Provides: Desktop Publishing
Format: Digital download
Developer: c:four, Ltd.
Minimum System Requirements: Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger or later, G4 800MHz processor or faster, 512MB RAM, 35MB free disk space
Processor Compatibility: Universal
Price: $49.99 (discount rates available)
Version Reviewed: 1.2
Desktop publishing is in many ways a growth field, as more and more job descriptions include it as part of the deal. We all want to do well on our tasks, but in this area, one thing may stand in your way. That thing, of course is trying to use your standard word processor—such as Pages—to complete the task. In this review, we are going to look at one of your alternatives: iStudio Publishing.
When you open this program, you immediately get the idea; it’s as if Pages and Photoshop decided to make a digital baby. Inheriting its easy to use interface from dad and a few advanced features from mom, this offering manages to mostly hit the mark in its current incarnation.
Controls are clearly labeled and easy to use. Much more importantly, iStudio gives you the ability to do things in multiple ways. You can use the visual menu in the panes that the program provides, use the menu at the top or use a combination mouse and keyboard shortcuts to get the job done. These options are good for systems with multiple users and people with unusual working patterns.
When you first open a document you get a wide latitude for shaping it. In addition to margin and orientation, you can choose from a wide variety of page formats: letter, standard, 4A, 5A, Tabloid, extended tabloid and #10, DL or Choukei 3 envelopes. You can also define custom sizes as well.
Working with individual elements is relatively simple. Creating, moving and resizing is easy enough to do with the mouse. Copy and deletion require extra steps, but only one each. To be honest, this will encompass most of your tasks since the same procedures work for images, text and shapes. If you have portions of your project pre-made, have no worries; you can import from a wide variety of files. In addition to most text documents and PDFs, the program can import a wide range of images files: .bmp, .gif, .icns, .ico, .jpg, .jpeg, .jpc, .jif, .jifi, .jfi, .jp2, .j2k, .pict, .pic, .pct, .png, .psd, .psb, .tif and .tiff. That makes it compatible with icon formats as well was with both Quickdraw and Adobe. That means users of the image editor GIMP should beware of saving in their native formats.
Speaking of image editors, you will still be needing one if you plan to resize any images. This program is not capable of resampling. It can only resize, and if you go too big you will lose precious DPI, which will make for a poor print quality in the finished product.
Exporting is also fairly versatile, as you can save to both PDF and Epub, which means you can create both documents for high quality print and ebooks.
iStudio is ideal for use in homes, community organizations and even small businesses, but it will not be of much use to larger companies and publishing houses for at least two reasons. One, it does not allow you any code based controls on an ePub document, which can be important if you want your book to be interactive, with sections linking to one another, or embedded media. Secondly, it has no built in support for printing to a glossy paper, which most people will not do often, if at all, but those needs would still be met in software meant for professionals.
But on the whole, this program includes a robust set of features and flexible capabilities for a fair price. Upgrades are frequent, as are the addition of new features. There’s also the iStudio Templates site where you can download preconfigured templates for your publications. Provided you bear in mind this is a desktop publishing tool meant to complement a graphics editor, you should be more than satisfied.