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Q: What desktop publisher file can print houses always open? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: What desktop publisher file can print houses always open?
Category: Computers > Software
Asked by: drewwhite-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 06 Jun 2005 19:01 PDT
Expires: 06 Jul 2005 19:01 PDT
Question ID: 530160
What is the most common PC based desktop publishing software usable by
printing houses? For example, we have been using MS Publisher and no
one can open it. Do printing houses most commonly use Illustrator,
CorelDraw or another program altogether? Please support your answer
with verifiable data.
Subject: Re: What desktop publisher file can print houses always open?
Answered By: clouseau-ga on 06 Jun 2005 21:22 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello drewwhite,

Thank you for your question.

For many years desktop publishing lived in the exclusive realm of the
Mac user. Pagemaker was likely the first program to open up this world
of publishing to the desktop user, closely followed by Quark. (Perhaps
it was the other way around - it was 20 years ago) But quite awhile
ago that all changed and the PC shares every bit of access once
reserved for Apple.

Some of the program and file format decision will be made by what you
wish to print. Pagemaker is good for short run documents while
programs like Adobe Framemaker favor longer works.

But let's look at what is recommended for creation of your documents:

E-Pub Illustrated states it well for today's compatibility guidelines:

"...First and foremost, you should use professional publishing
software packages like Adobe PageMaker, Adobe InDesign, or QuarkXPress
for layout; Adobe Illustrator or Macromedia Freehand for
illustrations; and Adobe Photoshop for image manipulation. (I list
these software package due to the overwhelming acceptance by the
printing industry, other packages exist but be careful that they
contain the proper tools for professional publishing.)..."

This answer really could stop here. These are the industry standards
by far and any service bureau worth using should be able to handle
every one of these packages.

They also have the following caveat about fonts, which is not as true
today as when the article was written in 2001, but none the less can
avoid surprises with your finished product and is good advice:

"...Next we should touch upon fonts. I am going to be brief on this so
listen up! Printing in today's digital world is a PostScript
environment, therefore you should use PostScript fonts. 'Nuff said! I
know your machine is loaded with TrueType fonts and if that is all you
have then so be it, but this article is about the optimal way to
furnish your files and PostScript fonts are your best bet to avoid the
pitfalls incurred by utilizing non-PostScript fonts. Do not forget
that the fonts that are used in your publication must be copied and
sent along with all of your other files or you are going to have
reflow, loss of style, size issues, etc.."...

This article says more on fonts and has a bit more current information
as you will soon see:

When that Desktop Publishing Document Has to Look Great
By Karen Saunders 

"...Be aware of the type of fonts used on your computer. Never combine
Postscript and True Type fonts in one document because the printer
software will get them mixed up..."

She goes and mentions this chart of software for offset printing:

Technical Specifications for Color Offset Printing
 PC                                        Macintosh
Software Programs****
 Adobe PageMaker,                   Adobe PageMaker,
Illustrator, Quark Xpress,          Illustrator, Quark Xpress,
Corel Draw                          Corel Draw 
 True Type or Postscript**          Postscript**
Color specifications
 CMYK for process color             CMYK for process color
PMS for spot color                  PMS for spot color
Imported file formats
 tif, eps                           tif, eps
Scanning resolution
 300 DPI                            300 DPI
Do note that Pagemaker has recently been replaced or as Adobe says,
updated with Adobe InDesign.

Now, this article at echoes what you have found about
programs such as Microsoft Publisher:

"...Application file

This is the actual digital file that you created in PageMaker,
QuarkXPress, CorelDRAW, or some other desktop publishing program.
Before you send an application file:

-Be sure your SB or printer has the same software, same version. 

-If you've upgraded before your SB, you may have to 'save down' your
file to the version they use.

-Insure that the shop can handle files from your platform. 

-Few SBs accept Microsoft Publisher (.pub) files or files from
anything other than the Adobe programs, QuarkXPress, Corel, and other
major 'professional' applications. This can vary by region. Ask

-here is more good information for you in this article.

The more you read, the more you will find that service bureaus
recommend and use the same software packages - Pagemaker, InDesign,
Quark Xpress, Framemaker and to a lesser extent, Corel. For example,
this article mentions:

"...Choosing Desktop Publishing Software 
by Susan C. Daffron 
If the documents you are creating are becoming too complex to deal
with using a word processor, you may want to think about investing in
desktop publishing (DTP) software. Software like PageMaker and Quark
XPress are specifically designed to make it easy to create documents
that combine text and graphics in complex layouts...

See their descriptions of the popular programs, but also note this was
a 2002 article. Things change a little, but you can be reasonably
certain any service bureau will have Adobe PageMaker or InDesign or
both and Framemaker as well. It is just hard to go wrong with these
industry standards. Same with Quark Xpress. This message is repeated
over and over when you search desktop publishing software packages and

Wyatt Communications says the following:

"...PageMaker is somewhat archaic compared to the features of newer
programs, but allows you to create and manage large files with lots of
pages and imported images. It provides much better control over the
placement of objects on a page than a word processing package. If
you?re tired of wrestling with complicated documents in Microsoft
Word, PageMaker will work better. It?s very different than working
with a word processor, and it's not as snazzy in terms of automated
features, but the benefits outweigh the learning curve. Quark Xpress
is very similar to PageMaker, and a lot of people use it. Both are
common in the desktop publishing industry, and are supported by most
service bureaus (the people who make film for offset printing). Do not
try to use an illustration program like CorelDRAW or Adobe Illustrator
to handle text-heavy will be kicking yourself (or
somebody else) later!..."

I'll wrap this with a clip from Documents in Information Science on
desktop publishing:

The Publishing Business: Desktop Publishing Software
"...You can save time and money at the service bureau division of your
print shop, and make your life easier, if you prepare your files well
and according to the print industry's specifications. The five most
popular desktop publishing packages -- Adobe PageMaker, Adobe
InDesign, QuarkXPress, Adobe FrameMaker, and Corel VENTURA -- can help
you do that. Of course, no one program has all the tools to meet every
publisher's needs. Some programs have specialized tools for long
documents and tabular material, while others have specialized tools
for design- intensive publications such as magazines and brochures..."

So, there is the list of the most popular and most widely accepted
desktop software programs. Use Illustrator and Photoshop for your
graphics needs and you have a winning combination that will avoid ever
having to wonder if the service bureau can open your files.

Search Strategy:

desktop +publishing +best +file +format
service +bureau +"file format" OR software
Desktop +"service bureau" +"file format" OR software OR program

I trust my research has provided you with the answer you required. If
a link above should fail to work or anything require further
explanation or research, please do post a Request for Clarification
prior to rating the answer and closing the question and I will be
pleased to assist further.


drewwhite-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
Excellent. Comprehensive and well documented.

Subject: Re: What desktop publisher file can print houses always open?
From: clouseau-ga on 07 Jun 2005 17:58 PDT
Glad to help.

And thank you for the rating and tip.



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