Macs have surged in popularity for a variety of factors. One major market for these computers are young graphic designers who utilize the Mac's processing speed and wide screens to push design as we know it forward.
But if you didn't get a degree in graphic design, what can you do to create professional-looking business cards, brochures or cards. That's where Mac publishing software comes in. It can deliver professional results from an easy-to-use (not to mention affordable) publishing suite.
Mac publisher applications come with a bevy of design templates you can use, or you can create your own: greeting cards, business cards, banners, menus, letterhead and mailing labels. For others, these programs are great for creative hobbies. Not only does designing various projects become easier using these programs, it becomes more fun. You can create your own Christmas cards, family letterhead or even your child's birthday party invitation.
As you become comfortable with the application of your choice, you think of new projects, adding a little flair here or there. Whether you're publishing for business or pleasure, Mac publishing software is a great and fun way to express your creativity and design fabulous projects. Three popular programs being used in the business are Adobe InDesign, Apple's iWork and PrintMaster.
Publishing Software Programs for Macs: What to Look For
Even though many desktop publishing applications pretty much do the same thing, they vary greatly. Each program presents different options and methods for making your next project look great.
Some desktop publishing applications for Mac offer an array of tools. Others only offer a few, but allow you to alter each variable to make your project look exactly how you want it to look. Here are the criteria to consider when looking for the best desktop publishing software for Macs.
These features vary from program to program, but there are a few tools the best desktop publishing applications should have. For one, you should be able to import your own photos to create a more personalized project. The best desktop publishing software for Macs simplifies the process of importing images with drag-and-drop capabilities.
Look for applications with photo-editing tools, such as Adobe InDesign. Once you import photos into your project, you'll want to edit the images. The best applications let you remove red eye, convert your photos from color to black and white and even adjust the color balance. Some applications provide numerous photo-editing tools while others offer one or two tools.
Besides the ability to add personal photos to your projects, look for applications that provide libraries full of clip art. The best software provides hundreds, even thousands, of images you can browse through to find the perfect image to add to any project you create.
Once you place an object in your project, you need tools to manipulate the object, such as stretching, warping, rotating and resizing, to create a project that looks exactly how you envisioned it. Look for applications that allow you manipulate images.
Adobe InDesign is Mac publishing software that lets you create all types of content, from business cards to brochures. With this design application, you can add images and multiple fonts and manipulate shapes. Once your project is complete, there are several collaboration and publishing options. Adobe offers customers several convenient support options in the event of questions or concerns about the software.
When looking for the best desktop publisher for Macs, consider your individual skill level. If you are a beginner and don't have extensive graphic design education or experience, you'll want an application that provides preloaded templates to create stunning projects that not only look professional but that take little time and effort to produce.
Preloaded design templates provide you with ideas and a starting point to create your own content. Many applications, such as PrintMaster, offer hundreds of templates you can choose from and that allow you to create all types of content, such as greeting cards and birthday party invitations.
However, the templates need to be more than just something in which you change the text to reflect your needs. You need to be able to manipulate the templates to create your own works of art. Look for templates that provide full customization capabilities, because if not, they're simply drag-and-drop receptacles of information and images.
PrintMaster is a Mac desktop publishing program for those who want lots of project possibilities in one nice package. This application allows you to create dozens of different types of content, and it provides all types of templates to help you quickly and easily create the project you envisioned.
Copy is essential regardless of the project you're creating. It adds an entirely new dimension to your project and gives your audience the information they need. The text must be presentable but also eye-catching.
Not only should the application provide basic text tools, such as adjusting the text's font, size and color, but it should also give you the ability to fill text with images and photos. Many Mac desktop publishers, such as Desktop Publisher Pro, give you full text-customization capabilities. Look for applications that allow you to curve or shape text and wrap it around objects.
You should also be able to change the orientation of the text, positioning it horizontally or vertically and aligning it with ease. Basically, you need a publishing program that allows you to make your text more than just simple words on a page.
Desktop Publisher Pro
Desktop Publisher Pro provides all of the basic features, such as text-editing tools and the ability to import images, that you need in Mac publishing software. This application is designed for both Mac and Windows users and allows you to create all types of content. This application is basic enough that even beginners can benefit from its feature set while advanced users can create complex pieces of content.
Ease of Use
The best applications are straightforward, and you can find all of the tools and features you need easily. Most applications allow you to place your toolboxes around your canvas, making it simple to grab the tools you need and hide the toolboxes you don't use very often. Apple’s iWork even includes a word-processing program, so that you don’t have to access another program.
You may even notice that many of these programs use icons to determine where certain features are located. This is excellent if the icons are plain and relate to the actual features they are representing.
Printing & Sharing
It's exciting to create a project on your Mac, but it's even more thrilling when you print it and share it with the world. Consider the features the developers included that simplify and expedite this task without using all of your printer's ink for a single project.
When sharing your content, look for applications with a single share button. Once you push the Share button, numerous options pop up, such as sharing your project on social media, emailing your content or publishing it to a website. Lucidpress is an example of an online application that makes it very simple to collaborate on and share content. However you choose to share it, the process shouldn't be complex. Even beginners should understand how to easily do it.
When printing your projects, you need full customization capabilities. You should be able to export your projects into different formats, including JPEG, PNG and PDF. It is also important that you set your own paper options, such as paper sizes and types of paper.
Changing the orientation (portrait or landscape) is essential. And if you want your creation printed using the highest quality inks and materials, make sure the application gives you the option of sending your item to a professional printing service. If not, you may be limited to printing from a compatible printer at home or work.
Lucidpress is a publishing application that makes it simple to create a large variety of beautiful content. With this online application, you can create content for both print or for the online world, such as digital magazines, online flyers, etc. With this program, you can collaborate with colleagues and easily share your latest creations on social media. Dozens of templates also simplify the overall design process.
Help & Support
Many companies that design publishing software for Macs provide numerous resources on their websites to help you fully utilize their software. Some of the most popular support resources include video tutorials, community forums, FAQs and support articles. The manufacturer for QuarkXPress even has a YouTube channel with tutorials.
You may even find online user manuals that explain the many features and tools the application offers. If you wish to speak directly with support representatives regarding any questions or issues you have with the application, look for email, telephone and even live-chat support.
QuarkXPress is a publisher for Mac and Windows. This application provides numerous design tools to help you create stunning content. It features numerous layout options so your project looks exactly how you envisioned it. Additionally, this application features digital publishing options, such as the ability to export files into different formats and publish content to mobile devices.
Can I Use Online Publishing Software?
Most desktop publishers for Mac come as a CD you install on your desktop. However, many desktops and laptops lack an optical drive, and you must purchase an external disc drive if you want to install the software. That is just one reason why online software applications are ideal. With these applications, you download them onto your computer; there is no physical CD you store.
Many of the design programs featured in our buying guide are compatible with both Mac and Windows computers. This adaptability provides more desktop publishing options so you can create stunning content. In addition, many online applications offer free trials so you can easily test the application first before buying it to ensure it has the features and tools you desire. The products featured in our guide consist of both physical and online applications.
With help from our buying guide and seeking out Mac design applications with the above features, you can have a powerful application that helps you create stunning works of art. If you're a small business owner, teacher or creative crafter, these programs provide you with plenty of design opportunities. Unleash your creativity, no matter your skill level, with Mac publishing software.
For more information about these applications, read our articles about desktop publishing software for Macs and their many features and tools.