Word Processors and Desktop Publishing (DTP)

Word Processors and Desktop Publishing (DTP)

Word processors and desktop publishing (DTP)

GCSE ICT - Microsoft wordAs the name would suggest, word processing packages are primarily designed to deal with words. They are good for producing letters, memos, reports, essays, stories or simple text posters. Word processors can be used to design quite sophisticated looking documents with a number of images alongside it. Word processors, however, struggle with a large number of graphics and its ability to shift, resize and manipulate images is quite limited. This is where desktop publishing comes into its own.

DTP packages range from the relatively simple (e.g. Microsoft Publisher) to the very sophisticated (e.g. Adobe InDesign). Magazine covers and indeed the whole magazine, especially those with lots of images, are likely to have been designed using a DTP package. They can also be used to design books, newsletters, leaflets, posters, flyers and business cards.

These packages are frame based, so that graphics can be easily moved and resized. Try doing this in Microsoft Word and you will see what havoc it causes!

The view of a page in a DTP package is known as WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). Common to word processing and DTP packages are the following features:

  • Line spacing – the ability to alter how much space there is between each line of text.
  • Text boxes – which frame the text.
  • Borders – which frame the entire page
  • A word count facility
  • The ability to insert and format tables with a changeable number of rows and columns, each of which can be merged or split
  • A spelling and grammar check. You can alter the language you choose to check your document in. The spelling check may not recognise specialist language, slang or new words. The grammar check will do its best to offer you suggestions; however, it may not always recognise the context. For example, if you are writing in direct speech the grammar check may not recognise this and will try to correct you.