pt3 subject areas technology tools learning environment

Desktop publishing is a process that allows you to combine text and graphics to create documents with various layouts including multiple columns and pages. All the stages of publishing are completed right on the computer’s desktop. You no longer need a photocopier, paste, scissors, clip art, a typewriter, and a graphic artist to create professional quality documents from draft to distribution. Of course, no one is requiring you to do everything on the computer’s desktop. It’s still easier to tape or paste on photographs after the document is complete. It’s also less expensive to send your final copy to a printer for professional duplication rather than printing all the copies out on your printer. However, for the most part, you can do all your work directly on the computer’s desktop.

Regardless of whether you want to create a simple worksheet or a 10-page booklet, the computer can help you produce a professional product. Although the computer software packages now available are generally user-friendly, you still need basic computer skills, in addition to skills in the use of word processing, graphics, and page layout software. Along with computer skills, you also need design skills including page layout, typography, and graphic design. Sometimes a word processor will meet your needs for developing a simple text-based handout. If your handout is mostly graphic in nature, a simple graphics package will work. However, if you want to develop a complex handout or a booklet, you may want to use a page layout program such as Adobe Pagemaker. Specific features of page layout programs include WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) page layout, multiple column options, leading options, hyphenation and justification options, as well as graphics tools including cropping and resizing tools.

Adobe Pagemaker, Microsoft Publisher, and QuarkXpress are three popular desktop publishing packages.

Use the following off-site resources to learn more about desktop publishing:

Adobe Pagemaker and InDesign

If you're looking for a powerful desktop publishing package that is used by many professional publishers, Adobe Pagemaker is a good choice. If you already use other Adobe products such as PhotoShop, Illustrator and Acrobat, it's a natural addition to the collection. Pagemaker takes a little more time to learn than a word processor, but it's perfect for multiple page documents. Another option gaining in popularity is Adobe InDesign. This package has more special effects and visual resources than Pagemaker. Explore the following off-site resources and tutorials for step-by-step instructions on using the software.

Microsoft Publisher

Because it's a Microsoft product, many people choose Microsoft Publisher for desktop publishing. Not as powerful as other software, Publisher works fine for simple documents that require columns and graphics. Explore the following off-site resources and tutorials for step-by-step instructions on using the software.


If you're looking for a high-end desktop publishing tool, the choice is QuarkXPress. Although many professional publishers use this package, it's also used to product newsletters and other types of documents. Explore the following off-site resources and tutorials for step-by-step instructions on using the software.



Funding for this project was provided through a grant from Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology (PT3) from the US Department of Education.
Principal Investigators
Dr. Berhane Teclehaimanot, Principal Investigator & Assistant Professor, College of Education

Created 2/03. Last Updated 4/06.