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Desktop Publishing vs. Word Processing

Many times in the technology field there are subtle differences in similar software that can seem to overlap in form and function, however each piece of software is designed to server or solve specific problems and issues. For instance the differences between Desktop Publishing and Word Processing may seem very subtle but they solve different holes in the market place. The differences in the two categories of software lie within the function that each serve and what they are made to accomplish.

Word Processing (WP)

We are all familiar with typical word processors. Examples of common word processing software are Microsoft's Word, Word Perfect by Corel, and Open Office's Word Processing software. Word processors can be compared to the older word processing machines that existed before their software versions. They are made to help people, businesses, and student created word centric documents. These can be letters, invoices, labels etc.

The word processor main function is to provide a platform that makes document creation and authoring as simple as typing out the content into the software. The application provide what you see is what you get (WSYWIG) screen feedback this allows formatting, white-space, and editing much easier for the user. This is much appreciated when the documents get longer in word count. Word processors simplify and help visualize heavy word count materials and documents.

Desktop Publishing (DTP)

In recent years word processors have engulfed the capabilities of desktop publishing software. This is one of the main reasons that the line between desktop publishing and word processing software has been blurred. One way to help make the differences more clear is to list some of the more common desktop publishing tools past and present. Some examples of DTP software are Adobe's PageMaker, Corel's CorelDraw, and Microsoft's Office Publisher. If you are familiar with these programs by themselves you can see that the focus of desktop publishing is more on the design and layout of documents rather than just word content. This is even more apparent if you have used any of the software. You have more flexibility and ability to add graphics, images, and shapes into specific parts of the document. Desktop publishing if focused more on creating pieces that a publisher might put together. For instance, many of us remember creating brochure like pieces in Microsoft's publisher. Often times this program was used for everything from seasonal calendars to poster like pieces that advertise where the baby shower is located or where the wedding reception is going to take place.

Although this genera of computer program is constantly becoming more similar to each other in terms of capability and function the original intentions were much different. The word processors tend to be more word content specific while desktop publishers often give more opportunity to have better control of layout and graphic possibilities. Often your choice in which type of software to use depends on if you are looking to compose a word heavy document for reading (word processor) or creating what could be considered more of a marketing piece with watermarks, background images, and lines that flow through a page (desktop publisher).

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