What The Heck Is Desktop Publishing?

Desktop Publishing, more popularly known as DTP, is the process of creating documents through page layouts with the help of certain software that aids in combining elements of different media sources such as pictures, text, or charts into one printable document. Compared to the old practice of manually combining text and graphics with the bulky phototypesetting, documents are created using only a personal computer, with pictures, texts, and other elements are digitally assembled to imitate a format made for printing. Its main purpose is to produce documents such as newsletters, books, magazines, newspapers, print advertisements, business cards, posters, and other varieties of print materials. It may also be used in creating non-print materials for content of websites, or for dissemination such as PDF files.

Before its birth, the only option in producing typed materials was a typewriter, which limited users to only two faces. The process was made popular during 1985 by Apple Macintosh and its aim to capitalize on the capability of its computers. It was later on enhanced with the introduction of Aldus Corporation's PageMaker´┐Ż software (now acquired by Adobe Systems) and is now the standard DTP industry software. The process is also a common tool of the publishing industry, as it allows them to produce more professional-looking results, and it takes out the effort of the trial-and-error in determining what their output would look like, thus resulting to an increase in real-time productivity.

Desktop Publishing is also a more complicated approach than word processing as the latter allow users to define and modify the elements within a document and provides finer control over their materials. Users can just change a single element in the page without the need to modify the entire document. The text can also be wrapped around images to conserve space, and change typographical or graphical elements according to their preferences. The most powerful DTP systems may allow users to create or edit illustrations within the program; others may only allow users to embed images that are created using other programs. Although modern word processing software have started supporting some of the primary DTP program features, there are still certain functions that only DTP programs have.

A Desktop Publishing program's unique display screen feature allows users to see exactly how the document will appear once it has been printed. This feature, also commonly referred to as WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), allows users to edit the elements in a document without the need of having them printed first. Users can immediately identify the features that need to be corrected or revised before having the final output printed.

DTP applications are also categorized into two types - the ones more suitable for printable formats, and other types that are more fitting for online publishing or electronic distribution. Some programs may combine both into one comprehensive software package for the convenience of its user, such as the Adobe Creative Suite. Some graphic design skills may also be involved in desktop publishing and may require separate programs to support it.

Desktop Publishing also allows users to create their own printing plates, which is suitable for mass publishing and offset printing. Although some desktop publishers can do their own printing, some may require other printing formats and sizes. DTP also allows users to customize their printing preferences, especially for materials designated for large format printing and bleed printing. Materials that created through desktop publishing can also be formatted into a PostScript for printing via DTP service bureaus as it allows higher quality and full-color printing.

Overall, desktop publishing has become extremely popular for creating both printed and non-printed materials for mass production. It has simply become a widely-accepted process of visual communication for the publishing industries across the globe and is continuously becoming a tool for various organizations due to its user-friendly interface and consumer-oriented features.

Subject Matter Websites for Desktop Publishing

  1. Accurate Image Manipulation for Desktop Publishing
  2. CMYK Color Scale Selector
  3. Colorize.com
  4. Daddy Desktop
  5. Espresso Graphics
  6. Printer Reviews and Helpful Hints
  7. The Printing Press