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Page Layout Software - Desktop Publishing Software for Graphic Designers


Adobe InDesign CS5 Box shot © Adobe, Inc.

Adobe InDesign CS5

© Adobe, Inc.
Of all the types of desktop publishing software, page layout software is the key component of a desktop publishing system. The primary purpose of page layout software is to make it easy to combine text and graphics to create publications. There are many sub-categories of page layout or desktop publishing software. Page layout software refers to software suitable for single page artistic layouts or short documents. Page layout software may also be used for long document publishing although it may often be paired with special add-ons and other software suited to the special needs of long document or book publishing.

Page Layout Software is used for:

The typical projects for page layout tools include ads, fliers, brochures, newsletters, posters, and business cards.

Page Layout Software is used by:

Most programs in this category are generally tailored to professional designers. Non-designers can and certainly do use them, but the high-end features, learning curve, and price make them less attractive for home and small office or home-based business use. However, there are programs in this category that rival the industry standards that also offer lower prices and a less steep learning curve.

Key Features of Page Layout Software:

Extensive typographic control and graphics handling capabilities are typical features of page layout software. These programs have good built-in or add-on graphics features or integrate well with standalone graphics software programs. These are also programs that are suitable for commercial printing and generally well-accepted by service bureaus and commercial printers.

Other increasingly important features include PDF import, export, and editing, Web design and publishing features, and collaboration features.

Primary Software in the Page Layout Category:

Although these programs may also have features that make them suitable to other sub-categories of desktop publishing, they are generally the best choices for the projects and users described in this profile.

Secondary Software in the Page Layout Category:

Once in wide use by individual graphic designers, Corel Ventura, Adobe FrameMaker, and Adobe PageMaker are now used primarily by businesses and for long document publishing. Neither Ventura or PageMaker are being further developed by their respective publishers.

Microsoft Publisher, as part of the Microsoft Office suite, is used extensively by business professionals. It's often also found in educational settings and is considered an easy-to-use option for individuals.

Alternative Software in this Category:

Although primarily classified as graphics software, vector illustration software is also suitable for many of the uses described for page layout software and generally have most of the key features required. Top choices include:

Also see: More Vector Illustration Software for Mac and Vector Illustration Software for Windows


The specific desktop publishing software programs described in this profile are not the only software suitable for these tasks. They are, however, some of the most widely used desktop publishing programs that fit this category. For more choices in this and other categories of desktop publishing software see The Really Big List of Desktop Publishing Software

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