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Old 03-12-2006, 12:41 PM   #1
Marilynx
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Default Lay Out Programs

Finally tracked you folks down from the Old Country, as it were.

I'm not a DTP person generally, but I could make WordStar (yes, I actually go back to CP/M days!) sit up and beg, and I was pretty good at getting Word 6 to act like a DTP layout program. Word XP is another story. (Horror, I think.)

I had asked, back in the Old Country, about layout programs for two specialized reference books that will probably be self-published. Unfortunately, all my information on this has gone the way of the Dodo in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. My computer may be intact, having escaped with us at 2:30 in the morning the morning the storm hit, but I think my brain was either blown away or drowned, because I cannot, for the life of me, find the recommendations.

To recap, I'm going to be doing a reference book, something on the order of the Dummies books, for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. It will have a number of tables in it, most of which have already been assembled in Word XP before I discovered what a cumbersome bear it was. It will also have a cartoon at the start of each chapter.

I'm also endeavoring to turn my collection of 200+ recipes that I've created for the SCD into a cook book. We won't discuss how many times I've sworn at Word XP for its inability to do something I could have done in either Word 6 or WordStar.

I doubt I'll make any money off this project; it's primarily to help people with Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, and other IBD/IBS issues. So cost of software is an issue for me.

Another issue is that I'm still operating under WinMe because, thanks to Katrina, I don't have the money for the computer upgrade I planned.

In any case, any assistance will be deeply appreciated. I really wanted to have this out over a year ago, but family illnesses and Katrina got in the way.

   
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Old 03-12-2006, 02:12 PM   #2
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Marilyn:

This URL gives a good guide to producing books in Word:
http://www.aaronshep.com/publishing/...fectPages.html.

But you'll probably be advised to make things a bit easier for yourself by using a layout program, in which case I suggest you look at Serif's PagePlus 11. It'll import all your Word material, and it's cheap.

   
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Old 03-12-2006, 02:40 PM   #3
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Michael,

Thanks for the information. I looked over the book on Word which you suggested, and I think I'm reasonably familiar with what it has to offer. My irritation with Word XP is that the styles don't hold from file to file, and XP creates additional styles with similar names for every file I create.

Tell me more about Serif's Page Plus 11.

Cheap is good.

   
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Old 03-12-2006, 03:31 PM   #4
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Marilyn:

Tell me more about Serif's Page Plus 11. Cheap is good.

Well: the price is $130, & the shipping charge is $4. You might think you won't get much for $134, but the program does seem to offer most things that you'd expect of a reasonable modern layout program. It doesn't do the gee-whiz stuff that InDesign can do with fully-featured OpenType fonts (from Adobe, for instance), but it does use Unicode (as does Word!).

I'm not a practised user of programs such as PagePlus, but a compratriot of mine is, and as he's from Yorkshire, you can tell he gets his money's worth.

I think the difficulties you may be having with Word 10's (XP's) styles that you didn't get before are its habit of creating new 'styles' from existing styles; I have the same trouble with Word 11 (2003), and I didn't have them before with Word 9 (2000). When you modify the style of one paragraph, which you intend to be a one-off, Word now makes it, say, 'Body text + no space after', which Word treats as a new style, instead of just regarding it as a normal override. It's difficult to get rid of! One way is to select 'All styles' for your drop-down list and then change that pesky 'Body text + no space after' back to 'Body style'.

   
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Old 03-12-2006, 04:53 PM   #5
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Michael,

What drives me nuts about the Word styles is that it adds "char" to the name of the style. So say I have "RecipeIngredients," this will become "RecipeIngredients" and "RecipeIngredients Char" and then "RI char char" and then "RI char char char". Until I may have a dozen versions of "RecipeIngredients" with varying numbers of "char char after them."

Irritating.

I'm going to have to look at the Page Plus carefully. The problem is -- no, $134 isn't bad, but we had $20,000 in damages to just the roof of our house during Katrina, which we hope the insurance is going to pay. And we've had to buy new vehicles because the 1987 LTD's swan song was apparently carrying us to safety six hours before the storm -- it's been breaking down at least once a week ever since then. (At that, we count ourselves lucky to have been in the 20% of the city that didn't flood.) That $134 is a week's pay for me at the book shop.

And, I have to look at something new for a graphics editor. My old one is Photofinish, but it was intended for Win95 and tends to blow up under WinMe. I have Photoshop Elements, but haven't figured out how to do blue-print like things with it.

   
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Old 03-13-2006, 05:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marilynx
I had asked, back in the Old Country, about layout programs for two specialized reference books that will probably be self-published. … To recap, I'm going to be doing a reference book, something on the order of the Dummies books, for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. It will have a number of tables in it, most of which have already been assembled in Word XP before I discovered what a cumbersome bear it was. It will also have a cartoon at the start of each chapter.

I'm also endeavoring to turn my collection of 200+ recipes that I've created for the SCD into a cook book. We won't discuss how many times I've sworn at Word XP for its inability to do something I could have done in either Word 6 or WordStar.
Very glad you found us again, and that you had no worse harm from Katrina.

I have an off-the-wall suggestion for your books (assuming you are comfortable with web site construction with Cascading Style Sheets, or are willing to learn it): Create the book with CSS. You can read about how this can be done at O’Reilly’s XML.com and (perhaps more clearly) in the “Printing a Book with CSS: Boom” article at AListApart.

The best part of it from your point of view is that you can create the pages with any text editor, and there are good online tutorials and references for learning/troubleshooting HTML and CSS. (And lots of support right here.)

Other than that I was thinking that you could find a used copy of Ventura Publisher, but I googled and googled and found only a DOS/Gem version (on 5" floppy disks, yet!) at eBay.

   
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Old 03-13-2006, 07:52 AM   #7
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Marilyn:

'So say I have "RecipeIngredients," '

I don't have many 'character' styles, but it sounds like the problem I have found with Word 11; no doubt it's a 'feature', not a bug.

If you have to be really careful with the cash, there is RagTime, which is free to non-commercial users. I haven't used it, but I think it's fully featured. A trial will cost you nothing! I know nothing about graphic editors, but several older ones are given away as magazine extras; you can't get the latest versions that way, but that's not necessarily a handicap.

   
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Old 03-13-2006, 10:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marilynx
Tell me more about Serif's Page Plus 11.
Start by having a look futher down this forum for a thread entitled Serif Announce PagePlus 11. Also, visit http://www.serif.com and more specifically http://www.serif.com/PagePlus/PagePlus11/index.asp and look at the information there. It's worth looking at the Serif User Forums too, located at http://www.serif.com/forum/default.asp. User-driven support which does get checked out by the company and its programmers and QA staff.

The pricing policy is not "set in stone". As a long-term user, one gets a better price. You might be able to sweet-talk the operator i;nto giving you a rather better price, try for $80. If you are able to get a revies of the program published in a nationally circulated magazine or newspaper you might even get a free review copy.

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Old 03-13-2006, 06:33 PM   #9
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Kathleen,

Web design? Cascading Style Sheets? <wry grin> I know the terms but have NO idea how to even begin to contruct something.

It's an intriguing idea. I have threatened to learn web design, but I wasn't exactly planning on it right now. Learning curves are bad enough. A learning curve when the brain is suffering from post-Katrina syndrome (entire city has it... it's weird... everyone's short term and associative memory seems to have gone out there, thataway....) would be... interesting, to say the least.

I thought about an older copy of Pagemaker, even (I remember Ventura Publisher... too bad the GEM interface didn't take off! Believe it or not, I have a machine which still (in theory) works, and has a 5.25" drive!), but I warped my Google and didn't narrow it enough, and said, "Heck with it for tonight."

   
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Old 03-14-2006, 05:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marilynx
Web design? Cascading Style Sheets? <wry grin> I know the terms but have NO idea how to even begin to contruct something.
Ah, well — I knew it was a long shot. Not exactly commonplace for anyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marilynx
Learning curves are bad enough. A learning curve when the brain is suffering from post-Katrina syndrome (entire city has it... it's weird... everyone's short term and associative memory seems to have gone out there, thataway....) would be... interesting, to say the least.
I can only try to imagine what it must be like there. But I can well believe that short-term memory problems would be the result.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marilyn
I thought about an older copy of Pagemaker …
I should have thought about that. I suspect there are more of those around. And we have lots of PageMaker weenies around here, including me, so you’d have plenty of support. It is still capable software, though falling behind fast now, in terms of OpenType particularly. But you can do fine with Type 1 fonts, and you can make PDFs from PageMaker so you can have your books output and printed.

I would try to find PageMaker 6 or even better, 6.5. PM 7 would of course be preferable, but I believe Adobe is still offering 7 so it will not be cheap.

The suggestion that you try Ragtime seemed sensible, btw. I haven’t looked at it in a long time, but I remember it as offering the basics. It is not too common, but it’s not as if you are looking for a career in DTP.

   
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