Serif PagePlus 11
- Great value, Easy for beginners to understand, Intuitive interface
- No InDesign or QuarkXPress support, Some awkward tools
PagePlus is an ideal desktop-publishing app for small business use. High-end pros may sniff at the use of wizards, but as a standalone desktop publishing app or PDF editor there's no better value for money.
Price$ None (AUD)
For most of its life, budget page-layout program Serif PagePlus offered competition to the equally cheap and cheerful Microsoft Publisher. But version 11.0 of this venerable program has loftier ambitions - it is clearly intended to compete in the same rarefied professional market dominated by expensive desktop publishing apps such as Adobe InDesign.
The good news is that despite these aims, PagePlus 11.0 remains true to its roots. It's still inexpensive and remarkably easy for beginners to understand. For those with no desktop-publishing experience, a wizard guides you through building respectable-looking documents from templates. The program's interface, further polished in version 11.0, is as intuitive as a desktop publishing app is going to get.
But improvements in PagePlus 11.0 will appeal more to designers and business people. PagePlus already offers pre-press quality PDF export - increasingly welcome as PDF becomes the currency of print publishing - and this version goes further. It can now edit PDFs directly, something no other DTP app can do - although InDesign users with Adobe CS can use Acrobat.
In practice, PagePlus moaned as if it was a recalcitrant teenager when we attempted to open some InDesign-created PDFs, complaining that it didn't understand all their components. But aside from automatic font conversion - we didn't have the fonts used in the PDFs - the results were stunning. Text and picture elements were correctly isolated and although text flow was often broken into smaller paragraphs, these remained easily editable.
Working with PDFs is near-seamless. You can drop a multipage PDF into a standard PagePlus document and if the page sizes don't match, existing ones can be automatically resized to match those of the PDF. You can then save the combined document as a PagePlus file, PDF or even as a bitmap image. But anyone thinking of dumping their copy of InDesign or QuarkXPress in celebration of this versatility should note that there is no way to export editable files to either.
Thanks to established features such as mail merge, PagePlus has built up a following in the business market. Another feature of version 11.0 - the ability to create interactive PDF forms that can be filled in and submitted online - will further that appeal. To quickly build a form you drag elements such as text fields and radio buttons from a toolbar onto the page. When completed, forms are usually submitted to bespoke web-based apps for processing. Sensibly understanding that few will have this ability, Serif offers a free online service that collects form data and forwards it to your email address.
There are still niggles with PagePlus, although these relate more to usability than features. For example, ruler guides stubbornly confound common standards: dragging a guide from a document's vertical ruler creates a horizontal rather than vertical guide. Equally awkward is an over-complicated Align tool which makes it harder to line up items than it should be. But if we're reduced to criticising these, it only highlights how good the package is.
Alongside support for native layered Photoshop files, PagePlus 11.0 offers workman-style image-editing features. By selecting an image in a document and clicking a toolbar icon, you can add adjustments, such as Levels or Curves, or add effects, including blur or dropshadow, directly to an image. Adjustments are applied in layers in a dialog box and be easily re-ordered or deleted. It beats a trip to an image-editing app.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- 2 Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- 3 LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- 4 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 5 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Drupal fixes critical access bypass vulnerability
- Hackers use old Stuxnet-related bug to carry out attacks
- Microsoft will cut services to standalone Office users so they’ll subscribe to Office 365
- Microsoft commits to a permament schedule for new Windows 10, Office updates
- OK Google, let's get personal
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTBusiness Analyst/Project ManagerQLD
- TPBI Report Developer - SSRS SSIS SSASNSW
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- TPTeam Leader Project And Quality AssuranceVIC
- CCSystems Engineer (Netapp/Windows)NSW
- CCCommercial ManagerVIC
- FTSales/Account Manager - Education SectorNSW
- CCProject AnalystVIC
- TPAgile Project Manager. Lean ProductivityNSW
- TPEnterprise ArchitectQLD
- CCPeoplesoft ConsultantNSW
- FTSystem Administrator App-VACT
- FTHealth Electronic Claiming Systems BA - Permanent - North Ryde areaNSW
- FTPMO CoordinatorSA
- FTSenior / Lead iOS DeveloperNSW
- CCNetworks Engineer - SecurityVIC
- FTUser Support AnalystNSW
- FTPERMANENT Business AnalystsVIC
- FTPMO LeadNSW
- CCCitrix SpecialistVIC
- TP.Net DeveloperVIC
- CCSolution DesignerVIC
- FTIT Service Desk Manager - Team LeaderNSW
- FTSenior C# DeveloperNSW
- FTChange ManagerNSW