MS offers a strong challenge to Microsoft's influence
my choice my personal selection
Runs on: Windows Windows, Mac OS Mac OS, Unix-like Unix-like systems, Java Java-compatible systems, Symbian Symbian OS, Palm OS Palm OS, Netware Netware, OpenVMS OpenVMS, BeOS BeOS, OS/2 OS/2, Amiga Amiga, RISC OS RISC OS, DOS DOS
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