by Tony Thomas
When I first got started doing page layout on computers back in the early 90s, I relied on a handful of desktop publishing programs, most notably Pagemakertm. Today, most page layout is either done using very expensive professional publishing suites or (much less effectively), on word processing applications like Microsoft Wordtm or Libre Officetm. Now, Xara has resurrected the DTP genre by providing a solution that delivers a lot of page layout and design power at a very reasonable price: Xara Page & Layout Designer.
Designed as a “document processor”, Xara Page & Layout Designer offers a workflow that will be very familiar to present Xara users and very attractive to those with limited design skills. As the program offers a rich library of free templates and clipart, you can begin building complex and attractive layouts in seconds by simply dragging and dropping. Key features include powerful advanced text-handling options (including text flow around objects), a page and layer gallery, web document support, text styles, spell check, and Google font support.
Features totally unexpected for a program in its class include: 3D object creation, integrated drawing and photo editing tools, Pantonetm color support, CMYK separation support plus professional PDF and PDF/X workflow. In addition, Xara Page & Layout Designer supports a wide range of standard file formats including: RTF, Microsoft Word, JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG, TIFF, PSD, PDF, EMF, WMF and SVG.
My tests of the program confirmed its ease of use and incredible speed. I was able to create complex designs quickly and easily, unlike what is possible using traditional word processing apps. At its current price (around $90 US), Xara Page & Layout Designer is an unrivalled value!
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