Wednesday, 9 October 2013


PRICE, £81.69
#Serif #PagePlusX7

Good late evening, Synapse Circuit Readers! I hope your day was warm and eventful! London was blessed with yet another mild day! The Sun was out which is unusual for this time of year! Gosh! I can’t complain!

Hey, do you fancy yourself as a novelist? Would you like to create documents for professional publishing? Well, I have brilliant news for you in the form of...

PagePlus has long been my favourite DTP program; I have seen it grow from strength to strength over the years! Today PagePlus X7 is the DTP program of all DTP programs! Yes, I rate it above and beyond Adobe InDesign and Quark Xpress! Here’s why...

Readers, I am going to give it to you straight!

Adobe InDesign and Quark Xpress are undoubtedly great programs – they are an industry staple as you probably are aware. However, both Adobe and Quark have their heads firmly in the clouds in that they are trying to maintain that they spearhead publishing innovation and remain, for the most part, an expensive option for both paper and digital publishing. In truth Google has blown apart digital publishing due to providing inexpensive ways for the ordinary Joe or Josephine to create and publish content: YouTube and Blogger! Okay, with YouTube one requires a video recording device and an editor but aside from that miniscule outlay you are ready to go and upload your video for all to see!

Google have done something far more subtle and powerful than what Apple has done with the iPhone and notably the iPad. Google not only owns the most widely used operating system in the world, Android, they own YouTube and Blogger! So, if you were to create YouTube content you can do so knowing that the YouTube app is synonymous with today’s mobile devices. There’s no need for the recipient to download yet another app and good luck with trying to get people to download a new app!

With Blogger you can simply share your writing via email, social networking and free messaging apps! All done via the mobile phone!
Digital publications / apps are reminiscent of the CD ROM when the power of the Internet exploded and the CD ROM was one of the casualties. Speaking of the web... The web is one big application in itself as one can embed YouTube (and other videos), blogging resources and so on.

Glad you asked! Thank you!

The beauty and power of PagePlus X7 is that you can get on with creating publications designated for print and it won’t cost you the Earth! If you want to print off a flyer, brochure, letterhead, compliment slip, business card, magazine, etc then PagePlus X7 is all that you need! You can also create PDF documents that can be accessed from the web via a link from your website! You can also edit just about any PDF file with PPX7!

As you may have realized, I used to produce Synapse Circuit as downloadable PDF magazine (with Adobe InDesign) but each month the PDF got bigger in not only the amount of pages but in megabytes too! I think the last one was over 100MB which is too much for some people. Therefore I went Blogger and YouTube! Now my audience has grown greatly as a result – better than I had ever anticipated!

However, there are times when I need to publish documents at a print bureau and I reach for PagePlus every time!

Oh, let me mention that I used to output Synapse Circuit as a Flash based magazine in addition to the PDF as an option which you have probably seen already; I did this with Adobe InDesign! Sadly, one of the enduring legacies of Steve Jobs is that he helped to kill off Adobe Flash both on the web and mobile devices. This has caused many people to go over to YouTube – which is Flash based – and deliver what is essentially a TV program. I was tempted to create a more interactive experience by outputting to the Flash SWF format but thought the better of it for the reasons above and the hard work it would be to maintain with each issue!

This takes us to the subject of web design; PPX7 can also put out documents as basic web pages. Don’t expect to have all the functionality of Serif’s award winning web design program, WebPlus!

But, yes, print is where PPX7 excels over any other DTP program on the market today when it comes to creating documents to be printed professionally! PagePlus has never let me down yet! I will let you into a secret... I don’t bother calibrating my PC monitor in order to ensure accurate colour reproduction to avoid disappointment when the document is printed professionally! Serif’s PPX7 creates the sort of PDF that print bureaus prefer and the prints that I have brought to a bureau came out as intended! With the likes of Adobe and Quark you’re encouraged to be anal about colour reproduction that can lead to the purchasing of gadgets to aid calibrating the computer monitor and some of these gadgets aren’t cheap!

All you need to know about professional publishing is the CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) and Pantone colour values as that’s what print bureaus deal with. Let’s say you did not realize that you had to use CMYK (and Pantone) and you wanted to produce a document to be printed at a bureau, all you’d have to do is create a PDF-X3 (X3 is the latest bureau standard and new to PagePlus X7) and change the colour value from the customary RGB to CMYK! Easy! You’ll probably notice a slight change in the colour temperature during the colour conversion process but result shouldn’t come as a shock.

Another scenario is that you produced a PDF-X3 document with the RGB colour value and brought it to a bureau the chances are that the operator will alert you and seek to charge you a sum for the conversion process when it is not necessary! The operator should do the conversion for free! So, if you know that you are going to require the services of a print bureau you ought to make sure that the document is outputted with the CMYK colour value.

Another great aspect of PPX7 is the ability to publish eBooks that can be sold via Amazon! Yippie! This was also a feature in the previous version (X6) and it has gotten better with X7!

The ability to publish to the eBook format is a great boon to independent writers and if I had the time I would definitely write my first novel, output it to an eBook and sell it via Amazon! You should have a go too!

Again, PPX7 excels where Abobe and Quark costs too much when it comes to eBook publishing.

PagePlus X7 brings a host of great new features such as a new start-up interface that allows you to start new documents with or without the great body of templates available, access tutorials, news and tutorials.

Charts - charts have been added that can come from table contents and spreadsheets.

Tables - tables can flow to another page.

Accelerated graphics technology makes it easier to render documents with large graphics within a document.

PDF-X3 output (as discussed above).

Export as picture with previews in different image file formats.

Another feature that I have noticed is that the import of video is better in that it looks more professional and allows for the display of a “poster” image taken from the video itself. The video is supposed to include a player but that aspect is not working yet and that will most likely come with a software update. Importing sound still needs some work in that one would want to specify a graphic / image file to represent the sound; the option to add a player is there but like the video player it is yet to be implemented.

Serif PagePlus X7 is definitely a must have for DTP publishers dealing primarily in print. Sure, PPX7 is not geared towards creating these newfangled apps outside of eBook publishing and I do believe I have discussed why creating such applications i.e. digital magazines is a waste of time, such magazines look good and can show off design skills but often they mimic a physical paper magazine and – to me – that defeats the purpose of a decent handset and / or tablet. One video can do it all. Personally, I have found that many people do not care for clever designs and prefer to read text from a blog, RSS feed and website! I don’t know about you, but I do not see the point in paying for a digital magazine. That said, I can’t help but wish for an option for PagePlus users to output documents in a HTML 5 based app that is essentially a website in app form that allows the creator to use YouTube video, audio players and so on. The app would be available for Android and iOS devices; it would be ideal to give the reader another possibility of subscribing to a blog / website.


4 .7 / 5

Serif PagePlus X7 represents superb value for money and should be considered as more than just a home / small business tool.

I hope you enjoyed this review. Stay tuned for more reviews to come.

Watch this space!

Take good care!

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