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Desktop Publishing & Word Processing Software: MS Word, InDesign & WordPerfect

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  • 0:07 Working with Text
  • 0:39 Word Processing
  • 3:08 Desktop Publishing
  • 5:24 PDF Documents
  • 6:25 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Paul Zandbergen

Paul has a PhD from the University of British Columbia and has taught Geographic Information Systems, statistics and computer programming for 15 years.

Word processing software is used to manipulate text and apply a basic design to your pages. More sophisticated design can be accomplished using desktop publishing software. Learn about the functionality of these two types of application software.

Working with Text

While multimedia files, such as digital imagery and video, have become increasingly popular in today's business world, the written word remains as important as ever. Just think about the nature of the documents being produced and circulated within an organization:

  • A marketing plan to promote a new product
  • A memo from senior management regarding corporate strategy
  • A new benefits policy developed by human resources

Most of these documents are produced using word processing and desktop publishing software.

Word Processing

Word processing software is used to manipulate a text document, such as a resume or report. You typically enter text by typing, and the software provides tools for copying, deleting and various types of formatting.

Some of the functions of word processing software include:

  • Creating, editing, saving and printing documents
  • Copying, pasting, moving and deleting text within a document
  • Formatting text, such as font type, bold, underlined and italicized
  • Creating and editing tables
  • Inserting elements from other software, such as illustrations and photographs
  • Correcting spelling and grammar

There are a number of different word processing applications. One of the most widely used ones is Word, which is part of Microsoft Office. Another widely used one is WordPerfect by the Corel Corporation. A third one is Writer, which is part of OpenOffice by Apache. While the first two are commercial software, OpenOffice is open source and can be downloaded and used free of charge. Finally, there is Pages, which is part of iWork by Apple.

Word processing software helps you create and edit documents.
Word Processing Screen Shot

While there are many small differences between the various word processing applications, they accomplish pretty much the same thing. Which one you use is partly a matter of personal preference. It is also important to consider which software is being used by the people you normally collaborate with. In many cases, people within the same organization will use the same software to make it easier to share documents and to work on the same document together.

Word processing applications typically include utilities to convert between the native formats of each application. For example, if you are using iWork by Apple, you can export it to a format that Microsoft Word can read if that is what your colleagues are using.

Word processing includes a number of tools to format your pages. For example, you can organize your text into columns, add page numbers, insert illustrations, etc. However, word processing does not give you complete control over the look and feel of your document. When design becomes important, you can use desktop publishing software to make your document look really good.

Desktop Publishing

Desktop publishing software, or DTP, is used to create page layouts of documents. You can combine text and illustrations in a way that is not possible or very difficult to do in word processing software. DTP is used when the visual impact of your documents is very important. For example, consider a product catalog. The text describing each product is important, but just as important is the quality of images and how the text and illustrations are organized on a page.

Typical DTP software is a little more difficult to use than regular word processing software. This is partly because there are so many different options to consider. In addition, there are lots of design considerations when creating page layouts. DTP is one of the tools used by graphic designers. A graphic designer is a professional who creates documents using a combination of typography, images and other graphics. Documents can be created for print or electronic media.

While word processing and desktop publishing both use text and images to create documents, there are some key differences:

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