PageMaker vs. Quark Express?

Subject: PageMaker vs. Quark Express?
From: "Geoff Hart (by way of \"Eric J. Ray\" <ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com>)" <ght -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Sat, 13 Feb 1999 04:56:25 -0700

Shari Scott wondered <<For those of you who are teetering on the
Marketing Communications line as well as the Tech Writing, which do
you prefer- PageMaker or Quark? ... This is for 1-2 page brochures
with lots of graphics/screen shots.>>

Quark is a much more powerful program if you're willing to buy
all the expensive third-party extensions, but out of the box, it
doesn't do a lot that PageMaker can't do. Moreover, despite some
recent improvements, Quark still has a reputation for user-hostile
policies (including tech. support). Both programs are now more than
good enough for such jobs, so the nitpicky differences between the
two that you see in the five-page feature checklists in some
magazines really shouldn't help you decide (unless there's one
specific killer feature you need). In the end, your choice really
depends on two factors, not what _we_ prefer:

1. Which one do _you_ prefer? If you're going to be working with the
software for any length of time, you don't want something that's
constantly irritating you. Software is a lot like clothing: you want
it to fit so well that you no longer know it's there. Problem is,
what chafes you may be my favorite feature. <grin... now we see
the danger of using metaphors in technical writing... let's try that
again:> I mean you should pick software that works the way you do,
and working styles are a very personal and variable thing.

2. If you'll be working a lot with a service bureau for typesetting
and generating color proofs, you may want to pick software they're
intimately familiar with, just in case problems arise. Most good
service bureaus are competent with both packages, but their expertise
with the two packages may vary enough to help make your choice for
you. If they've got a PM wizard, you might want to go with PM; if
they've got a Quark wizard, you might prefer Quark.

If you've got a few extra bucks in your budget and time to learn the
new software, buy both. Quark has no competitive upgrade policy, but
if you buy Quark first you can buy PageMaker for next to nothing
through Adobe's competitive upgrade program. Most graphistes I've
worked with maintain at least two tools for accomplishing exactly the
same function... they find that on some days or for some jobs, they
prefer the second tool, even when most days they prefer the first
one. Flexibility! (Plus, it looks great on your resume.)
--Geoff Hart @8^{)} Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

"Patience comes to those who wait."--Anon.


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