The Print Shop For Apple,
System requirements: Apple II-series
computer (or Apple III in emulation mode) with at least 48K RAM, a disk
drive, DOS 3.3, and a printer, Atari computer with at least 48K RAM, a
disk drive, and a printer, Commodore 64 with a disk drive and a printer.
Home computer software can be divided into two broad categories. One
includes educational and entertainment software, generally featuring
attention-grabbing graphics and animation. On the other side is home
management and productivity software, like home accounting packages and
word processors. The Print Shop,
from Brøderbund, spans-the two categories and can significantly
the usefulness of a home computer. Never before has a program this
practical been so much fun to use.
The Print Shop
turns your computer into a small
printing press. It allows you to design and print your own signs,
banners, greeting cards, and letterheads. It has a large selection of
predrawn pictures and designs, a variety of border styles, and eight
type fonts-all of which can be combined in various ways for different
effects. Additional features include a graphics editor to let you
create your own artwork, and kaleidoscope images which can be frozen,
saved, and incorporated into other designs. You can load
high-resolution pictures created with other graphics programs and print
them out, and you can even save designs created with The Print Shop for
use in your own programs.
The first page of the user's manual suggests that you don't need to
read the manual to start using The
Print Shop, and it's not an
exaggerated claim. The program's menus and prompts give all the help
you need. But before you can start printing you have to run a setup
procedure, and for this we found the manual useful.
Although it is short (only 25 pages) the manual is
well-organized, clearly written, and easy to use. The "Getting Started"
section guides you through the setup procedure step by step. Like the
rest of the program, this procedure is made as painless as possible. By
moving the cursor over a series of choices and pressing RETURN when the
correct one is highlighted, you tell the program what kind of printer
and interface you are using, the slot number of the printer interface
(for Apple II+ and IIe computers), and the number of disk drives you
have. With that information, the program configures itself, and a test
procedure lets you know immediately whether the setup is correct.
All of The Print
Shop functions are explained in the
same clear manner. The "Greeting Card" section serves as a tutorial as
well. Most people will probably want to abandon the manual at this
point and just start playing with the program. However, the last few
pages give some creative ideas for using the program, printer tips, and
some sample designs.
Even if you have no previous computer experience,
you can probably sit down with The
Print Shop and soon be creating your
own signs, banners, and cards.
The program is pretty thoroughly error-proof. It
ignores incorrect responses or keypresses, and there is little else you
can do that the program can't handle. During our review, the combined
efforts of a six-year-old and an eight-year-old, working on their own,
could not crash The Print Shop.
At the worst, we pressed the RESET
button (on the Apple), which caused the program to reload and erase the
project we were working on at the time.
What makes this program so much fun is its amazing variety of design
possibilities. You can endlessly combine pictures, text, background
designs, and decorative borders. Some predesigned greeting cards are
included, but designing our own cards and personalizing them is more
satisfying. The flexibility of The
Print Shop gives your imagination a
great deal to work with.
Greeting cards are printed on an 8½ X 11-inch
sheet, with the inside printed upside down in the upper-left corner and
the front panel printed in the lowerright corner (Figure 1). You can
use different graphics, borders, and type fonts for each part. You can
even print a small credit line on the back flap, right where greeting
card companies place their logos.
Signs are printed on the full 8½ X 11-inch
and include the same range of possibilities as the greeting card
(Figure 2). A picture can be printed in three different sizes, placed
in almost any position you wish. The graphics can also become a
background design with superimposed text. In this case, enough of the
background is blanked out to allow the text to stand out clearly.
` Banners are printed sideways and can include only
pictures and text. The height of the banner is the 8½-inch width
the paper. Text and pictures are both printed very large. A happy
birthday banner with the birthday cake picture on either end is more
than six feet long.
Stationery letterheads can include both pictures and
text, positioned at either the top or bottom of the page (or both). To
make a set of stationery for your word processor, you can design your
form and print about 50 copies. Then insert the sheets when you're
ready to print your letters, and adjust the page margins to avoid
overprinting the letterhead.
It seems like nitpicking to mention the flaws of a program that works
so well and does so much; fortunately, the problems are minor, and
mostly related to hardware limitations. The most noteworthy limitation
is due to its complicated graphics-The
Print Shop works only with
certain printers and interfaces. Be sure to check the compatibility of
your own system before buying the program.
Another hardware-imposed limitation is the inability
to print in more than one color at a time. However, you can brighten
things up by using colored paper (a small supply is included) and
different-colored printer ribbons. The manual tells how to get
multiple-color designs by exchanging ribbons.
There are a few other drawbacks as well. Although
you can save a picture, you cannot save a complete card or sign. You
can put multiple copies of the same picture on a sign, or repeat a
pattern over the entire page, but you cannot include more than one
picture on the same page.
Printing speed is a somewhat more serious
limitation. If you need many copies of a sign, your best option is to
create the design with The Print Shop,
print one copy, and take it to a
photocopier. Otherwise, a complicated card or sign can take several
minutes each to print. One long banner took nearly half an hour.
The Print Shop
package includes one copy-protected
master disk which lets you make one backup copy. In addition, the
program is covered by Brøderbund's replacement policy. If the
should fail within 90 days of purchase, it will be replaced free,
unless the failure was due to physical damage (like spilled coffee).
After 90 days, or if the disk is damaged, Brøderbund will
for a fee of $5.00 plus $2.50 postage and handling.
The Print Shop
can be a valuable part of a home
computer software library. Consider how many greeting cards you buy in
a year-the money. you save on cards alone could more than pay for the
Brøderbund Software, Inc.
17 Paul Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903
$44.95 Atari & Commodore