A CDE Definition
Using a desktop computer to produce high-quality printed output or camera-ready output for commercial printing. It requires a desktop publishing program, such as Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress, a large monitor and laser printer. The term "desktop publishing" was more popular when personal computers emerged in the 1980s. Today, almost everything is created on a desktop or laptop computer for publication, whether for print, CD, DVD or online.
Beyond Word Processing
A desktop publishing program (DTP), also called a "page layout program" or "publishing program," provides complete page design capabilities, including magazine style columns, rules and borders, page, chapter and caption numbering as well as precise typographic alignment. A key feature is its ability to flow text around graphic objects in a variety of ways. Although many word processing programs offer many of these features, a desktop publishing program provides ultimate flexibility.
The Final Layout
Original text and graphics may be created in a desktop publishing program, but graphics tools are often elementary. Typically, all data are created externally. Text is generally created in a word processing program, and graphics are created in a CAD, drawing or paint program and photographs are taken with a digital camera. All text and graphic elements are imported into the publishing program.
Print or Publish Online
A laser printer may be used for final output, but shaded drawings and photographs print better on commercial high-resolution imagesetters. For transfer to a commercial printer, documents are generally saved as PostScript or PDF files. For Web publishing, PDF files are the de facto standard for downloading documents. See PDF.
It Was a Revolution
Desktop publishing dramatically brought down the cost of page layout, causing many projects to be taken inhouse. Predefined templates for newsletters, brochures and other publishing tasks help rank novices do respectable jobs. Nevertheless, there is no substitute for a graphic designer who knows which fonts to use and how to lay out the page artistically.
Desktop Publishing this Encyclopedia
(Portable Document Format) The de facto standard for electronic document publishing from Adobe. There are billions of brochures, data sheets, white papers, forms and technical manuals on the Web in the PDF format.
PDF Is a Superset of Adobe PostScript
PDF is often the preferred file format for sending documents to commercial print houses. If the commercial printer uses PDF imagesetters, no conversion is necessary. If it uses only PostScript hardware, the PDF files are converted to PostScript first. See PostScript.
The "Portable" in PDF - Font Design Freedom
PDFs solved a chronic problem, in which the target computer may not have all the fonts specified in a document. For a graphic artist, font selection is an important part of page design, but, in the past, only basic fonts were chosen to ensure they were available in every user's computer.
In contrast, PDF files do not rely on the fonts installed in the user's computer. Document designers are free to choose whichever fonts they have at their disposal, and those fonts are embedded within the PDF document. Because the fonts are not distributed for general use, they do not violate copyrights and patents. Most importantly for designers, the page will render correctly on any computer with PDF software; essentially every computer. See PDF/X and font incompatibility.
Adobe Acrobat Reader (formerly Adobe Reader) is Adobe's free download for displaying and printing PDF files, and hundreds of millions of users have downloaded this software from www.adobe.com. Acrobat Reader lets you view and print PDF files, but not create or edit them.
Create/Edit and Export To
PDF files can be created with Adobe's Acrobat software, which can convert documents created in Microsoft Office and other popular programs. While Acrobat allows editing of any PDF file, many applications can export (save) to PDF, and there are numerous stand-alone utilities that convert documents to PDF. Windows 10 added a "print to PDF" option, which saves whatever the user might print to a PDF file. See PDF/A, PDF/X, WWF, PostScript, DjVu and XML Paper Specification.
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