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What to use to design PDFs?


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I've been asked by my kids' school to consider taking over the school newspaper next year. I would be responsible for designing the layout (among other things). But you know what? I have no idea how to design for print. I see some gorgeous looking PDFs out there, but I don't know how people make them.

 

I would have no idea how to do it unless I were to create it in Photoshop, but I don't think there's a way to convert a PSD to a text PDF is there?

 

I know about InDesign, but if there's a more affordable alternative, I'm all ears. :)

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Well just go to snapFiles, I like BullZip PDF Printer. Create a page in or Photoshop or HTML and then Print it.

 

Alternatively, it is not magic, you can create PDF's by hand using the language it is based on. I just do not recall the name at the moment, would have to look at home. We tested it once at work and his hand written version was a bit smaller than mine done with word and Cute PFD Writer. I always meant to learn to write them by hand... but never got around to it, always wondered if it would give me an edge in interviews.

 

There is a big name program for print/brochures etc., that is well respected and I think cheaper than InDesign... but the name eludes me at the moment.

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The professional solution for this is either InDesign or QuarkXpress, but both are more expensive. Illustrator can be used in a pinch, but it doesn't really have any built in tools for creating multipage documents. I know Photoshop can export PDF's, but I don't believe it allows the text to be editable. I think it just exports the file as one big image.

 

Publisher or OpenOffice may be cheaper alternatives... I don't know much about this particular program, but you may want to look at Serif PagePlus as well (http://www.serif.com/pageplus/pageplusx3/)

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Ben got it... it was QuarkExpress I was thinking of as for programs.

 

The language I was thinking of was TeX... actually MikTeX... buty seem it has moved into the realm of Tools as well. Here is the link to learn more. MikTeX.Org

MiKTeX (pronounced mick-tech) is an up-to-date implementation of TeX and related programs for Windows (all current variants).

 

TeX is a typesetting system written by Donald E. Knuth, who says that it is "intended for the creation of beautiful books - and especially for books that contain a lot of mathematics".

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At the college where I work I use Adobe Indesign, far better than Quark and is most likely what the "gorgeous looking PDFs" were designed in.

 

Photoshop can save as PDF and any text created using the type tools can appear as proper text in the PDF, you need to look at the PDF save options.

 

That said, any application that has print capabilities can output to PDF if you install a "PDF printer". There are some free ones out there.

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