Award Maker Plus
Carol S. Holzberg
Requirements: Apple II-series with a minimum of 64K (reviewed here), Macintosh, IBM PC and compatibles. Printer required.
Do you have any school, family, or office occasions that merit distinctive awards? How should you demonstrate your appreciation to your children when they clean their rooms without being told? Is it time to give official recognition to the members of your local town council, church subcommittee, or community PTA for their many hours of dedicated, unpaid committee work? Well, there's a new program on the market that can help you show your thanks.
Award Maker Plus makes it possible to create quality awards without going through the bother and expense of professional typesetting. The program comes on two double-sided disks, with seven pages of simple program instructions, and an Award Style Catalog that pictures different styles of awards. It will print out 286 awards (including certificates, licenses, coupons, and diplomas), in eight typestyles, with ten different color or black-and-white borders, depending on the capabilities of your printer and ribbons. Award categories include: academic, family, sports, humor, office, general, and hires picture.
The program provides onscreen prompts to guide you through the design and printing processes. Arrow keys move the cursor through the menus to highlight activity options. Pressing RETURN makes a selection, but if you change your mind, you can press the ESCAPE key to back up to previous screens. It took me eight steps to print out my first award. These steps were: entering the award style number; selecting name and text font; entering award text; entering signature line; entering date; selecting border style; selecting border color; and printing award. Before printing, I had to configure my printer setup to match my hardware requirements. Setup only needs to be done once, as the configuration can be saved to disk.
There are plenty of features to give your certificates a professional touch. In addition to printing colored borders, if you have a color printer with multicolored ribbons, some of the awards allow you to use your own hi-res pictures for the graphics. These pictures must be a standard binary file copied onto a Pro-DOS-formatted disk, so make sure you have transferred those DOS 3.3 binary files before you begin. Print Shop-compatible border graphics also can work with Award Maker Plus as long as the graphics are copied onto a properly formatted data disk.
The Name Game
Another nice feature of Award Maker Plus is its ability to generate several copies of a certificate with a different name on each award. You can do this by first initializing a data disk and selecting the CREATE/EDIT NAME LIST option that appears either on the Main Menu when the program is first booted or on the Print Menu after you have already completed your certificate design. Then, enter the names you plan to use or edit an existing list.
Award Maker Plus can print up to 286 different awards in a variety of type styles and borders.
When you finish entering the names, onscreen prompts will instruct you to enter a filename for the list so you can save it to your data disk. Award Maker Plus then gives you an additional option. You can use all the names on your list or print only selected names. This feature will come in handy if, for example, you want to print certificates of completion for all the students in your class or merit badges for the members of your local scout troop, and so on.
The program comes with an Award Style Catalog, Program Instructions, and 20 gold-embossed press-on seals. Baudville is offering an additional 20 gold seals free with the purchase of Award Maker Plus pinfeed-stock French Parchment paper. The parchment paper is expensive but it does give an air of professionalism to the finished document.
Also included with the program is a sheet of special instructions. This sheet lists the disk and side for each award style number and offers some tips on font selecting, name lists, and printing. Baudville suggests that people having two disk drives might want to keep the main program, Disk A Side 1, in drive 1 and copy Side 2 onto another disk so that it can be placed in drive 2. This would minimize disk swapping and make operating the program more convenient.
All in all, Award Maker Plus is a useful addition to the desktop publishing market. The program is versatile and well-suited to a variety of purposes. The focus is on creating and printing rather than on learning or remembering a roster of special commands, keys, codes, or symbols. For the price, it offers value that will measure up to all your expectations.
Award Maker Plus
1001 Medical Park Dr., S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
$39.95 Apple II series version
$49.95 Macintosh and IBM PC /compatibles versions