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Desktop publishing (DTP) is the creation of documents using page layout software on a personal (“desktop”) computer. It was first used almost exclusively for print publications, but now it also assists in the creation of various forms of online content. Desktop publishing software can generate layouts and produce typographic-quality text and images comparable to traditional typography and printing. Desktop publishing is also the main reference for digital typography. This technology allows individuals, businesses, and other organizations to self-publish a wide variety of content, from menus to magazines to books, without the expense of commercial printing.

Desktop publishing often requires the use of a personal computer and WYSIWYG page layout software to create documents for either large-scale publishing or small-scale local multifunction peripheral output and distribution – although a non-WYSIWYG system such as LaTeX could also be used for the creation of highly structured and technically demanding documents as well. Desktop publishing methods provide more control over design, layout, and typography than word processing. However, word processing software has evolved to include most, if not all, capabilities previously available only with professional printing or desktop publishing.

The same DTP skills and software used for common paper and book publishing are sometimes used to create graphics for point of sale displays, presentations, infographics, brochures, business cards, promotional items, trade show exhibits, retail package designs and outdoor signs. Although what is classified as “DTP software” is usually limited to print and PDF publications, DTP isn’t limited to print. The content produced by desktop publishers may also be exported and used for electronic media. The job descriptions that include “DTP,” such as DTP artist, often require skills using software for producing e-books, web content, and web pages, which may involve web design or user interface design for any graphical user interface.

The following is a list of major desktop publishing software. A wide range of related software tools exist in this field, including many plug-ins and tools related to the applications listed below.

Several software directories provide more comprehensive listings of desktop publishing software, including VersionTracker and Tucows.

Desktop Publishing Software for Windows:

  • XEditpro Automated Publishing Tool – DiacriTech, 1997
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe PageMaker, discontinued in 2004
  • Affinity Publisher
  • CatBase
  • Calamus
  • Corel Draw
  • Corel Ventura, previously Ventura Publisher, originally developed by Xerox, now owned by Corel
  • FrameMaker, now owned by Adobe
  • InPage – DTP which works with English + Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Pashto etc.
  • MadCap Flare
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • PageStream, formerly known as Publishing Partner
  • Prince XML, by YesLogic
  • QuarkXPress
  • Ready, Set, Go! (software)
  • Scenari, open source single-source publishing tool with support for chain publication
  • Scribus, open source tool
  • Xara Designer Pro X
  • Xara Page & Layout Designer

Online Desktop Publishing Software:

  • Canva
  • Fatpaint
  • Lucidpress – Desktop publishing and page layout software that is web-based and collaborative.
  • piktochart
  • Infogram


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Desktop publishing Desktop publishing (DTP) is the creation of documents using page layout software on a personal (“desktop”) computer. It was first used almost exclusively for print publications, but now it also assists in the creation of various forms of online content. Desktop publishing software can generate layouts and produce typographic-quality text and images comparable to traditional...
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