Monday, March 12, 2012

Question to OSR publishers and authors

I have been getting a couple of products ready to go for release and I am not getting the look and feel I want.

So a question to OSR publishing community from the professionals all the way over to the enthusiastic amateurs.

What desktop publishing/layout program do you all use?

I have tried a few myself including picking up a new one this weekend.  I am hoping to get some better results than what I have had been getting.


Talysman said...

Amateur, here, who uses a pro tool: Adobe InDesign. I can't normally afford something like that, but several years ago, a friend who wanted to use his employee discount before he left the company acted as my middleman.

The key features that a really good layout program has to have are movable guidelines, text boxes you can position anywhere and link together so that you can flow text into all of them at once, master page formats to position repeated elements on several pages, and text styles you can edit to change several things at once. People who try to do layout on a word processor, even something as multi-featured as MS Word or OpenOffice, are missing the first three (and often don't understand the fourth.) This makes layout work very hard for not very much aesthetic value.

I've been meaning to try out the free layout program Scribus to make sure it has all these features. The only free program I've used that had guidelines is Inkscape, but its text boxes can't be linked; they must be loaded individually. Still, you could scrape by doing a one-page layout in Inkscape.

Generally speaking, I do my text in a plain text editor rather than a word processor. It keeps me from paying attention to layout issues at the composition stage. I've got some free tools that will convert plaintext to HTML or RTF, which makes it potentially good to use in a layout pipeline made entirely of free apps. I've been meaning to experiment and write up some tutorials on this.

Trey said...

My friend and collaborator who does my layouts uses InDesign.

Reverend Dak said...

I'm strictly FREE, and preferably Open Source software only. I'm using SCRIBUS, and it's awesome.