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Overview Desktop publishing (DTP): Combining text and graphics into documents such as books, magazines, brochures, and manuals by using a computer system, special software, and high-resolution output devices. History Desktop publishing, which uses computer technology and specialized software to produce graphics and text for documents, has been one of the fastest growing segments of the computer industry since its introduction in the mid- 1980 s. Today, desktop publishing systems are used world-wide to produce a variety of printed documents, ranging from the simplest brochures to complex, four-color publications. The term desktop publishing is often attributed to Paul Brainerd, who in the early 1980 s developed the PageMaker program for Album Corporation in Seattle, Washington. PageMaker was designed for the newly released Apple Macintosh, which featured a graphic user interface that allowed documents to be created and viewed on-screen as they would appear when printed. Although other text and drawing programs were available for the Macintosh, PageMaker was the first program that allowed the easy integration of text and graphics into a single document.
It also provided the interface for printing out documents on Apples LaserWriter, which used technology similar to photocopiers to produce printed materials far advanced in quality from the dot-matrix printers of the time. At the time, most documents were prepared for printing using the " cut and paste" method. Text was inputted into machines called typesetters, which used laser or photo devices to create galleys long, vertical strips of typeset sentences. The galleys were then cut apart and pasted onto pre-formatted layout boards, which also contained any graphics or photos that were to be included in the document. When completed, these boards, now called " camera-ready art, " would be sent to a composing room, where they would go through several more steps to produce the final printed product.
The combination of a computer and software that allowed users to compose complete documents without cutting and pasting, and a printer that could produce documents that rivaled phototypesetting in quality, revolutionized the graphics and printing industry almost overnight. It eliminated many of the manual steps previously necessary to prepare materials for printing, and allowed for the easy manipulation of both text and graphics when changes were necessary. Although many in the printing industry were skeptical of the new technology at first, it became clear there were compelling advantages to using DTP systems in many situations. The desktop publishing industry is today a multi-million-dollar business much of it being conducted out of home offices by graphic designers and writers who embraced desktop publishing early on as a viable adjunct to their other skills. Although systems using Apple Macintosh technology still dominate the high-end graphics market, improvements in the Windows operating environment have made personal computers a viable component of many DTP systems as well. How DTP Works Producing documents using desktop publishing systems involves multiple steps and various types of software and equipment.
The basic components of any DTP system consist of a desktop computer system, printer, word processing software, and publishing software such as CorelDraw, PageMaker or QuarkXPress, a system similar to PageMaker developed by Quark. Although not vital components, most DTP systems also include drawing and photo manipulation programs such as Adobes Photoshop and Illustrator or Macromedia's Freehand, and a scanner for reading photos and other art. Some systems may also include video digitizing hardware and software as well as electronic pens and graphic tablets for creating illustrations. These elements are used to create original text and illustrations on the computer, which are then exported to the desktop publishing software. The publishing software then combines the text and graphics into an on-screen display, resembling a document page, which allows the user to see a draft of the finished product.
The desktop publishing program also can be used to further refine both text and graphics, including changing the size and style of the text and resizing or manipulating graphics. Finally, the finished document is either printed out on a laser printer or saved to a diskette for later output. Some documents, due to their size and complexity, are stored on high-capacity storage systems or transmitted electronically to service bureaus, where they are reproduced in the necessary format for printing. A key element in any DTP system is the desktop publishing software program. They range from simple to complex, and there are programs available for users at any skill level and budget. PageMaker and Quark XPress are the preeminent applications for larger, more complex documents such as newspapers, magazines and newsletters; however, simpler, less complex programs such as Print Shop Deluxe, which feature easy-to-use, pre-configured layouts for greeting cards, banners, flyers and the like, are favored by many families and other home users.
Some of the necessary features of any DTP program include multiple type sizes and styles called fonts well as the ability to import text, graphics and photographs and to create documents with multiple columns and various formats. Higher-end DTP software allows users to wrap text around odd-shaped graphics, distort text and other elements to create bold graphics, and produce color separations for printing. Other desirable features include document templates, which contain pre-formatted layout and type style information for a variety of publications; kerning, which allows precise manipulation of type; and on-line spell-checkers and thesauri. Until fairly recently, there was a distinct difference between application programs for word processing and programs used for desktop design and publishing. However, many word processing programs now include a number of desktop design elements, such as templates, multiple-column layouts, advanced text manipulation and graphics importation, making them useful for producing such items as flyers, brochures and simple newsletters. Sources " Desktop Publishing, " Microsoft Encarta.
Copyright 1994, Microsoft Corporation, Funk & Wagnalls Corporation. Keeper, Michael L. The Illustrated Handbook of Desktop Publishing and Typesetting, 2 nd Edition. Wind crest Books, 1996.
Weiner, Ed. Desktop Publishing Made Simple. Doubleday, 1991. Roebuck, Lucas. " The Second Decade of Page Wars: The Battle for Desktop Dominance. " Computer Edge Magazine, February 24, 1997.
Beals, Stephen. " Will Apple Hold Onto the Graphics Market? " Computer Edge Magazine, February 24, 1997.
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