Classic Computer Magazine Archive ST-Log ISSUE 20 / JUNE 1988 / PAGE 8


Everyone these days is talking about desktop publishing, but I'm not really sure what it is they're talking about. I know they mean the process of publishing newsletters without having to go to a professional printing company, but it seems to me that there is more to it than that. I've got a 520ST, along with the usual assortment of word processors, games, etc. But I don't have any software that mentions anything about desktop publishing. What exactly is desktop publishing? I currently do up a newsletter for a stamp collector's club. I "publish" it by typing it with ST Writer, printing out the pages on my Epson printer and then photocopying the result. Can I use my ST in a better way to help me put out this newsletter?

By the way, I want to congratulate you on a fine April issue. Mouse-ka-mania is a super program! And CHKDSK has already helped me repair dozens of my floppy disks. Keep up the great work!

—Robert Ford
Warwick, RI

You have the basic idea behind desktop publishing. In a general sense, it means using your computer to publish newsletters, forms and any other type of document without having to resort to fancy typesetting equipment. However, whether or not you utilize the services of a professional printing company has very little to do with the process of desktop publishing. In many cases, documents that were designed using desktop publishing software are printed just like any other publication—at the printers. It's how you create your "camera-ready copy" (the "master" from which your publication will be printed; in your case, the pages that you photocopy to publish your stamp collector's newsletter would be your version of camera-ready copy) that differentiates desktop publishing from the more conventional publishing methods.

A "professional" publication is designed and created using very expensive typesetting and photographic equipment. And the entire typesetting process is costly as well (especially if you need to do a lot of corrections to the "galleys," typeset copy in a preliminary form). For instance, if you were to bring a 20-page newsletter to a typesetter service, it would probably cost you nearly $1000 to get your camera-ready copy.

This cost is frequently too high for the casual publisher, so desktop publishing came into being. What you're doing with your newseletter is, technically, desktop publishing, because you're using your computer to design the document. However, what you seem to be unaware of is that there are several programs designed especially for the desktop publisher. They allow you not only to type in text, but also to incorporate graphics, columnize and "justify" your copy, design headlines, use different "fonts" (character designs) and "point sizes" (a character measurement) and utilize many other useful functions available only through quality desktop publishing software.

There are several desktop publishing packages available for the ST, including SoftLogik's Publishing Partner, Timeworks' Publishing ST, MirrorSoft's Fleet Street Publisher and Migraph's Easy-Draw (this last isn't really a desktop publishing program, but many people use it as one). All these programs (except Publisher ST, which is brand new) have been reviewed in past issues of ST-Log. You might also like to take a look at Maurice Molyneaux's article "Page Perfect" in ST-Log #17 for a mini-tutorial on desktop publishing.