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PagePlus Review

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You will notice how effective the PagePlus series from Serif is as a page layout design software. Versions from this series have options to let you create 3D sales charts, to work in a clean and organized workspace, and to use a startup assistant to help you learn the software. Plus, for the features you get, this easy-to-use page layout software is less expensive than many of the other applications you'll find in our lineup of the best page designer software. We did miss a few features included in the most powerful products, such as the ability to design apps and QR codes, but if you're a publisher on a budget, you will love this series.

The whole process of using PagePlus is simplified into drag-and-drop formats. Finding tools and other options isn't hard either. The traditional layout has a list of tools along with all the assets you need, such as graphics, pictures, picture frames and backgrounds. Simply clicking on this list will generally open up a new menu and closes whichever menu is open, which helps keep the workspace clean. You can also use the search function to find pictures of anything from food to animals.

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Photo and graphics adjustment tools are all conveniently located within the application window. These range from color swatches to transparency adjustment and alignment options. When we tested this software series, we got to a point where we didn't like the color of our page. Using the Schemes tab in some versions, we were given a list of options for colors that are preloaded into the system. By selecting one scheme, it changed the color of the headers, text and background so we didn't have to go back and adjust each individual parameter.

Another thing that makes the software easy to use are the pre-loaded templates. You can choose templates to create business cards, websites and magazine layouts. All you have to do is select the template and click Load.

The one drawback of the software's simplicity is that it limits your customization options. We noticed that sometimes when using the grids, the auto-lock feature becomes annoying if you want to move something just a few pixels. Also, many of the graphics look like they were pulled from the pre-internet era or poorly drawn cartoons. The good news is that you can generally upload any file you want if you don't like the pre-loaded image selection.

Cutout Studio is a layout guide to help you edit photos and graphics. This is one of the most advanced features within the PagePlus series, and the page layout software edits images better than most similar programs. You can use the selection tool to select regions around your subject and remove them. You can adjust the color, change the size of the tools for a precise crop and preview your picture before you make the changes. This is a great tool if you want to add people, animals or other subjects to a magazine.

PagePlus puts emphasis on simplicity, and you will notice this as you design your layouts. There are plenty of options and effects you can add to your text, such as a drop shadow and 3D. The dynamic alignment makes it easy to align your text on the grid so that everything looks symmetrical. If you want an asymmetrical layout, you can disable the auto-lock feature and skew your text and graphics.

You can also add style to your text by creating text on a path. You can include custom curves and shapes. Text conversion sets PagePlus apart from other page layout software. Some versions allow you to edit individual letters to form different shapes or add angles.

One thing we like about PagePlus is that it can auto-resize text. If you are writing text along a path or if the text is about to flow into a graphic or image, versions from this series automatically adjust the text to flow around the graphic. This makes it easy for you to keep typing rather than having to readjust everything on the template.

Between the simple layout and the price point, it's hard to ignore the PagePlus series when it comes to magazine layout software. This software focuses on a drag-and-drop environment and premade templates for easy project creation. We found that the grids and lines sometimes get in the way of moving graphics or text boxes, at least when we wanted to move something just a few pixels to the left or right, but turning off the auto-lock generally solves this problem. This series is some of the best page layout software for anyone who is looking to create professional-looking publications.

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