Software Review: Adobe PageMaker 7.0

Adobe PageMaker 7.0
Adobe Sustems, Inc.
$499, $79 upgrade. Upgrade requires serial number and previous version of product on same platform as current purchase.

PageMaker 7.0, Adobe’s entry-level desktop publishing application, has considerable appeal for users in the business, SOHO (small office/home office) and education fields who don’t need the advanced capabilities of InDesign, Adobe’s flagship page design software. If a user decides to move from PageMaker 7.0 to InDesign, which is better suited for producing magazines, newspapers and higher end advertisements. Adobe offers a $299 cross-grade option. Suite programs (AppleWorks, Microsoft Office) are getting better and better at supporting design projects, but PageMaker’s powerful tools, integration with other design software and superior degree of control give it a decided advantage over integrated applications for most design tasks.

Unlike other Adobe products which have undergone recent facelifts, the look of PageMaker 7.0 will be comfortingly familiar to those familiar with PageMaker 6.5. This is good news for current users who would rather get down to work than tackle a new interface. The modest $79 upgrade cost is more than justified by PageMaker 7.0’s expanded file conversion support alone. Added features and and much-improved stability make the upgrade highly recommended for all current PageMaker users with the requisite system requirements.

PageMaker 7.0 is ideally suited for creating newsletters, flyers,brochures, signs, reports, memos, business cards and classroom materials. The software package includes a generous selection of Adobe Type 1 fonts, photographs, more than 4,700 clip art illustrations and, most importantly, more than 300 professionally designed templates. Using these resources, users can adopt one of the professional designs, combine elements from more than one template, or create designs from scratch. The templates are a boon to users who lack design experience (that includes most of us) but want to produce materials that look professional.

This new version of PageMaker solves many of the instability and incompatibility problems that slipped in during the five years since the most recent version, PageMaker 6.5. was shipped. I have been running PageMaker 7.0 in OS 9 and in the Classic environment of OS X, and have yet to experience a crash. New features in this version expanded support for Illustrator 9 files, updated convertors for Quark Xpress and Microsoft Publisher, an updated filter for Microsoft Word 2000 (Windows) and Word 2001 (Macintosh) – hooray! – and an all-new Data Merge feature. Data Merge uses text and image data exported from databases or spreadsheets to create customized documents such as form letters, mailing labels, catalogs and business cards. This capability means that users can work with PageMaker’s superior design tools to prepare individualized mailings, a task that would otherwise be accomplished in a word processor, database, or suite program.

Acrobat Distiller and Acrobat Reader, two components of Adobe’s Acrobat 5, are included for creating PDF (Portable Document Format) files. No PostScript printer? No problem - all PageMaker needs is a PostScript printer driver. PageMaker 7.0 now allows users to place PDF files, including those created in Illustrator 9 and Photoshop 6, in PageMaker documents. PDF files can even be saved into eBook format, which makes them page size and viewing device independent. Tagged PDFs are readable on Palm and other handhelds, and reflow properly on monitors of different sizes.

PageMaker 7.0 supports native Photoshop 5 and 6 files. This means that Photoshop files do not have to be saved in TIFF or JPEG format in order to be placed into a PageMaker document. Users can now incorporate a single Photoshop file into more than one document or application. When the original Photoshop file is updated and saved, the PageMaker file is updated automatically.
Software-based help topics are accesible under the program’s Help menu, and tutorials and support are available at the Adobe website.The package includes a useful printed manual.

The education version of PageMaker 7.0 comes with an additional CD containing tutorials and education-specific fonts, templates, clip art and photographs, as well as a try-out version of Adobe Elements.

– Elsa Travisano
Adobe PageMaker 7.0
System Requirements: PowerPC, OS 8.6 (with Apple Software Font Manager Manager Update version 1.0), 9.1 or X (Classic), 16 MB RAM (32 recommended), 100 MB available hard drive space for installation (150 MB recommended), 800x600 monitor resolution, 8-bit/256 colors, CD-ROM drive.
Copyright ©2002 by Elsa Travisano. This article originally appeared in the February 2002 issue of Newsbreak, the newsletter of MUG ONE - Macintosh User Group of Oneonta, NY.