Swift Publisher 1.3.1

It’s easy to be cynical about cheap page layout programs, but if you’re looking for a complete package at a great price then this is it. Swift Publisher has much in common with Apple’s own Pages: both are undeniably easy to use, can be mastered within an hour or so, and are packed with great features. Although Pages 2 pips Swift Publisher to the post when it comes to visual trickery like tables and 3D charts, there’s still much to praise about Swift Publisher.

You get started via the Assistant, which offers an inviting selection of layouts. Creating a multi-page document is straightforward, unlike in earlier versions, but more complex manoeuvres like linking text boxes requires practice. Mastering text runaround is finicky too. On the upside, there’s the capacity for creating basic style sheets. Draggable guides and an impressive zoom feature are useful, while layout items can be grouped and ungrouped with ease. Familiar DTP features like Alignment and Distribute options are basic but effective.

Key layout areas can be controlled by the Inspector palette, while the Color and Font palettes are incredibly simple to operate. These tool palettes are complemented by the Clip-Art window, which can be toggled on or off as needed. Alongside allowing access to a cracking collection of images and Smart Shapes, this excellent feature also offers instant access to your iPhoto Library.

Swift Publisher is lacking when it comes to outputting options like those found in QuarkXPress or InDesign. Short of printing straight from the application itself, the only other export options you’ll find are for PDF, TIFF or JPEG, but Swift Publisher isn’t aiming at that end of the market. Similarly, the program has a very basic level of preferences, allowing you to set things like Smart Guides, print resolution and measurement units and little else but it’s this that makes it all the more appealing to beginners.

OUR VERDICT

Swift Publisher is a joy to use; easy to learn and fast with it. The program is incredibly forgiving too, which is just what a novice DTP user needs. Rather than confuse with untold amounts of toolbars and palettes, Swift Publisher is reliable simplicity itself. Despite a few minor quirks, it easily gives Pages 2 a run for its money.

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