Desktop publishing (DTP)

DTP software allows you to use your computer (sitting on your desktop) as if it were a publishing house.  You can write and edit documents, and print them.  The trouble is that most people don’t know how to use them.  There’s far more to it than using a typewriter, it’s more complex, and has more features (most of which people aren’t aware of, nor what they’re for).  But with DTP software, you can generally do a much better job, and use the proper typography.

This set of short guides is aimed in that direction (doing a good job of making documents).  With that in mind, it covers the following topics:

Once you’re aware of how to properly construct documents (learning what to do with your tools), you’re in a much better position to understand what you might be doing with your software (how you use your tools, and why you use them in the way that you do).

Bear in mind that DTP software is designed for you to print something, and give away the printed material.  It’s rarely suitable to give away the DTP files, as they’re typically reliant on the configuration of your own personal computer.  If you want to exchange fancy document files with people, you’re better off using a format more suited to that sort of thing; like HTML on the world wide web, PDF (Portable Document Format) for more general purpose situations (it’s prime focus is to make documents printable on different systems in a consistent manner), or RTF (Rich Text Format) documents for when you want to exchange electronic documents between different computer systems, and need something a bit better than just plain text.

And, of course, learning to touch type is of great benefit.

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