DTP is certainly not new, but it has gained new currency with the inexpensive
availability of color printers and Desktop Fax.
Desktop Publishing, or "page layout" programs as they are properly called, vary
immensely in capability, complexity and cost. The leading programs like Aldus
Pagemaker are very expensive and require a career dedication to learn to
exploit. Simple, inexpensive programs like PageMagic are relatively
easy to use and quite capable for all but the most demanding uses.
While word processors have adopted a lot of features formerly found only in page layout programs, there is still a lot of difference. Word processors are oriented to text streams and page layout programs are oriented to "frames" which makes it far easier to manipulate illustrations, blocks of text and other elements to get exactly the layout you want.
Now of course, just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. The abilities of a page layout program do not make up for lack of understanding of style. If you have no talent in this area, it is easy to create documents that look great to you, but look stupid to almost everyone else - so be careful.
©:Andrew Grygus - Automation Access
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