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 newsletter!
The Note 9 is three devices in one.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei FreeBuds review: Solid as a value-add, less so standalone
- 2 Oppo Find X review: Damn.
- 3 Dell G5 review: Easy to live with
- 4 HAVIT G1W True Wireless Earbuds review: Budget buds with a wireless edge
- 5 Huawei Nova 3e: P20 in a pinch
Latest News Articles
- Access thousands of movies for free thanks to Telstra TV Kanopy App
- RMIT Online and AWS offering course in VR and AR
- Apple set release date for iOS 12, watchOS 5, tvOS 12, and macOS Mojave
- Telstra announces refreshed fixed-broadband plans
- Parallels Desktop 14 arrives
PCW Evaluation Team
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Oppo Find X: Full, in-depth review
- Panasonic FZ1000U OLED TV: Full, in-depth, review
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?