Adobe PageMaker 7.0 review: Adobe PageMaker 7.0

  • 1

CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Cranks out PDF files for a variety of hardware; intuitive point-and-click interface; creates catalogs by merging data from spreadsheets and databases.

The Bad Four times as expensive as Microsoft Publisher; HTML conversion generates poor-looking pages.

The Bottom Line Businesses that publish plenty and want a quick way to turn paper docs into PDF files or assemble catalogs from databases should turn to PageMaker.

Don't Miss

PageMaker may have started the whole desktop publishing deal 16 years ago, but it has long played second banana to high-end QuarkXPress. It has also been thumped in the price wars by low-end competitors such as Microsoft Publisher. At $499, version 7.0 is still a tweener: too expensive for budget-conscious, home-based and small-business users and not powerful enough for professional designers. PageMaker 7.0, with new tools for turning documents into PDF files and churning out catalogs from data in spreadsheets and databases, is best suited for small to midsized businesses that want to distribute Acrobat Reader-formatted files, produce sophisticated catalogs, and work on the Mac as well as the PC. But businesses on a budget (and all home users) should still steer toward Microsoft Publisher 2002. PageMaker may have started the whole desktop publishing deal 16 years ago, but it has long played second banana to high-end QuarkXPress. It has also been thumped in the price wars by low-end competitors such as Microsoft Publisher. At $499, version 7.0 is still a tweener: too expensive for budget-conscious, home-based and small-business users and not powerful enough for professional designers. PageMaker 7.0, with new tools for turning documents into PDF files and churning out catalogs from data in spreadsheets and databases, is best suited for small to midsized businesses that want to distribute Acrobat Reader-formatted files, produce sophisticated catalogs, and work on the Mac as well as the PC. But businesses on a budget (and all home users) should still steer toward Microsoft Publisher 2002.

Warning: Learning curve ahead
Compared to lower-priced SOHO (small office/home office) desktop publishers, particularly Microsoft Publisher 2002, PageMaker is a challenge for novices. PageMaker lacks the slick wizards and step-by-step templates of Publisher. (Although PageMaker's newsletter templates are superior.) You need to dedicate training time to get the most out of this program.

PageMaker made desktop publishing accessible early on, and that hasn't changed. You can still point and click and drag and drop to rearrange elements or insert new ones or to launch one of the nearly 300 business templates to jump-start your page design. Power users can still work QuarkXPress-style by beginning with blank pages, then creating and placing boxes for text, images, or other elements. Frankly, we prefer the easier point-and-click approach.

Publish once
PageMaker 7.0 may look like its predecessor, but there's new gear under the hood. One welcome change is the ability to output PageMaker publications in a special tagged PDF file that displays text and graphics in similar fashion on all sorts of hardware: PCs, Macs, PDAs, and even cell phones. You can also access sophisticated Adobe Distiller functions and security features from within PageMaker. And, as in version 6.5, you can easily output standard PDF files of any PageMaker documents. We turned a PageMaker newsletter into a PDF file with just one click.

Like version 6.5, PageMaker 7.0 can export documents in HTML format for Web publishing, but the results fall short of the much more affordable Microsoft Publisher. PageMaker's Web pages are only approximations of the originals; the formatting is off and columns are misplaced, while PageMaker-created shapes such as ovals and boxes are never translated. If you want one program to produce both paper and HTML versions of documents, Publisher 2002 is a better bet.

Color coordinated
There's no doubt that PageMaker has it all over Publisher when it comes to advanced publishing jobs. PageMaker supports high-resolution printing and color management, which ensures that color is always consistent, from proofs to final output. And PageMaker has none of the weird limits of Publisher; you can insert as many spot color elements in a document as you want. (Publisher maxes out at 12.)

Don't Miss

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy

Adobe PageMaker 7.0

Part Number: 27530341

MSRP: $508.53

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Category creativity application
  • Compatibility PC