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Old 06-11-2009, 08:06 AM   #1
TooLoose_LeTrek
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Default What Software Do I Need?

As I stated in my intro, I am a music teacher looking to publish a few music books. I am having some issues with organizing (which might be beyond the scope of this group, though I bet there are some here with suggestions that would really help me), and what software do I need to realize my project.

My book has text, graphics, photos, and music. I need to somehow bring this all together.

Here is the appropriate software that I already have:

Text: MS Word 2000, Word Perfect (old version, not sure which), Atlantis Word Processing (rtf format.) I wrote most of my text in Atlantis. It's a shareware program I found online...very good for writers. Atlantis.


Graphics: CorelDraw X4
Photo and Image Editing: Paint Shop Pro
Music: Finale

I obviously need something to bring this all together. For now, I've been trying CorelDraw as I can create objects, paste them in, link them, etc. However, I'm thinking this is too limiting. It doesn't always work the way I want.

That's one problem. My other one is that I write on the fly. No, I don't pin down flies and write on them, but rather improvise as I go along. I work best that way. What I want to do is have the ability to write, paste it up to see how it looks, and then do some editing. I really need to SEE it as I work. So whatever I do, I will need the ability to edit. And that will mean I'll have to move all my elements around as I do so, like if I add more text, I'll need more room for it in my overall plan.

Any suggestions on the software and editing?

Thank you.
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:36 PM   #2
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Quote:
tooloose: My other one is that I write on the fly. No, I don't pin down flies and write on them
ROFL!!! I'm sooo disappointed...'-}}

As far as your writing goes, I think you can use whatever digital tool you find you like as long as you have the option to either copy/paste the text from the writing tool to either some sort of storage on your main system--intermediate storage--or directly to your layout software. Alternatively, the digital writing tool allows you to save the text as a file(s) in a format that could be opened/placed in the layout software you have chosen...

I think the trickiest bit is the music files--perhaps because I don't know anything about them. What sort of file format options do you have available?

I'm guessing that the music files are musical notation (correct term?) so what you want is a format that perhaps treats the file as an image file that can be placed in whatever layout software you eventually choose.

Take a look at the "Need opinions on software to use for a project" thread which may give you some ideas...


Welcome to the forum...'-}}

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Old 06-12-2009, 05:37 AM   #3
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Thanks for the response. After looking through that thread you linked, I may check out PageView. InDesign would be nice...but it's costly, too costly for my budget. PageView might be my solution.

What complicates my dilemma is that I have no idea 1) what I'm doing, and 2) where this will all go. I don't know if I'll be self-publishing the book, or if a publisher will pick it up, giving me greater distribution.

Perhaps all I need do now is create it. I just have this lingering horror that I will do something that pinches off other options later.

I wonder...is there a way of working with different types of files in a page layout that links to the original files? Let me try to explain. I'm thinking like how FrontPage works, with the raw files stored in folders separate from the front end design? I use Frontpage for my website, and a product like that would work well for me. Perhaps that is how desktop software works already and being unfamiliar with it, I just didn't know.

Thanks for helping me to realize what it is I really want. I may download a trial version of PageView and check it out.

I'm sorry...I didn't respond to your question about the music. Finale is well received by the music industry as many music schools require their students to learn it. And it's a bear of a program, with a very steep learning curve. However, after a few years, I am finally getting around. Yes, the files are of musical notation. The program will export them as TIFF files, with resolution up to 600 dpi.

It would be nice to have a page layout program that allows me to store complete pages in the original format rather than exporting the whole ball of wax into TIFF files. I still don't know how all that works.

Last edited by TooLoose_LeTrek; 06-12-2009 at 05:43 AM. Reason: Adding more information
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:21 AM   #4
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Page layout programs usually do not store raw text, but they all work with it. My clients usually send Word files, which is a bit problematic (I strip out all the Word junk to create a plain text file). Then I place (not cut and paste) the text in the layout program, and format it. Text is normally stored in the layout file.

So you could do that as well. Do your writing and editing in a text editor, save the file, place it in PageStream (not sure what PageView might be), and arrange it there.

As for the artwork — bits of music, say — those should also be prepared separately and placed in the layout as illustrations. These are usually linked to, not actually present in the file. If you use fonts to prepare the images you should still save each one as an EPS file (not TIFF) to preserve the arrangement of the characters and keep them sharp when printed rather than fuzzy.

For all I know, some of the music notation programs in my other message will do just that. Accented alphabetic characters are formed as composites but behave as fonts when used. Whether any would be more manageable than Finale is something you will probably have to test.

   
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Old 06-12-2009, 11:44 AM   #5
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tooloose: What complicates my dilemma is that I have no idea 1) what I'm doing, and 2) where this will all go.
We certainly can help with #1 as you get into whichever software you end up choosing so feel free to ask questions...'-}}


>>Perhaps all I need do now is create it. I just have this lingering horror that I will do something that pinches off other options later.

LOL!!! Ahhhh...paralysis by analysis...'-}}

I think that what you will find is that as you gain experience in working with a layout program, you will find things you never thought about initially and the software you've chosen may or may not solve whatever problems/oddities arise but there are always work arounds so...go for it...


>>I wonder...is there a way of working with different types of files in a page layout that links to the original files?

Yes--for images! I know InDesign will allow you to place the file so that they are linked in the document so that if you make a change to the "master" image file, InDesign will re-link the image updating the image in the document. I'm not sure about other layout software but my guess is that most of them would have this sort of option...


>>Thanks for helping me to realize what it is I really want. I may download a trial version of PageView and check it out.

You're welcome...


>>Yes, the files are of musical notation. The program will export them as TIFF files, with resolution up to 600 dpi.

Excellent...what you would more than likely do is to "place" the TIFF images in the layout document so that they are linked to your "master" image file...


>>It would be nice to have a page layout program that allows me to store complete pages in the original format rather than exporting the whole ball of wax into TIFF files. I still don't know how all that works.

Ok...generally, you've got two sorts of data:

1. Your text which you either type into the layout document yourself or as Kathleen has noted, you place into the layout document formatting it using the layout sofware's text tools--selecting font(s), create paragraphs, pages, etc.--and the text is contained within the document.

2. Your images which while displayable within the layout document, are, as Kathleen noted, are linked.

Most layout programs save the resulting document in a proprietary format--for example, InDesign's default type is .indd. I'm not sure about other layout software but InDesign will allow you to export the document to other formats--for example a PDF which is a document format that maintains the document's "look" across all sorts of different platforms/OS's and many printers (businesses not devices) can use a PDF document to print the book/article/whatever...

Hope that helps...

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Old 06-13-2009, 04:55 AM   #6
TooLoose_LeTrek
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I contacted PageStream and while they were fast in responding, I'm having problems getting the Demo up and running. There is a ReadMe that says if I have problems, contact them. However, that in itself is a bit unnerving. I don't want tempermental software when I'm working on a project! Also, as best I can tell, the "demo" only allows me to read a list of tips about the program rather than actually getting into it and trying it out. I may be wrong on that because I can't get the demo working properly. $150 is a lot of money to sink into a program without knowing for certain it is "the one."

Any users of this program here? Your reaction?
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Old 06-13-2009, 12:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TooLoose_LeTrek View Post
Any users of this program here? Your reaction?
I have played with the program, and do not find it easy to use. On the other hand, I have a traditional design/dtp background and am familiar with the way programs like PageMaker, QuarkXPress, and InDesign work — which is not the way PageStream does — so I have a lot of baggage to jettison before PageStream can seem easy for me to use.

In your case, you probably need to learn about page layout, which is more like an architectural design than word processing (even though it includes text editing functions).

Haven’t seen the demo; seems strange that it isn’t a (possibly crippled) version of the real software. You might ask about that. I do have a late 5.0 beta, which works, and might work better if I were more familiar with its nomenclature and working style.

Did you check out Serif PagePlus? Several members of the forum have used it, and I think it has a more conventional DTP approach than PageStream.

   
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Old 06-13-2009, 07:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ktinkel View Post
In your case, you probably need to learn about page layout, which is more like an architectural design than word processing (even though it includes text editing functions).
I am a bit ashamed to admit this, but I have had a little layout experience, designing business cards, flyers, etc. in both CorelDraw and MS Publisher, which I suspect is hardly a real desktop publishing program, but it did introduce me to some of the basic ideas of layouts, linked text, etc.

I realize this does not make me an expert (LOL) but I am not totally new to the basic concepts of a desktop publishing program. I'm just having trouble finding one that is both affordable and easy to use. My main goal is getting my books together, not becoming a master DTP editor. However, I sure would not mind being more adept as I am self-employed and have need of creating flyers, business cards, perhaps even a brochure, in addition to my teaching books. I also built a simple but effective website for my business, maintain it, update it, etc.

My first book is really going to be, well, I don't know the term you'd use, but mostly a scroll-type document with very little actual layout. I will insert music examples between text, insert some charts and diagrams, perhaps a few photos, but nothing like laying out a newspaper-type document. I also had a number of writing courses in college, and have been working on computers (applications) for close to twenty years.

My main goal is to find a layout program that is mostly user friendly and logical, that I won't be spending hours in the manual learning how to do simple tasks. My music program, Finale, is like that. The first year with it was very rough.

Perhaps I will look at Serif PagePlus. That was a program I have looked over. Unfortunately...no trial version.

Last edited by annc; 06-13-2009 at 09:28 PM. Reason: Fixed quote
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Old 06-14-2009, 08:47 AM   #9
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Someone else here found an older version of PagePlus for less than $30. After using (and liking it) he updated to the current version.

Maybe it was this site, which lists Serif PagePlus X2 12.0 as a download for $27.

   
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Old 06-14-2009, 08:56 AM   #10
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Thanks. I was looking online for reviews and comments on PagePlus X3, and found some rather harsh restrictions. Well, perhaps. I am not well informed with DTP and I thought I'd run this by better equipped minds to tell me if this will be a problem for me.


Quote:
A few key highlights: It does support mirrored pages, but it doesn't support different running headers for sections/chapters, nor does it support a different first page header for a section/chapter (even Word or WordPerfect can do those things). What's required is that you create a unique document/file for each chapter. If you want chapters to have a different first page layout/design (like most normal books), then you have to create two documents/files for each chapter. After that, you use a separate "BookPlus" utility (included with the software) to string all those documents/files together, then number the pages, build a table of contents, etc. It's a very awkward process if you're trying to create a tradtional text-based book with front matter, multiple chapters, and back matter.

The PDF export is standard X-1a with no apparent way to apply custom settings or profiles that may be recommended by a specific printer/press. All TrueType fonts are automatically subsetted, Type1 fonts are not supported, and it's unclear how OpenType fonts are converted/embedded (though the document I created with OpenType fonts seemed to have nice typography and no reflows). Colors are automatically converted to CMYK and preserved (desirable sometimes, but not always), and compatibility is set to 1.3 (resulting in a larger PDF file than necessary). If/how encapsulated PostScript is supported and handled is unclear. So all in all, several things that no one else would care about (but that really matter to self-publishers) are either not provided or involve more work than they should.
The whole discussion is here.


So...I would have to build my books in chapters rather than create it as a whole document and then link it all together with a utility...if I want different first page design for each chapter. The commenter notes that most books use this format of a different design front page with each chapter.


Clearly, creating a book with this software is possible, but are the issues these comments point out going to be a problem for me down the road?


Thanks.
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