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Product: PageMaker 7.0
Company: Adobe
Estimated Street Price: 499.00$
Review By: Julien Jay


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

   If you have never used Adobe PageMaker before, you’ll certainly be surprised when the interface of the software is shown. Indeed with the addition of the toolbar the look of the interface  isquite ugly but remains efficient, nonetheless. The toolbar features shortcuts to the most popular features like new, open, save, print, search, spell check, etc. However, we regret that the icons used by the toolbar’s buttons aren’t Microsoft Office compliant. The most obvious advantage of Adobe’s PageMaker 7 interface is that it retains the resemblance with other Adobe software like PhotoShop and Illustrator. Not only does it offer the same keyboard shortcuts as in every Adobe application but also you’ll find the same tabbed palettes to work more efficiently. Thus you can seamlessly switch between Adobe applications without worrying about where to find the most common commands. Like in all Adobe applications many palettes are displayed on screen, obivouslyincluding the well known tools palette that contains all the tools available in PageMaker. There’s also a picture palette that lists all of the available royalty-free illustrations and photographs included with PageMaker 7which lets you browse the clipart by category. Of course you can add pictures of your own to the palette (or remove existing ones) and even search for pictures. Another palette displays the X, Y, coordinates of your mouse cursor. There is also a color tab where you can choose the color to be used with shapes or texts, and a styles tab lets you select predefined styles for your text (like body, address, heading). With PageMaker 7.0, each publication contains its own collection of colors which you can define on your ownand select them from a color matching system or import them with an EPS graphic.

Adobe PageMaker 7.0 Picture Palette (click to enlarge)

First Start

   Each time you start Adobe PageMaker 7, a dialog box appears prompting you to select a template with which you work. This feature is like Microsoft Publisher’s since the templates palette offers more than three hundred professionally designed templates that will help you create your publication in a few clicks, saving precious time. Templates are sorted by categories,so you simply have to switch categories from the templates list so thumbnails of each template available for a specified category are displayed. Most of the templates included are really good looking, which is great since you’ll want to use all of them. Once you’ve chosen your template, PageMaker will build it and you’ll be able to customize it. Like in Microsoft Publisher 2002 or InDesign, PageMaker shows a page representing your composition. With a real WYSIWYG interface you can create, position, move, resize text frames, shapes, etc. If you like you can zoom-in or zoom-out of the page to better see your objects. The software offers two rulers for a real accurate positioning of the items. Like with PhotoShop you can click on one of the rulers and drag it over the page to get a blue line in the page that will help you position items.

Adobe PageMaker 7.0 First Start (click to enlarge)


   One of the coolest professional features offered by PageMaker 7 is the management of layers. Using layers you can set up a single file for multiple versions of a publication, or add annotations, etc. You can place text on separate layers to control which objects are visible or not but you can also turn off the graphics layer. When you create a multipage publication, it might be helpful to set up a master page that sets every page of the composition the same margins, headers, footers, column guides and backgrounds. This can be done with a few mouse clicks thanks to the unrivalled ease of use of PageMaker 7. The layout adjustment feature of PageMaker 7 will automatically reposition, resize, and reflow text blocks, frames and graphics when you revise the layout framework of a page or a whole composition. 

With PageMaker 7.0, Adobe included new advanced word processing capabilities that will greatly help users to type their texts within the software rather than using a program such as Microsoft Word. With PageMaker 7.0 you can type and format your text directly in the layout view, just like you would in other publishing software, or you can use the story editor. The story editor is a word processor built into PageMaker 7.0 that you activate by clicking on the ‘Story Editor’ command of the edit menu. In this mode you can set tabs, indents, insert tables or any other word processing task, like spell-checking your publications. Once you’ve typed a text in PageMaker you can easily switch to the layout view by a single click in the edit menu to see how the text integrates itself into your composition. A PageMaker 7.0 story is similar to an article in a newspaper and thus several stories may appear on the same page and continue elsewhere on a different page of the publication. The story editor of PageMaker 7.0 is perfect to work on long documents, assemble multiple publications into a book or , since you can create a table of contents and an index, renumber pages and print the book very easily. When you export a publication to Adobe PDF, the software can automatically generate bookmarks and hypertext links for a table of contents and index entries in Adobe PDF files. 

Adobe PageMaker 7.0 Story Editor (click to enlarge)

Nonetheless if you still prefer the power of Word, you’ll be glad to know PageMaker 7.0 can import Word and RTF files thanks to its new file filter that supports Word 2000 file format. To easily and quickly change the appearance of fonts used in a document, PageMaker 7.0 offers a complete text toolbar. This toolbar, that looks ugly and that is everything but handy, regroups several commands to put your text in shape. In the center of the toolbar there’s a drop down list of fonts available on the system but unlike with Microsoft Office XP you can’t preview within the list what each font looks like. The toolbar also displays the font size list where you can select and set the size of the text, and there are buttons like ‘B’, ‘I’, ‘U’, ‘Q’ to change the form of your text (Bold, Italic, Underline, Strikethrough, etc.). The text toolbar also offers advanced features that let you change the spacing between lines and letters as well as the width of each font’s characters. Also the toolbar provides shortcuts to convert the selected word into caps, small caps, or small letters or put it in exponent or index. A click on the paragraph button of the toolbar will give you access to justify, center, align on the left/right features and unveils precise positioning features that can set the indent of a text, the space between paragraphs, etc. Font settings can also be accessed in a much clearer dialog box by clicking the ‘A’ button of the main toolbar. Note that to type a text, you have to draw a block of text. Once you’ve typed your text, the block can be resized and moved over the page, at your convenience. 

Adobe PageMaker 7.0 Text ToolBar (click to enlarge)

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 –em 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

It’s 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. There’s 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 you’ve imported into a document, PageMaker can automatically update it for a better efficiency.

« Introduction Advanced & Miscellaneous Features »


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