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Tracing the History of the Computer - PageMaker Desktop Publishing Software


PageMaker was the first desktop publishing program, introduced in 1985 by Aldus Corporation, initially for the Apple Macintosh but soon after also for the PC. It relies on Adobe Systems' PostScript page description language. In 1994 Aldus and PageMaker were acquired by Adobe Systems. PageMaker was awarded a SPA Excellence in Software Award for Best New Use of a Computer in 1986.

Many of the graphical user interface (GUI) elements pioneered in the program have since migrated to the rest of the Adobe suite. Adobe has positioned PageMaker to compete more for the small business market, with Adobe InDesign aimed at the high end, professional designer. PageMaker's feature set is well suited for publications such as corporate newsletters and the straight-news sections of newspapers, but for layouts that need a more complex design, such as magazines or the feature sections of newspapers, it may take much longer to accomplish the task in PageMaker than it would in InDesign or QuarkXPress, if the desired results are possible at all.

While PageMaker is less powerful than InDesign or QuarkXPress, it is simpler to learn than those two packages and yet more powerful than Microsoft Publisher. It is not uncommon for schools that teach page layout to first teach their students PageMaker to get them comfortable with the concepts of desktop publishing, then move them on to QuarkXPress or InDesign.

PageMaker continues to be sold, but Adobe has ceased development of the program. InDesign is seen as the successor product. Even if PageMaker continues to be sold indefinitely, its use will inevitably diminish over time.

The Macintosh version only runs in Mac OS 9; there is no native support for Mac OS X, nor is there support for Intel-based Macintoshes. It does not run well under Classic, and Adobe recommends customers use an older Macintosh capable of booting into Mac OS 9.

On the Windows platform, PageMaker retains some legacy 16-bit code so does not have full compatibility with the Windows Vista operating system.


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