my adventures in desktop publishing

This is interesting to me and maybe to no one else, but here goes anyway…

When I was a senior in high school (1988-89), a new English teacher revived the defunct school newspaper and I was News Editor and responsible for the front page. We used a type setting machine and rubber cement, and I learned the basics of page design.

quark 3.3.1Fast forward to the mid-nineties and the “We’re starting a church!” days, and I edited the church newsletter. I asked Graphic Design Acquaintance who was a Mac guy what he used for desktop publishing (I might not have known to call it that) since Publisher, what the previous newsletter person used, didn’t exist for Macs. He said something about QuarkXpress, but intimated that it was much more powerful than I needed. Me being me, that made me want it all the more, of course. I was able to procure a highly-restricted educational copy for a deep discount (Like 70% off the list price or something crazy like that). I LOVED it. I learned to use it working on the church newsletter, but also created most of my teaching handouts, presentation handouts, cards, photo collages, whatever used any visual creativity with it. All through both masters’ degrees, I wrote papers using a word processor, but did pretty much anything else on Quark. A.Maze.Ing.

(I also bought a bw laser printer when I was editing the newsletter and NEVER looked back on that one. It was costly up front, but, oh, my, Best. Investment. Ever. That printer lasted me until about a year ago when it still worked but we replaced it with a color print/scan/copy version. Still laser.)

And then OSX came, and my copy of Quark no longer worked, Quark did not consider OS9 to OSX simply an upgrade, and I no longer had access or they no longer offered the unusually good education discount. For awhile, while Apple supported it, I limped along switching from OSX to OS9 to use Quark. Eventually, circa 2004, I had to replace that computer (just one desktop ago), and give up my Quark altogether. I couldn’t justify the replacement cost ($600ish) when word processors have grown up to do most of what I did on desktop publishing software, and I didn’t have a specific reason to do desktop publishing. There have been many times though, fighting with the great-for-what-they-do Word Processor (I use NeoOffice on my 2004 desktop and LibreOffice on my 2012 laptop), that I miss certain features of my Quark. A few years I checked out Scribus, but it was not OS native, and it was clumsy to use and more difficult than pushing features on the word processor.

Yesterday I was working on creating the Children’s Bulletin as I have done every week the last few months, spent way too much time messing with spacing so the pages would come out right, and bemoaned to the office admin my lack of a desktop publisher with discrete pages. I know I could use frames with the desktop publisher, but I’ve done it and it’s clumsy.

scribus logoToday I remembered that I had checked Scribus recently and they had a native OS version. So I opened it. I’m working on a program for our Youth and Parent Planning Meeting tomorrow, and I’m loving have the full pages in front of me, using text boxes, adding guides, etc. I haven’t done much yet, but those very simple pieces are making me happy.

So far there are three features I miss: having page thumbnails down the side of the screen, being able to fully edit the text straight in the text box, and I haven’t found the kern button.

Of course, I just looked at the latest Quark and they are into creating new media. I might be tempted. Eventually.

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4 Responses to my adventures in desktop publishing

  1. Deanna Long says:

    And I. Am learning to be a webmaster with much help from national office! We are back in Internet land!

  2. jo(e) says:

    Ah, that brings back memories. I can remember laying out a publication using something called Ready, Set, Go! on my very first Mac. I think that was actually before Quark ….

  3. Back in the day my husband convinced me to use “pagemaker” for the newsletter and bulletin. It was good but difficult. Here we used InDesign for the bulletin and Newsletter but have been switching over to Publisher for the bulletin leaving the newsletter in In Design. I have moved away from doing the major design work, staff does that….but I totally understand your desire. I am considering a Mac for my next laptop which is a challenge when dealing with the other office programs that are PC based. But the Mac is oh so awesome! Anyway, have fun!

    • bookgirl says:

      The distance between Mac and PC has narrowed considerably in the last 5 years. Almost everything can transfer seamlessly back and forth. The tricky ones are the desktop publishers (no way to get a Publisher document on the mac seamlessly. Can convert, but it comes out at least somewhat garbled.) and anything requiring really specific formatting. Our pastor and office admin can each work on the bulletin from the server and have it look the same. If I pull it with my Mac, the formatting gets wacky. But it is so much more possible to use the two platforms than it used to be.

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