Question: What is the Best Desktop Publishing Software for Personal Projects?
Readers chose Xara Designer Pro in the 2011 About.com Readers' Choice Awards.
The best desktop publishing software for personal projects is easy for non-designers to learn quickly and use easily. Ideally it offers templates and tools especially for creative printing projects for home and school. If it can do more, great, but it should be able to handle projects for personal use whether it's for photo calendars, family newsletters
, greeting cards, candy wrappers, scrapbooks, posters, banners, iron-on transfer crafts, and other computer crafts. Oh, and it needs to be inexpensive. Programs costing thousands of dollars need not apply.
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Cost is one of the driving factors for those not doing professional graphic design. Casual users don't want to shell out a month's salary to do desktop publishing. The consumer-level programs typically found in this category are all about creativity, flexibility, and fun and often integrate graphics creation/editing with page layout.
- If you are a Mac user, Xara and Serif are out of the running. Apple Pages is your best bet for general purpose desktop publishing. Mac users who want to do more crafty projects should look at Print Explosion from Nova Development. It's on all of these lists of specialized (and generally low-cost) programs for making greeting cards, calendars, t-shirt design, and scrapbooks
on the Mac.
- For Windows users, both Xara Photo & Graphic Designer and Serif Page Plus top my list for offering the best combination of low-cost, ease-of-use, and fun, cool features for all kinds of crafty (& other) projects. If you want a specialized program for scrapbooks, calendars, or t-shirts, start with these print creativity titles.
- Xara Designer Pro may be on the high-end (cost-wise) for casual users but if you want the professional features it offers, it's a less expensive option than Adobe Creative Suite or QuarkXPress. CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is graphics software that can do a little page layout. I recommend looking into it unless you're writing a book or doing other multi-page publishing regularly.
- For individuals who want to dabble in desktop publishing and really need to cut costs , take a look at the free Serif PagePlus Starter Edition.