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December 1996 Reviews This Month

12/96 Reviews SW: PageMaker 6.5

Treat Yourself to a Page Makeover

By James E. Powell

It's only been a year since Adobe released its last version of PageMaker. The latest release shows the company has been using its time wisely.

The new version isn't an interim patch but a complete change. The most striking addition is support for hi-fi colors, adding orange and green to traditional CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) for more accurate, vibrant color reproduction. The results can be amazing. PageMaker 6.5 supports six-color Pantone Hexachrome separations for a richer color spectrum.

Improved layering capabilities allow you to manage multiple versions of a document, such as regional editions, from within a single file. You might want to turn off a layer when editing to improve performance, then turn it on when printing. PageMaker assigns a color to each layer; choose an object on a layer and the normally black boxes that appear in the corners around the object are now the color assigned to the object's layer.

Version 6.5 offers automatic reformatting, reflowing text whenever you make changes like altering page orientation or choosing a master page with fewer columns. This is a feature I'd have expected long before this.

Thanks to its user-interface makeover, PageMaker looks more like siblings Photoshop and Illustrator. You can now directly import Illustrator images, and build tabbed, customized tool palettes.

There's a new Hyperlinks palette. You can create links within a PageMaker document or an Internet Web site by setting the anchor and destinations.

Two new plug-ins make it easier to import HTML content directly from a browser and export entire Web pages and individual text stories into HTML. PageMaker even provides a palette of 216 browser colors, selected because they won't dither when displayed on the Web.

HTML output was introduced in version 6.0, and Adobe says the final 6.5 version should use sophisticated tables in its HTML output to maintain visual accuracy, but it wasn't ready in my beta version. The program is quite smart: It will even make adjustments to your output for the best 640x480 screen viewing. As in version 6.0, you can export to Adobe .PDF format. PageMaker now supports Acrobat 3.0.

Other changes bring PageMaker more in line with standard Windows applications. For example, right-mouse-button zoom has replaced the context-sensitive help. There's significantly faster performance for Photoshop plugs-ins.

But Adobe shouldn't rest on its laurels just yet. Undo doesn't reverse all actions and is still limited to one level.

PageMaker can access the best and latest graphics technology. It supports hi-fi color and improved layering, and provides improved HTML and .PDF support. These features maintain PageMaker's position on our Recommended List

-- Info File --
PageMaker 6.5
$895; upgrade, $99
Pros: High-powered tools
Cons: Limited Undo
Win95, NT
Adobe Systems
800-422-3623, 206-622-5500
WinMag Box Score 4.5

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