Publish-It! 2.0. (desktop publishing software) (Evaluation)
by Joyce Sides
While desktop publishing packages price themselves right out of the home computer market, Timeworks' inexpensive Publish-it! 2.0 proves power doesn't always demand a fistful of dollars. This full-featured and friendly product offers almost every option included in the high-priced and hard-to-use packages.
The program runs under the GEM graphics environment, and the user interface seems much like most other desktop publishing packages. When you load a file, however, you'll notice a conspicuous difference. Publish-It! uses the library concept to list imported text files and graphics. Depending on the current mode (Frame, Paragraph, Text, or Graphics), the contents of the library change. For instance, in Frame mode, only the names of text and picture files used in your work appear. When you activate Text mode, the library fills with text style options.
Version 2.0 introduces many features, including expanded or extended memory support; text autoflow, which adds pages and extends the text to keep the layout intact; and Select All, which selects all the frames on a page.
Another added feature allows you to create your own fonts. Typografica, a program included in the package, generates fonts from 6 to 72 points in Sans Serif, Serif, Courier, Symbols, and several other typefaces. Make sure you use the correct printer driver when creating your fonts so that Publish-It! can read the new typefaces, though.
Even the best desktop publishers don't always think to stop and save their work when in the heat of the design process. This program's new automatic back-up feature ensures your work against power failures. Simply specify a time interval, and the program takes care of the rest--no more disasters!
Draft printing, a feature that I haven't seen in other desktop publishing programs, allows you to inspect layouts without printing graphics. This timesaver gives you a relatively quick hard copy for proofing and an excellent opportunity to correct typographical errors.
Unlike the previous version of Publish-It!, version 2.0 allows you to create custom page sizes when creating a new document. In addition to the standard size, you can create a document up to 22 1/2 inches wide and 22 1/2 inches long.
Not only can you import text and graphics with this version, but now you can export text, too. You can also name text by typing directly into a frame (instead of importing a story). Once you name the text, it becomes a story in the library.
The program supports several new printer drivers, including the Canon Bubble Jet, the NEC Pinwriter series, the Canon LBP II/III/IV series (bitmap fonts), and the Canon LBP III/IV series (scalable fonts). Previously, Publish-It! imported ASCII, WordStar, Microsoft Word 4.0, and WordPerfect files. Version 2.0 imports these file types as well as six additional word processor files, including heavyweights like Microsoft Works.
Publish-It! 2.0 not only includes greater versatility in importing text but also shows a big improvement in importing graphics. The new version imports PCX (PC Paintbrush), IMG (GEM Paint), GEM (GEM Draw), and PIC (Lotus 1-2-3) files like the previous version. It also imports LBM (DeluxePaint), EPS (Encapsulated PostScript), SS (Splash), and TIF (TIFF) files. Not only has Timeworks improved the import options, but it's also added an additional ruler option and additional text styles such as box and rounded box.
The Online Help option is adequate for simplek explanations but not for detailed descriptions. You'll have to look in the well-developed user's manual (which includes a quick-start minimanual) for details.
With the additional features and bonuses (two disks full of design ideas and the Typografica program), as well as the speed of this new version (screen redraw is significantly faster than with Express Publisher), Publish-It! 2.0 is worth a look. The price is right, and the quality of the product is outstanding.