Desktop Publishing 3rd Edition by Focus Multimedia review

Ultra-cheap DTP package - a rebadged Serif PagePlus 11
Photo of Desktop Publishing 3rd Edition by Focus Multimedia
£10.20

In these cash-strapped times, value for money becomes increasingly important. Like everyone else, PC users are looking to squeeze a little bit extra out of every purchase. Trouble is, many of the budget offerings are poor performers, out-of-date, and simply not worth even their low, low purchase price. It’s pleasing then, to report back on one that is – Focus Multimedia’s Desktop Publishing 3rd Edition which, for a spit over £10.00, has everything you need to design and print out brochures, stationery, calendars, certificates, posters, scrapbooks, flyers and even (though we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it) web sites.

Good pedigree
As you’ll see when you install it, the reason for the pedigree is that it’s actually a re-packaged version of Serif’s five-year-old PagePlus 11 – an excellent performer back then and one that stands up well, especially when most modern DTP programs will set you back £80 or more. The DVD includes 1,600 templates and 200 extra Windows fonts to get you started, and there are plenty of tools for either fine-tuning these off-the-shelf designs or setting off on your own from a blank page.

PDF support
Despite its relative age, Focus DTP can open, edit and save PDFs and will substitute similar fonts for ones you don’t have on your system; it can also import data from Access and Excel. The built-in photo editor handles simple touch-ups, can sort out brightness and contrast problems and you can apply lots of fancy effects to your graphics, such as transparent drop shadows, glows, bevels and embosses. The built-in text editor (with spell checker) is still the model for programs like this.

Company: Focus Multimedia

Contact: 01889 570156

Positives
  • The price; the ability to import, edit and save PDFs; some good design features.
Negative
  • It's a five-year-old product. But who really cares?

Verdict

It may be old, but it's certainly not past it. For the price, this is the best desktop publishing program money can buy. And while it's nothing more than a re-heating of PagePlus 11, that shouldn't detract from its central appeal - top class DTP for the price of a large pizza.