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Worst Desktop Publishing Software Upgrade of 2010

It's a Tie: PrintMaster and The Print Shop


PrintMaster 2011 Platinum Box shot © Broderbund

PrintMaster 2011 Platinum Box shot

© Broderbund
Broderbund, what have you done? Upgrades should be a step forward with new features and improvements. But longtime users of both PrintMaster and The Print Shop are loudly proclaiming the 2.0 and 2011 upgrades a big step backward.

Perhaps the biggest step backward is no backward compatibility. Years worth of projects created in earlier versions of the software can't be used in the latest versions. Broderbund calls it "new technology." Initially "Note: Projects made in previous versions of PrintMaster cannot be opened in PrintMaster 2.0." was buried in the system requirements but perhaps due to complaints from customers the warning now shows up prominently on the page for both PrintMaster and The Print Shop.


The PrintMaster series is a consumer level desktop publishing program that offers lots of fonts, clip art, and templates for creating calendars, stationery, greeting cards, posters, business cards, postcards, scrapbooks, and more. The 2.0 edition introduced in late 2009, along with PrintMaster 2011 later in 2010 are new technology and not compatible with PrintMaster 18 and earlier. PrintMaster 2 and 2011 are PC and Mac compatible. However, they don't appear to be user-compatible. At least not with longtime PrintMaster fans.

I first became aware of a problem with the 2.0 upgrade around October 2009 when a reader wrote this: "Just purchased PrintMaster 2.0 thinking it was an upgrade from PrintMaster 18, but found (in conversation with Broderbund customer service) that the two programs were developed and produced by different companies. I discoved only after installing PrintMaster 2.0 that it does NOT RECOGNIZE any of the projects/files created in PrintMaster 18." (Barry U.) Other reader responses ran along the lines of "waste," "disappointment," and expressing intentions of either going back to previous versions or abandoning PrintMaster altogether.
(See Perplexing PrintMaster Problem)

"So far we have not found any part of this program that we like" comes from a 5 year plus user of other versions of the program.
(Review by Lori B)
Another long time user of the Windows versions says of 2.0 for Mac, "They've left out some of the best features that I used. It's hard to navigate around and make cards unless you want to use their awful clip art or their pre-made templates which I don't like."
(Review by Frances C.)
"I can't believe they came out with a newer version that does less," says Neal about PrintMaster 2011. He continues, "Where is the freehand crop? Where is the undo tab?"
(Review by Neal)
"Version 2.0 is a piece of junk and a poor excuse for an upgrade" and "I would rate this product lower than a 1 if it was possible" are the declarations from another longtime user.
(Review by Hank)

If you've had a similar experience or if you disgree that PrintMaster 2.0 and 2011 are bad upgrades, add your thoughts.

2013: Browse the list of the Missing Features in PrintMaster since the upgrade.

The Print Shop

The Print Shop was a DOS-based PC program that came over to Windows and more recently to the Mac. Over the years there have been various specialty editions of The Print Shop focused on just business cards or just newsletters but the main program is an all-around desktop publishing and creative printing program. Up until 2009 The Print Shop built on each version, adding a few extra features, more fonts, more clip art, and more templates. Then, along with Broderbund's PrintMaster program, a 2.0 version came out. The 2.0 version is a complete overhaul of the program. Same name, different program, different technology that is not compatible with previous versions.

Perhaps because more readers of this site are PrintMaster users, there has been less of an outcry over The Print Shop 2.0 but those I have heard from offer up similar sentiments of "waste" and "disappointment" and "fewer features."

" I've been using Print Shop since version 11 came out years ago. I create posters, CD covers, brochures etc for both personal and professional use. I have updated my Print Shop versions at least every year or two....my latest purchase being PRINT SHOP 2.0. Having moved to Windows 7, I could no longer use previous versions. PRINT SHOP 2.0 is like going back in time. Features I had in Deluxe 22 do not exist in 2.0. The images in 2.0 are pathetic..not nearly as many images and very poor options. 2.0 is also a backslide when it comes to features. Many of the features I relied on are no longer available."
(Review by Sandi P)

If you've had a similar experience or if you disgree that The Print Shop 2.0 is a bad upgrade, add your thoughts.

Worst Upgrade or Worst New Program?

Whenever a program changes there are always going to be a few who are not happy with the changes. But in a dozen plus years of writing about desktop publishing, I've not heard as much utter dismay and disappointment over any desktop publishing software upgrade as I have with these two Broderbund titles.

Some long time users see the "new technology" as just a way to use the established familiarity and popularity of the PrintMaster and The Print Shop names by slapping it on totally different programs. I tend to agree. Not a good move. Perhaps if they had been introduced as new programs with names that weren't the same as existing programs the backlash would have been less. Are the newest PrintMaster and The Print Shop programs really all that bad? I'd love to hear from new users of the software who were not users of the earlier PrintMaster and The Print Shop versions. If you weren't heavily invested in earlier versions, the changes might not be so unwelcome.

Tell us about using PrintMaster 2.0 and 2011 or The Print Shop 2.0.

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