Do we need another low-cost DTP app? It certainly appears so
The best budget DTP app ever?
£31 Developer BeLight Software, belightsoft.com
OS OS X 10.8 or later Requires 64-bit processor In the world of lowend DTP, BeLight Software is king. Its sub-£20 Swift Publisher app impressed us when we reviewed it back in 2012. And in Printworks, BeLight has decided to build on Swift Publisher’s success.
This means Printworks shares all of Swift Publisher’s functionality, so you get the same powerful set of DTP features such as support for layers, master pages and grouped objects. The user interface is the same threepaned window too, with access to media tools (including 1,000 clipart images and a series of vector-based shapes) on the left, while the Inspector provides all the contextsensitive tools you need for designing your document.
Printworks goes beyond its cheaper sibling by offering more flexible design options, incorporating key features from its other specialised design apps to provide business cards, envelopes and even CD inlays and labels. It also comes with a more powerful – and built-in – Heading editor, which lets you style up text using fills, strokes and shadow effects to produce striking mastheads and other titles. And crucially, all of this added functionality is integrated into Printworks itself, so it provides access to everything within the one app.
More than 400 design templates are bundled, but the true test of any DTP tool is what you can do with a blank canvas. In this regard, Printworks scores points for its Insert There’s no grid option, but you can add guides manually, and Printworks snaps boxes automatically to the guidelines, so building pages from scratch is simple, intuitive and quick.
Adding elements is easy too, and the ability to group them together is a bonus since it allows you to build multi-layered elements such as boxes with headings, images and
You get the same powerful set of DTP features such as support for layers, master pages and grouped objects
Guides tool. This allows you to set up a page grid using rows and columns aligned to margins or the page. captions, and then to keep them linked. Sadly, there’s no library for storing these pre-designed elements. Also, the text style tools lack flexibility – no drop cap option, for instance. However, considering the price, it packs in a lot of highend DTP functionality.
Existing Swift Publisher users should give the trial version a run first – if you’re not after the extra design elements, there’s little to justify an upgrade. There’s a handy circular text tool, the built-in heading editor of course and you can generate barcodes, but none are standout reasons for moving on up. On the other hand, if you’re in the market for a low-cost DTP app that includes a lot of functionality, this is the go-to app. Nick Peers
It’s our budget DTP app of choice – you won’t get more for your money anywhere else at this price.
Printworks is capable of producing decentlooking documents, even without the aid of template.
Printworks supports a wide range of document types, including CD labels and inserts.