Newsletters -- what's the best tool for creating them?

Subject: Newsletters -- what's the best tool for creating them?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2005 13:15:17 -0400

Beth Brooks wondered: <<This week I'm being asked to create a newsletter template that will be easy to use and maintain in an environment that runs strongly to the non-technical (e.g., nobody knows how to use MS Word styles). I've been told I can recommend a tool for purchase so long as it is not TOO expensive, can accept content from MS Office products, and doesn't have a hefty learning curve. The newsletters will have 8.5 x 11 pages and may be distributed on paper or in PDF format.>>

If everyone is already using Word (as you note) and your needs are relatively simple, there's no particular reason to switch to another program: all you need to do is make things easier for your authors so as to improve consistency, then have someone edit the final submissions for stylistic consistency in addition to all the readability edits. Some useful suggestions on making template use easier can be found at:

If you need to produce reliable color for printed newsletters, then you'll need a real desktop publishing (DTP) program (e.g., InDesign, PageMaker, Frame, etc.). Even simple programs such as MS Publisher and Print Shop (is that the right program?) work fine for simple newsletters. Last I checked, Word still doesn't understand CMYK color or screen frequencies for halftones (photos), but I admit to not having used XP or 2003 yet. Real DTP programs also offer better control of output, including PDF, and better typography. You can beat Word's typography into submission, but it takes much more work than with real DTP software, and nothing beats InDesign for elegant typography.

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
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Newsletters -- what's the best tool for creating them?: From: Beth Brooks

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