Editor’s Note: The Print Shop Deluxe 5.0 is now available. Clicking on the buy button link will take you to this new version for purchase. We will test and rank this new software when we next update the Desktop Publishing Software site. For now read our review for The Print Shop Deluxe 4.0.
The first Print Shop program was released 30 years ago for the Apple II. It was the first desktop publishing program to give its users a library of templates, fonts, graphics and photos they could arrange as they pleased. That formula, however, has long since been replicated and even outclassed by many competitors, and The Print Shop Deluxe is no longer an industry leader. This is a stripped-down version of the more diverse Print Shop Professional edition.
True to its brand, The Print Shop Deluxe features a great selection of fun templates, along with plenty of art assets. This is more affordable desktop publishing software than many programs we reviewed. If you need this software for projects that don’t require a lot of complexity, to create high-quality, single-page documents or greeting cards, this is a good choice. But you’ll have a hard time creating multipage documents like professional newsletters or brochures.
You won't get the commercial-use stock photos in Deluxe that you would with Professional, but you can make use of the 600+ fonts Encore includes in every box. The templates themselves are fun and attractive, but The Print Shop doesn't include Avery-compatible layouts for labels, postcards, business cards or other store-bought print stock. As ubiquitous as Avery products are, we'd have liked to see support for them.
While you can often count on the best publishing software to offer a bevy of solid layout and publishing features, The Print Shop Deluxe’s feature set is comparatively limited. There are no master pages to help you persist elements across pages, so numbering pages can be a chore. You can't import content beyond simple JPG and GIF images, nor can you create tables or graphs within the program. Users don't even have access to custom guides to help them lay out content in a clean, meaningful way. If you want to build a table, you'll have to place each cell individually and eyeball their alignment. If you'd like a program that allows you to create tables, charts and graphs you might be interested in Microsoft Publisher.
Thankfully, the graphic design tools in The Print Shop are decent, though they still aren't as fleshed out as we'd like to see in such a big-name desktop publishing package. You won't have access to filters or advanced effects to help you spruce up text, but you'll still be able to fix issues in photos using the built-in photo editor. You can import images from Facebook and drag and drop images from other applications. So getting images into your document from another source won’t be a problem.
You can also edit the images. Including features such as red-eye reduction and blemish removal, the editor lets you smooth out problems with pictures so they look great when you print them out – though you'll probably need a certain level of comfort with graphics editing to make full use of the toolset.
There are a number of helpful tutorials on the Broderbund website, and you can access YouTube for other helpful videos. The customer support options are impressive. You can contact the company through email, phone or live chat, which is a rare service for this kind of software, allowing you to get answers to your questions in real time online.
Despite its name, The Print Shop Deluxe 4.0 is a stripped-down version of Print Shop Professional. It is more affordable software but without such extras as master pages to easily draft multipage documents. You can import photos by dragging them into the document from other applications or importing them from Facebook. The templates and art assets are quality, but they still are not up to the best desktop publishing software in our lineup. With good support options and support for creative projects, this is a good option for someone who doesn’t need to create a lot of professional documents like newsletters and brochures.