BeLight Print­works

Do we need an­other low-cost DTP app? It cer­tainly ap­pears so

Mac Format - - CONTENTS - Packed with pow­er­ful fea­tures In­tu­itive, smart user in­ter­face Un­be­liev­able value for money Lacks fea­tures in some ar­eas

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.

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