Express Publisher for Windows. (desktop publishing software) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Joyce Sides
Power Up Software is trying to keep up with the Joneses. Its Express Publisher for Windows takes desktop publishing a few steps closer to the company's high-end desktop publishing competitors, making it a useful product at a lower price.
Express Publisher for Windows shouldn't be overlooked as a means of small business or home desktop publishing. It's cost-effective when compared to the desktop publishing biggies.
And in addition to all the special features packed into the DOS version, the new Windows version includes such features as the Paste Link command, a spelling checker with two dictionaries, a thesaurus, a realtime macro creation option, an Insert Tags command, and lots more.
Differences between the DOS version and the Windows version include selecting the text-related options first in the Windows version. There's no end-of-story marker in the new version, and text and objects can be rotated (the DOS version only allows object rotation).
There's no need to worry about whether Express Publisher DOS documents will work in the Windows version. I converted my resume from DOS to Windows and started printing the new version in no time. I had to reformat the text fonts, however, since the conversion process eliminated my original fonts from the document.
One option that's missing in the Windows version is the Edit Object command. I used this option in the DOS version quite a lot to alter graphics, but since the graphics in the Windows version can be linked to a graphics program and updated automatically, I can deal with it. There's also no Export Picture command. Since an object can't be edited, there's no need for it.
Text Appeal is an add-on program that works with Express Publisher. It offers 9 basic tools plus 40 custom tools. The DOS version supplied only 5 tools. The drawing tools are easier to use in the new version. To draw a polygon, you enter the number of sides. New additions to the tool box are the Bezier (free-form) curve and the Star (3-100 points with varying depths).
The Object/Crop Image command works better than the same command in the DOS version. The cropped portion of the image can be retrieved. With the additional changes in the Box command, it's simple to alter the color of the border, the box interior, and its shadow. There's only one box tool, but it can be changed to a rounded or shadowed box. The manuals include easy-to-follow tutorials, and installing the program is a fairly simple process.
Unlike its predecessor, this version includes two types of text--column and free. Column text is contained in a text frame, and it can be linked to other used for headlines and titles. This type of text can't be linked. I was slightly confused when I first began using the different types of text, but it didn't take long to catch on.
The Pasteboard is new to the Windows version. It's the blank area beyond the edge of the page where objects can be stored but not printed. The function of the Express Publisher Pasteboard is similar to that of the one in Aldus PageMaker.
I'd hoped to see additional PageMaker-like options, including the page icons located at the bottom of the window that allow the user to move to any page in the document by clicking on the page's icon. Express Publisher for Windows makes a more or less feeble attempt at providing this option. I had to choose the Thumbnails Display option in the Page menu and click on an object on a page to move to that page.
Even with its limitations, I'm still an Express Publisher fan. After working with the DOS version and the Windows version, I have no plans to move up to the high-end packages with their prohibitive prices. Express Publisher is easy to use, and it's an old friend.