July 20, 2009 / Fall 1996

PageMaker 6.5

Written by George McBroom

Thinking of Upgrading?

A few years ago I read an article by a yearbook adviser who operated a trouble-free desktop publishing lab. He advocated the use of “tried and true” software and the virtue of keeping a staid computer lab. My staff, however, has always been adventuresome, and I am proud that we pioneered the use of digital images in yearbooks, produced one of the first multimedia CD yearbooks and have beta tested numerous products.

I do confess to some moments of anxiety and doubt, especially working late nights or holidays to get a basic LaserWriter to print an 18MB file, or trying to coax beta software into performing as promised. Fortunately for all yearbook advisers, the new Adobe PageMaker 6.5 is a performer and not a technology nightmare.

PageMaker 6.5 contains several features that will be of value to yearbook advisers and staffs. The ability to set document-wide layers is a true plus. Often my students have used three or more layers of type and/or graphics and have been forced to reset layers continually by moving them from front to back. Now layers can be locked or unlocked to preserve or adjust object locations.

Another terrific feature is automatic layout adjustment, which will eliminate reflowing of text or adjusting of graphics if page dimensions, margins or columns are changed. You can change from a four-column layout to a three-column, and PageMaker 6.5 will reposition the type and graphics for you. Text and graphics frames allow the positioning of design elements with or without content that are independent of free-floating elements. These frames will be particularly valuable for sidebars and grid layouts.

Some features first found in PageMaker 6.0 combine with enhancements to make a move from previous versions more attractive. The ability to use multiple master pages is especially useful in creating a portrait section. If the staff is using three layouts in the portrait section, they can create three master pages in the same file and use any of the three at will. The polygon tool introduced in 6.0 has been enhanced in 6.5 to allow for more unusual shapes and the editing of existing polygons.

New Adobe product versions share two outstanding characteristics: compatibility with other Adobe products and ease of use on the World Wide Web. PageMaker 6.5 follows those trends by directly importing Adobe Illustrator files, eliminating many problems that were caused previously by pesky EPS files. Users can drag and drop Photoshop and Illustrator files into PageMaker 6.5, as well as drag and drop PageMaker 6.5 files into the other applications. Adobe is also working to make menus and keyboard shortcuts universal in all of its software packages. As an extra bonus, many Photoshop plug-ins now work inside PageMaker 6.5.

Want to publish some of your yearbook pages on a home page or use some of your home page material in your yearbook? PageMaker 6.5 is HTML-friendly since a new export plug-in preserves hyperlinks and utilizes an improved user interface. A new place plug-in allows HTML files to be imported directly from the World Wide Web into PageMaker 6.5, retaining format and hyperlinks. TIFF, EPS, PICT and preview files are automatically converted to JPEG or GIF files when exported to HTML files.

My students and I have used PageMaker 6.0 since it was released and have found it to be nearly flawless. We look forward to obtaining and using 6.5. If you have an appropriate computer set-up, you might wish to consider PageMaker 6.5. It is a product that should serve your yearbook and expanded publication needs effectively as we enter the next millennium.

Some Recommendations
Minimum Requirements
The desire to upgrade to a new software package must be tempered with realism, such as RAM requirements.

For Macintosh users, Adobe indicates that 6MB are required for 68K machines and 9MB for a Power Macintosh. However, these requirements are for a minimum installation. Who wants to buy an exciting new product and not be able to use all of the exciting new features? Considering the RAM needed for your operating system, 16MB is minimum and 24MB is preferred. A minimum installation requires 26MB of hard disk while a complete installation will occupy 56MB.

Windows users will need Windows 95 to operate PageMaker 6.5 (6.0 will work with Windows 3.11). Minimum requirements include 8MB of RAM and 26MB of hard disk. Adobe recommends 24MB of RAM and 67MB of hard disk for Windows 95.

Power Macintosh
26MB Hard drive

26MB Hard Drive

George McBroom