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Product: PageMaker 7.0
Company: Adobe
Website: http://www.adobe.com
Estimated Street Price: 499.00$
Review By: Julien Jay

Advanced Features  

Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Interface & Features
3: Advanced & Miscellaneous Features
4: Conclusion

   Adobe PageMaker 7 features new file importers: you can import PageMaker files from version 5 and 6 into PageMaker 7. It is possible to import Quark XPress 3.3/4.0/4.01 documents into PageMaker, which is a good point if your Quark documents arenít too complex but you can even import files created with Microsoft Publisher 97, 98, 2000. Both Quark and Publisher conversions use the same single importer for an enhanced efficiency.

With PageMaker 7.0, Adobe inaugurates a new data merge feature. This new feature, accessible through the data merge palette, merges text and graphics stored in spreadsheets or databases to customize your publication for every reader recorded in your database. You can take advantage of this feature to create custom publications for direct mail campaigns ensuring a more efficient communication. But donít get too excited! PageMaker 7.0 doesnít support the marvellous ODBC layer offered by every version of Windows. Instead you have to export text and image data from a database or spreadsheet as a comma-separated file in .csv or .txt format. Those files will later be merged into a PageMaker template. The feature offers you total control over the layout and the records you want to merge or not (you can specify the range of records to be imported).

At the chapter of advanced and high end features, PageMaker 7.0 now natively supports Illustrator files. You can import Illustrator 9.0 (or below) files into your document very easily through the Import Adobe PDF Dialog box, due to the fact Illustrator 9.0 & 10 now use the PDF format. However PageMaker 7.0 doesnít display or print transparency effects which is regretful. The EPS filter of PageMaker has been updated so you can place EPS files saved as Adobe PostScript 3 into a document. This will provide maximum quality and let you print and perform in ĖRIP separations of these files on PostScript 3 devices.


Adobe PageMaker Placing Dialog Box (click to enlarge)


Importing an Adobe Illustrator 10 file (click to enlarge)

Youíll surely appreciate the basic drawing tools offered by PageMaker 7.0which will help you create lines, rectangles, squares, circles, ellipses and polygons to which you can apply a stroke and fill. Those figures can be resized using the anchor points or even rotated but you can even turn them into frames that can hold text or imported graphics to create amazing effects!

Itís a fact that PDF files are now widespread. One of the new rocking features of PageMaker 7.0 is its ability to natively import and place into documents PDF files! Thereís no need, anymore, to locate the original file that was used to build a PDF file. Locating and importing a PDF file into your document is defiantly easy! PageMaker 7.0 supports PDF 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4 files ensuring you can import PDF files created with PhotoShop, Illustrator or every other applications (including non Adobe ones).

Virtual business dramatically spread with the internet, and PDF files spread with it. Since a PDF file can be read on every PC by everyone with the free Acrobat Reader software it quickly became a popular format. PageMaker 7.0 lets you export your creation as a PDF file through an enhanced user interface that gives more feedback on the steps for exporting PDF files. This new PDF export interface offers direct access to Acrobat Distiller Options, so you can specify security and other export settings. Adobe PageMaker 7.0 is provided with a full unlimited version of Acrobat Distiller 5.0.


Adobe PageMaker 7.0 Export to PDF settings (click to enlarge)

If your document is intended to be read on e-books, the support of Tagged PDF is perfect for you! With this new feature a tagged PDF file will automatically reflow the text for optimal readability with different display resolutions. To create a tagged PDF file you just have to click the ĎeBookí checkbox of the Export Adobe PDF dialog box. PageMaker will automatically tag the text and graphics making them independent of page size and viewing device in the final PDF file. The result is that you can view tagged PDF files on a wide variety of devices including handheld PDAs, laptops, and wireless devices. Notice that tagged PDF files can be read by text to speech devices.

As explained before, PageMaker 7.0 comes with a rich selection of professional layouts. There are 47,00 stock illustrations in Illustrator or JPEG format, 300 high resolution stock photographs and more than 150 high quality Adobe Type 1 fonts in addition to the hundreds of templates for newsletters, brochures, flyers.

One very important technical aspect of such software is its ability to output consistent and predictable color. I mean the color youíve chosen on the software should appear exactly the same on paper printer copies. To do so PageMaker 7.0 offers knockout, overprint and trapping features to compensate for misregistration or hue shift between colors. PageMaker 7.0 can convert images from RGB to CMYK TIFF for separations and instantly remove unused colors from a publication file. PageMaker 7.0 is ICC compliant so you can use color profiles for each devices of the graphic chain. Typically a device like a printer, monitor, and scanner can only reproduce a limited set of colors thus possibly impacting the result you would get. The color management system of PageMaker 7.0 obtains the color characteristics of each device and maps this information between devices to ensure the quality of the color output.

Printing a document is always delicate especially if you entrust the work to a professional printer. If the first file format obstacle will most likely not affect you since every professional printing service has PageMaker installed, you may encounter some problems like fonts that are missing, etc. To simplify the printing process you can use the Save for service provider plug-in that provides simple guided steps to consolidate everything the printer needs in a single file. You can specify duplexing options while the build booklet plug-in creates multipage spreads that print on a single sheet.

Miscellaneous Features

   Adobe PageMaker 7.0 offers many interesting features; Iíll detail some of them here. You can acquire graphics coming from scanners, digital cameras, etc. directly from the software using the TWAIN compliant feature. Each composition can be sent by email using the mail command of the file menu but you can also export the current document as a HTML file. The HTML converter is quite obsolete so the results are surprising especially if your document is complex (for example a color background will not be rendered in the HTML file). PageMaker 7.0 uses plug-ins to accomplish various tasks. Many plug-ins are included in the software, like a QuickTime plug-in that lets you import a still image of a video sequence into your composition. Another example of plug-in is the one that automatically frames the selected text.

PageMaker 7.0 offers a complete search feature that helps you locate a defined text in your document. You can even search a publication for a word specifying its font settings or paragraph settings. Adobe PageMaker 7.0 doesnít include any print preview features. For example, in PhotoShop you can move the object/composition youíre currently viewing over the screen using the convenient hand tool.

Concerning the text features, PageMaker 7.0 can automatically number a list and place bullets in front of each topic. You can also create columned texts very easily, which is very important if you plan to create brochures or newspapers. A text block has special positioning settings; you can change the vertical and horizontal alignment options of the block (center the block on the page for example), and choose to resize the block depending on its contents or conversely. The size of the block can also be fine tweaked using the block settings dialog box. Like you would expect from such a great publishing software, each text block can be rotated. When doing so, the text settings palette displays advanced options for rotating operations. You can also apply vertical or horizontal symmetry to the currently selected text. After resizing a block of text, some of the text may not be displayed anymore due to the new size. In that case PageMaker 7.0 shows a tiny red arrow: if you click it a new block containing the text that was hidden due to the resizing of its holding block will be created where you want on the page.

As I said the interface of PageMaker 7.0 isnít good looking. Among cosmetic bugs I wonít detail here, most of the toolbars and palettes of PageMaker donít display any tooltips. Thatís quite annoying especially when you consider how cryptic some icons are. As usual with Adobe software, the logo of the tools palette can be clicked to open Adobe Online. This module checks for download and applies updates for the software or open your web browser on PageMakerís homepage for more information on the product.

With PageMaker 7.0 you can create professional documents via the layout features and professional typographic features offered by the software. Just like graphic designers you can use tracking to change the visual denseness of type on the page, and kerning to adjust the spacing between pairs of letters. The typography can be set to professional standards with point-size-dependent tracking, kerning in 0.001 Ėem increments, and expanded and condensed type. PageMaker 7.0 offers precise control over word and letter spacing, hyphenation and justification and text alignment unlike Microsoft Publisher 2002

Itís my bet that in every office, where PageMaker 7.0 will most likely be used, the designer will probably use PhotoShop as well. To simplify things, Adobe has further enhanced the integration of PhotoShop files into PageMaker 7.0. How? Well PageMaker 7.0 now imports PhotoShop 5.0, 5.5, 6.0 files natively so you only have to store and manage one image file for use in multiple documents and applications. Thereís no need anymore to create flattened PhotoShop files to import them in the software. The best thing is that when you modify the PhotoShop file youíve imported into a document, PageMaker can automatically update it for a better efficiency.

ę Interface & Features Conclusion Ľ

 

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