And, as in version 6. Data Merge is better than creating a catalog from scratch when some of the data is already in digital format--we built a small parts catalog using Excel data without problems--but it's no panacea. It has also been thumped in the price wars by low-end competitors such as Microsoft Publisher. Unlike Publisher, which can perform only simple mail merges for mass mailings, PageMaker can drop data into fields you've defined anywhere in the target publication. PageMaker's Web pages are only approximations of the originals; the formatting is off and columns are misplaced, while PageMaker-created shapes such as ovals and boxes are never translated. Color coordinated There's no doubt that PageMaker has it all over Publisher when it comes to advanced publishing jobs. You can, with some sweat since PageMaker doesn't include templates for catalogs , insert fields into a product listing that will pull in item numbers, prices, descriptions, and even images from your database or spreadsheet.
PageMaker supports high-resolution printing and color management, which ensures that color is always consistent, from proofs to final output. One downside: PageMaker can't export files in any of the above formats. It's the best desktop publishing tweener there is. And PageMaker has none of the weird limits of Publisher; you can insert as many spot color elements in a document as you want. PageMaker lacks the slick wizards and step-by-step templates of Publisher.
You can still point and click and drag and drop to rearrange elements or insert new ones or to launch one of the nearly 300 business templates to jump-start your page design. PageMaker may have started the whole desktop publishing deal 16 years ago, but it has long played second banana to high-end. You need to dedicate training time to get the most out of this program. But businesses on a budget and all home users should still steer toward Microsoft Publisher 2002. .
Since PageMaker can't import native Excel or Access files--a surprising omission--any formatting applied to the source worksheet or database is lost. Our Publisher 2000 test newsletter made it to PageMaker in nearly pristine condition; all we had to do was reformat some text to make it fit. Publisher maxes out at 12. It has also been thumped in the price wars by low-end competitors such as Microsoft Publisher. Frankly, we prefer the easier point-and-click approach. The whole process is crude: you can't skip a record on the fly but must instead specify records to include in a dialog just before you run the merge. Although PageMaker's newsletter templates are superior.
If you change the original worksheet or database, you must reexport it as a comma-separated file. You can also access sophisticated Adobe Distiller functions and security features from within PageMaker. The most obvious and useful application is for catalogs. The Data Merge feature is also far from automatic. But businesses on a budget and all home users should still steer toward Microsoft Publisher 2002. PageMaker made desktop publishing accessible early on, and that hasn't changed.
You can, for instance, require users to supply a password to view the document and limit printing and other activities to make sure secrets don't fall into the wrong hands. PageMaker may have started the whole desktop publishing deal 16 years ago, but it has long played second banana to high-end. Tweener publisher Adobe is trying to make PageMaker play better with other applications. . . .
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