Back in the day, long before Apple decided the Mac should have color displays, I sold and setup Macs in small town newspapers. Instead of using expensive typesetting equipment, Macs and a LaserWriter print could be deployed throughout a newspaper and were adept at handling everything from writing to advertisement design to newspaper page layouts.
The de facto standard for page layouts in the last century was Aldus PageMaker which cost hundreds of dollars, but set the stage for the desktop publishing revolution which reached its peak about the time the public internet became, well, public.
PageMaker is no more, of course, having been subsumed by Adobe which buried the venerable page layout app, and replaced it with the complex, user unfriendly, and highly expensive InDesign. However, desktop publishing and page layout on the Mac is not dead. In fact, it’s feature rich and inexpensive, and alive and well in Swift Publisher.
Thanks to the world wide web and a few hundred million websites, desktop publishing just isn’t what it used to be, but Swift Publisher brings professional level page layout tools in a decidedly uncomplicated and inexpensive package. If you’ve ever used a page layout app for desktop publishing, Swift Publisher is instantly familiar, and the latest version is the best yet, packed with more usable features.
What you expect in a modern page layout app is there. It comes with more than 200 page design templates for letterheads, brochures, newsletters, flyers, greeting cards, and more. Basic page layout tools let you drop in images, float text around graphic elements, adjust fonts until the cows come home (comes with additional fonts; and thousands of clipart images are available).
Swift Publisher integrates with iPhoto and Aperture so photos can be dropped into a layout with ease. Using OS X’s built-in Core Image filters, the app itself gives you options to enhance photos and graphic elements on the fly.
To be honest about it, Swift Publisher really puts Adobe’s last versions of PageMaker to shame with more tools, more options, and a substantially lower price tag. Considering all the tools and functionality, the user interface is surprisingly svelte, almost elegant. Instead of an endless stream of floating palettes, Swift Publisher keeps tools attached to the document for easier implementation.
The latest version comes with dozens of pre-designed templates for a variety of printing and publishing needs, 1,000 new clipart images, a cleverly designed circle text tool, more export options, and a first– dynamic text fields. Think mail merge for brochures. This one even does industry standard barcodes.
The toolbar features only the basics to edit a document. The lefthand sidebar is where you go for images and shapes, and the right sidebar features granular settings for each tool.
Also to be fair, Adobe’s far more expensive InDesign has more capabilities. And a learning curve. And an ongoing monthly expense which makes Swift Publisher a bargain; more akin to an elegant page layout app that happens to have most of what you need. Lots of four and five star reviews for this app and they’re well deserved, especially considering the capability vs. the price. Can you say, ‘Value?’ You can get it from the Mac App Store, but try the trial version first.