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Serif PagePlus

PPX8PPX7PPX6PPX5PP SE 4.0Legacy FeaturesWish-listTutorialsSupportFeatures

For reviews of earlier versions see the WayBack Machine Web Archive

PagePlus Release History

PagePlus X8

Released 4th August 2014 • Most Recent Update (18.0.1.023) 15th September 2014

Baseline GridColours and Swatches  • Edit in External ProgramEPUB3High DPI  • Paragraph Tab

Placeable PDF ImportTable Format GalleryColumn RulesTWAIN/WIA ScanningConclusions

Pick colours from any pictureBaseline Grid

If the baseline grid is enabled in Options, any paragraph style that has “Snap to baseline grid” enabled will be moved down to fit the next baseline grid line. This feature automatically aligns the baselines of text on facing pages or in multiple columns, for a neater page layout. Individual text frames can have their own independent baseline grid for aligning of baselines in columns within text frames.

Colours and Swatches

The Colour Tab has been enhanced with a new mode to select colours from a picture. The Swatches Tab can be cleaned up or updated from the publication. leaving only those colours that have been used. The Colour Replacer can replace one colour with another.

Add Any Graphics Program as an External EditorEdit in External Program

Instead of Edit in PhotoPlus, the Image context toolbar now shows a drop list of programs that may be used to edit an image. PhotoPlus will be added by default if it is installed. Other programs can be added to the list, whether that is PhotoShop, IrfanView, or Corel PhotoPaint, etc.

EPUB3

The latest specification for electronic publications is better suited to fixed layout publications. Users can now choose between fixed and free-flowing formats.

Large Icons for High Resolution screensHigh DPI

PagePlus is now designed for use on High resolution displays. Icons sets in different sizes can be chosen in Tools, Options. As displays have more pixels, icons and menus become tiny when using older software. Changing the Windows DPI settings will now automatically use larger icons with more pixels.

Quickly change paragraph formattingParagraph Tab

The most frequently used paragraph formatting options are now available from a Tab on the right of the workspace. This adds nothing that cannot be done from the Format, paragraph dialogue. In general, it is better to use styles to apply formatting changes globally. However, when you do want to change a setting for the current paragraph or a few paragraphs only, this makes it a bit quicker.

Placeable PDF Import

This is one of those long awaited features requested by professional users. It is especially useful for those who are publishing newspapers and magazines for placing advertisements. PDF files can be placed exactly as they are provided without the problems of missing fonts, etc.

Column Rule With Internal Line-endingsColumn Rules

The text frame properties dialogue has an option to add column rules to the gutter to the right of the current column. Different line styles can be applied using the line tab after selecting the gutter — I have used a fancy line ending too with Internal Line Endings.

Text frames can also be set to “mirrored,” on Recto and Verso pages, and baseline grids can be enabled for text frames.

Table Format Gallery

The table format editor in previous versions has been updated with a more accessible method or editing, saving, and applying table formats.

TWAIN/WIA Scanning

A bit of code to form a bridge between the 64-bit version of PagePlus and 32-bit scanner drivers will enable more scanners to work with 64-bit PagePlus.

Conclusions

Pros

Cons

PagePlus X7

Released 16th June 2013 • Most Recent Update (build 17.3.0.28) 21st February 2014

A Significant Step Forward – Getting Started with PagePlus X6

Almost everything on my wish-list was added in the latest version, plus a few things that I didn’t think of. PPX6 users will find it well worth the upgrade price. The context-sensitive Smart Hints that provide help on newly used features can be turned off once they have been understood. The Learning Zone on the Startup Assistant provides video tutorials and links to detailed help and support for new users.

64-bit VersionBlend ModesChartsComplex FillsConvert to ObjectsExport as Picture

Flowing TablesImproved StudiosRestore Last SessionSerif GDI RenderingSmart Hints

Startup AssistantWorkspace EnhancementsRecommendations

64-bit Version – Getting Started with PagePlus X6

The 64-bit version supports more RAM, which may help when working with large or image-heavy publications. Some users may have problems with finding suitable drivers for scanners. Scan images in another application and insert them using the Insert Picture route. That way, images can be compressed properly, and then linked.

Blend Modes

Added to bring PagePlus into line with DrawPlus and improve PDF import. Creative professionals may find a use for it to save opening another application. Blend Modes are on the Colour Studio Tab.

3D Charts have many custom optionsCharts

Two new studio tabs — the Chart Tab and the Chart Data Tab — support this feature. It is now possible to insert the usual chart types into PagePlus, and link them to a table or to tabular data.

There is a good range of standard Chart types — Area, Bar, Column, Line, Pie, Scatter, 3D Column, etc., — and an almost unlimited range of options for formatting them. 3D charts have all of the controls of other 3D objects.

The Charts category of the Styles tab contains a range of standard chart styles, to which user-defined chart styles can be added.

The chart title, series titles, and labels all use the Chart Body paragraph text style, but user-defined styles can be applied to each text group. Elements within the chart can be resized, moved, and rotated. The illustrated chart has its title moved to the left, and the series text moved to the right. The entire chart object has a drop shadow applied from the Effects Tab.

About the PagePlus Versions Chart

Basic features score 1 point, significant improvements score 2 points, major features like Image Cutout Studio, or OpenType feature support score 5, and powerful features like Publish to PDF, PhotoLab, Print Imposition, a 64-bit version, or Charts score 10 points. See the Features Comparison for details.

The latest version gets a bonus of 50 points for full product support, while the previous version gets a bonus of 10 points for 3 months of full support. Users of earlier versions are not entitled to support from Serif, but they can get free help via the support forums. The free PagePlus Starter Edition is given a nominal price of £5 to avoid it being assigned infinite value for money in spite of its limited subset of features. PPX6 has been discounted to £20 now that PPX7 was released. PPX5 is not advertised.

Complex Fills

The swatches tab now contains plasma fills, radial fills, square, and three or four colour fills. Again, not something that is important to a page layout program, but creative professionals will appreciate not having to open another application to creative graphics to import into PagePlus.

Convert to Objects

Similar to “Convert to Curves,” but it preserves text in Serif metafiles or data pasted from DrawPlus via the Windows clipboard, allowing imported vector graphics to be fully editable in PagePlus.

Export as Picture

PagePlus now has the Export as Picture dialogue like DrawPlus, which generates a preview before exporting, and provides options for selecting Super Sampling, Compression, Colour-depth, etc., and shows the projected file size. On older PCs this extra step slows down the export of pictures if you already know the settings that you want to use. Using the “Super Sample” option will slow it down even more, but it does improve the image quality. In the screen shot below you can compare the image quality of fully compressed 32-bit transparent PNG against JPG at a high quality setting of 90%. Because this image is just text and a gradient fill, the PNG image is of a similar size, but sharper than the JPG image, where artefacts can be clearly seen at increased zoom levels.

PagePlus now offers the option to export to SVG — a vector format designed for the web.

Flowing Tables

Tables are no longer limited to a single page, but can be flowed down or to the right onto other pages, or on the same page. Rows or Columns can be selected to repeat in each section. Data from spreadsheets or word-processor tables that are longer than a single page can be cut and pasted into a PagePlus table that flows to more than one page.

Click to EnlargeImproved Studio Tabs

Studio tabs have been a valuable feature of PagePlus for several versions. Three new studio tabs have been added to this version — Charts, Chart Data, and Effects. The HowTo studio tab was removed, and the fx dialogue was replaced with the Effects Tab. The docking and management of Studio tabs has been revamped to increase the options for possible layouts, and to make them easier to use. Auto-hide now allows floating tabs to hide away after use with having to collapse them. As soon as the mouse cursor is over the tab group on auto-hide, it flies open. It can be pinned open using the middle icon of the three on the right, or left unpinned to collapse soon after moving the cursor away. Tab groups can be maximised, minimised, or restored. Tool-tips have been made to match the Toolbar tips.

Restore Last Session

In Tools, Options, General, users can choose from three options on startup: Show Startup Assistant, Restore Last Session, or Create New Document. Restore last session will open PagePlus with the same publications that were previously opened, and each will be displayed at the same page and the same zoom level as last time. If the windows were tiled, or a new document window was opened, the window layout will also be restored. This is a huge time-saver for long books or projects involving more than one publication. Quickly resume work without having to reopen publications and find your place.

N.B. If multi-page view was in use, although this will be restored, the layout and position will not.

SerifGDI Rendering

Improved performance and quality of rendering on the screen. The page tab especially will benefit from this to generate thumbnails of the current publication.

Customise Smart HintsSmart Hints

Like DrawPlus, popup notifications will advise the user when performing certain actions. When no longer needed, they can be disabled in Tools, Options, Smart Hints.

Startup Assistant

This is the Startup Wizard by a new name, but with some new and improved features. It replaces the Browse dialogue that was removed from earlier versions with previews of publications opened in the previous days and weeks. The learning zone provides quick access to videos, help, the manual, the support forums, and Facebook support. A news feed keeps the user informed of recent developments. Templates can also be opened from here.

Switch Workspaces from the Drop List on the Context ToolbarWorkspace Enhancements

Workspaces have been around as long as the Studio Tabs. In previous versions one could save and load customised workspaces to suit different projects. Toolbars and menus could be customised before too, but to backup changes entailed a two-step process of exporting a Windows registry key and copying a file from the %AppData% folder. In PPX7, the toolbars and menus are now saved with the workspace, so the user only needs to copy the relevant *.wtb file from the %AppData%\Workspace Profiles\ folder to an external drive to make a backup. A drop-list on the context toolbar makes it easy to switch workspaces. Tip: Remember to save any changes made to the toolbars, menus, or studio tab layout to a workspace file before selecting another one.

Recommendations After Installation

PagePlus X6

Released 5th December 2011 • Most Recent Update (16.0.3.29) 23rd August 2013

First Impressions

Serif™ added many new features to this new version, and improved some existing features. Many will be delighted to find support for E-book publishing, but a few may miss the Web Publishing mode. Publish as HTML is not quite as convenient. Asset management is a powerful new feature, but less convenient than the old Media Bar and Gallery tabs, which are now gone. Medium (18 px) and Large (24 px) icon sets improve accessibility for older users.

Asset ManagementBusiness SetsE-Book PublishingFormat Painter

Logo Studio Auto UnrotateMultiple User DictionariesPDF ImpositionQuick Dial

Table of Contents and Indexing User Interface ImprovementsZoom Slider

A Floating Studio Tab can be wider without wasting spaceAsset Management - Adding Page Content Using the Assets Tab

A new Assets studio tab replaces the Media Bar, Insert Logo dialogue, and Gallery Tab. This requires some relearning, but makes it easier to associate content with publications, and adds the possibility of saving asset packs for sharing content.

Assets can be pinned so that they are always available. The Logos are pinned in the Graphics category in the screen shot of the Assets tab on the right, so they can be dragged to any new document.

Warning: assets are loaded with the document, so pinning too many assets will slow down document loading This may be very significant with large images on old hardware.

Customised borders can be added to the Picture Frames category, but can no longer be saved for quick access from the Line and Border dialogue.

The backgrounds category is new and offers a quick and easy way to add a background layer to a publication or web site.

The Pictures category replaces the Media Bar tab from PPX5.

Business Sets

Use different User Details for different publications.  If you are designing publications for more than one customer, you can store and assign different sets of business user details for each. Think of a business set as a profile, storing a unique set of user details under a chosen name.

E-Book Publishing -

I anticipate that this exciting new feature will encourage many to upgrade or migrate to PagePlus. I also expect that it will generate a storm of questions on the support forums as new users struggle with new concepts. Some may be frustrated if they expect to just open any existing publication, choose the publish to E-book option, and expect it to just work. Publishing for hand-held E-readers like the Kindle requires an entirely different design approach to print or PDF publishing. If, like me, you have no previous experience in designing E-books, be prepared to read the manual, and to redesign your publications to suit the free-flowing layout used by this format.

Format Painter - Adding Page Conent, Dynamic Guides, Format Painter

The format painter tool makes it easier to copy formatting from one object to another. Select an object, select the format painter, and click on another object to copy the formatting from the first.

A rotated object is easier to edit it in the LogoStudioLogo Studio Auto Unrotate

Any groups on the page that are rotated are automatically unrotated when opened in the Logo Studio. This makes them easier to edit.

Multiple User Dictionaries

Create as many custom user dictionaries as you need, and associate them with different publications.

PDF Imposition

The page imposition features previously used for paper publishing can now be used for PDF output.

Quick Dial

A new Quick Dial quick shape was added for creating dials for clocks, speedometers, etc. The number of dials, the enclosed angle, the mark angle, and the inner radius can all be changed. N.B. If you use this new quick shape in any publication, the publication won’t open in PPX5. Convert it to curves first if you need to do that.

Tables of Contents and Indexing

Publications can now contain more than one table of contents, for example, one for each chapter instead of only one for the entire book. Hyperlinks can be included automatically — unfortunately, these are only applied to the page numbers and not to the heading text, which is pretty useless. It is much more practical to use PDF Bookmarks. A new Table of Contents Studio tab makes it easier to modify and update the TOC, without running through a whole series of dialogues on the TOC wizard, which has been removed.

Indexing is now quicker and easier to use. Mark all similar entries at once instead of one at a time. Editing index entries is much easier than before by using the new Index Studio tab. Multiple index entries on consecutive pages are merged with a hyphen, e.g. 136-140, and hyperlinks can be included from each page number.

Colours Toolbar UndockdUser Interface Improvements

A new Colours Toolbar makes it easier to apply Fill, Line, and Text colours. At long last, there is a large icon set so that older users or those with high resolution monitors can read the icons without having to guess what they do from their position on the toolbar. The registry hack to set LargeIcons=1 still gives double-sized 32 pixel icons if your eyesight is very weak or if you have a 1600 x 1200 pixel monitor resolution, but most users will find that the large 24 pixel icons are adequate on standard monitor resolutions. On my 1280 x 1024, 17” monitor I can fit all of the tools that I need on a single row, with the context-sensitive toolbar below that. There are three relevant registry keys — PagePlus, WritePlus, and the PrintPreview dialogue.

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Serif\PagePlus\16.0\ToolBars\PagePlus\Options]
"LargeIcons"=dword:00000001

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Serif\PagePlus\16.0\ToolBars\BookPlus\Options]
"LargeIcons"=dword:00000001
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Serif\PagePlus\16.0\ToolBars\PrintPreview\Options]
"LargeIcons"=dword:00000001
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Serif\PagePlus\16.0\ToolBars\WritePlus\Options]
"LargeIcons"=dword:00000001

This same method works for WebPlus X5, PhotoPlus X5, DrawPlus X5, and Organizer.

Zoom Slider

Use the Zoom Slider for Rapid ZoomingFor compatibility with DrawPlus, a zoom slider control was added to the hintline, along with a “Zoom to current” button, a Zoom tool, a Pan tool, a View Options popup, and a Special Characters popup. The Snapping popup, the Trimmed Page Mode icon, and the Show/hide Studio Tabs icon were removed.

PagePlus X5

Released 18th October 2010 • Most Recent Update (15.0.5.030) 14th December 2011

This was a major upgrade with many of the features that were on the wish-list for a long time. This new version is more powerful than PPX4, but still easy to use. Common tasks, like rotating and selecting objects, or editing master page content have been made easier for new users. Experienced and professional users will appreciate the OpenType support, powerful print imposition options and enhanced PDF output. Many old bugs have been fixed, and performance has been improved. The spell-check dialogue was fixed so that it does not move when checking a story.

OpenType FeaturesCross-referencesVariablesWord Count

Mixed Page NumbersMixed Page OrientationPage Imposition

Autocorrect ImprovementsMulti-level Image LoadingHover Selections

Line FillsImproved Text WrapImproved PDF OutputObject Management

Edit Masterpage ObjectsImport SettingsImproved Colour Management

OpenType Feature Support

OpenType Composed FractionsOpenType LigaturesThe implementation of OpenType features is particularly slick. For example, enabling Small Capitals, ligatures, or fractions in the Character formatting dialogue will use OpenType features automatically if those features exist in a font. If not, PagePlus will create Small Capitals by scaling capitals in the usual way, use ligatures if they exist in the font, and generate fractions using bold superscripts/subscripts. Times New Roman contains ligatures for fi and fl. Any fraction will be auto-generated, including fractions with text like 1/x.

The Formatting Flyout Detached as a PaletteThe OpenType Flyout Detached as a PaletteCommon OpenType features can be toggled on/off using an icon on the context toolbar, and formatting attributes have a new icon to replace the underline icon, which can toggle the last used character attribute on/off with one click. These formatting fly-outs are both detachable as floating palettes.

Some fonts like Palatino Linotype have OpenType features that use glyphs with no code-points. Unless you know about these special glyphs you may never see them. Palatino also includes a full set of Petite Capitals. The Insert Symbol dialogue has a radio button to show Glyphs instead of Unicode.

Select the Glyphs Radio Button to show Unmapped or Glyphs in Higher Unicode Ranges

When the radio button is enabled all of the glyphs in the font are sorted by their glyph index, and the Character Code is shown as G+nnnn (Glyph Index) instead of  U+nnnn (Unicode code-point). Palatino Linotype is particularly unusual as the glyphs are not sorted in strict Unicode order.

After the Yen symbol ¥ (U+00A5) for example, is an alternate form of the Yen symbol (G+01DD) with a single cross-bar instead of a double cross-bar. These can also be accessed from the OpenType Features, by enabling Stylistic Alternates. This same method can be used to access glyphs beyond the Basic Multilingual Plane, that are not supported. However, be aware that since it uses the glyph index, if the font is changed, another font may well have a different glyph in that position or no glyph at all, resulting in the .notdef glyph being displayed instead.

Cross-references

Insert automatic cross-references to other pages, headings, bookmarks, or footnotes, with or without a prefix, suffix, or hyperlink. Go to the target or edit the cross-reference easily. There is a lot to learn here, but more than enough options to satisfy most users.

Variables

Create global or publication variables that can be inserted anywhere and updated throughout your documents without the need for find and replace operations. Great if you move house, or change your business contact details. Just edit your User Details and all of your templates will be updated to match.

Word Count

Formerly available only in WritePlus, Word Count is now accessible directly from PagePlus. It has been enhanced to count words in the current selection, and an option has been added to count hyphenated words as separate words or as one word.

The pages tab displays thumbnails and page numbersMixed Page Numbers

Mix Roman and Arabic page numbers in the same document. Start a new section at any point; restart page numbering or continue from the last page. The publication page number is displayed in the Page Manager, hintline, and Pages Tab.

Mixed Page Orientation

Documents may be either portrait or landscape as before, but pages of the opposite orientation may be used within the same publication. Add a spreadsheet or illustration in landscape mode within a portrait publication for easier editing. Facing pages are treated as one spread though, and you cannot mix orientations on the same spread.

Page Imposition

One of the biggest changes is to print preview. As before, this can simply be used to see how the publication will look on your chosen printer before committing it to print, but Print Preview includes many options for page imposition. A document that was set up as a standard A4 portrait document, can be imposed as a booklet, scaled up and tiled on multiple sheets, scaled down and printed as thumbnails, etc.

Staple-fold booklets can be automatically adjusted to allow for page creep. Professionals do this with positive creep allowance on over-sized paper, but home users can use negative creep on standard paper to reduce the gutter for centre spreads so that the outside margins remain constant, avoiding the situation where text on centre spreads can get cropped if the paper is not perfectly aligned when it is stapled.

Autocorrect Improvements

The list of predefined autocorrect entries now matches LibreOffice Writer, and the tab key can be used to change paragraph indentation.

Multi-level Image Loading

PagePlus now uses low resolution proxy images for display at normal zoom levels. This saves memory and improves performance when working with high resolution images. However, if the user zooms in, the images are displayed at full resolution.

Lines can also have gradient fillsHover Selections

Objects on the page are highlighted as the mouse cursor passes over them, making it easier to identify which object will be selected on clicking. Although this may be useful if there are dozens of small objects close together and overlapping, for normal publications with just one text frame on a page, it annoys more than it helps. Fortunately, a shortcut key can be assigned to toggle it on and off quickly.

Line Fills

The full range of sold, gradient, and bitmap fills can now be applied to lines as well as to fills, expanding the creative options.

Improved Text Wrap

The text wrap generator has been rewritten, resulting in more accurate wrap outline generation. This could sometimes affect text flow so check that it hasn’t changed when opening old publications. The changes are subtle, so in most cases text flow will be the same.

Improved PDF Output - Professional Printing  Using PDF Files

This will please the professional users. Greyscale PDF output is much better, and output to FOGRA colour standards are now supported. PDF output can be scaled to produce different sized PDF files from the same PagePlus source file.

Object Management

The Layers tab now shows every object on the page, as in DrawPlus, allowing easier management of objects on layers, and rearrangement of an object’s z-order. By default, the layers tab shows the object tree collapsed, so this extra level of control is not obtrusive. It is an extra option for those who need it, but managing layers is just as it was before.

Edit Masterpage Objects

Objects on master pages are now accessible from the normal page view. Either edit the object on the master page, or promote the master page object to the normal page. Modify the promoted object, e.g. to move a page number to bottom centre for the current page, without affecting the master page objects for all other pages that use it.

Import Settings

Import settings from PagePlus X4 to get up and running quickly with the new version. Import: Gallery files, Keyboard shortcuts, Workspace profiles, Object styles, PDF profiles, Attributes (Option settings), Templates, Colour schemes, Palettes, Autocorrect entries, User dictionaries, Recent file list, Calendar Events and Table formats.

Improved Colour Management

Manage colour for two or more images with different embedded ICC profiles. Convert images to the RGB monitor profile for RGB images and the CMYK printer profile for CMYK images.

PagePlus Starter Edition 4.0

Released 23rd November 2013

This is based on PagePlus X7, but without some key features like Charts, PhotoLab, Cutout Studio, PDF Import/Export, and Image Export is limited to just the JPG format. Nevertheless, it contains all of the latest improvements in areas where it matters most such as fine control of text justification and tracking, and some new features like Dynamic Guides and Custom Borders. Although OpenType features cannot be applied or edited, features applied in PPX7 are retained when opened in PPSE 4.0.

It can open and save files from PagePlus X7 so it could be used to share work with colleagues who might be working on the same projects, but who don’t have the full version. Instead of sending them a PDF, you can send them the source file for editing, and ask them to download this free version of PagePlus. Although it is limited to creating documents of five pages or less, it can open and save longer documents, so it is a viable choice where team collaboration is the goal, without the cost of providing a full version for everyone.

Installing the Software

Do take care when installing PagePlus Starter Edition, or any of the other free software. The most version no longer installs the Serif toolbar from search.conduit.com, or junk like MySearchDial that you will have to spend your precious time removing, but take care to read installation dialogues

Unless you are really strapped for cash, download a copy of PagePlus X6. The license for the free version have some restrictions, so are unsuitable for commercial use. They really are only good for an unlimited trial of the software, or for Home Users who only want to create Greeting Cards, Posters, etc.

If you do take the trouble to download it and install it, don’t forget to make a backup of the installation file. It’s pageplussesetup-en-GB.exe that you need to backup, which you should find in your Downloads folder after running the Download Manager.

Legacy Features

From PagePlus X4 or Earlier

Anchored ObjectsText ImprovementsInterface ImprovementsImproved PDF Import

Polygon OperationsDynamic GuidesStroke AlignmentPhoto Lab

Picture Frames and BordersTable and Calendar FormatsResource Manager

Word and OpenOffice ImportImage Cutout StudioCustomising

Anchored Objects

Images, Tables, Text Frames, Artistic Text, or groups can be anchored relative to the page, page margins, frame, column, or character.

Text Improvements

Switch between publication windowsInterface Improvements

Improved PDF Import

Imported PDF documents have fewer text blocks and greater accuracy. Optimise for accuracy or for text flow. Crop to page area leaving registration marks on the pasteboard. Embed fonts to allow document editing if permitted. With improvements to the manual flowing of text between frames, PagePlus is now a viable choice for editing PDF files if the source document is no longer available.

Join Quick Shapes to Create othersPolygon Operations

More versatile shapes can be created by combining or intersecting existing shapes, e.g. a quick arrow and a quick donut like this.

Dynamic Guides

Easier alignment and positioning of objects using dynamic guides. Align objects to each other, to the page margin or page edges. This is a huge time-saver when laying out pages. Objects just snap into place where they are most likely to be needed. Nudge is also customisable to position objects more accurately.

Change the Stroke Alignment in the Line TabStroke Alignment

Alignment of objects to the inside, outside, or centre of strokes. Lines and borders can be inside, outside, or centred on the object’s fill.

The screen shot shows a 0.5” square with a 50% transparent yellow fill, a 6 point cyan border behind the fill, mitred joins, and inner, centre, and outer stroke alignment.

Click to EnlargePhoto Lab -

An image adjustment studio with Quick Artistic effects, adjustment filters, and special effects. This powerful new feature can almost replace PhotoPlus, though you will still need PhotoPlus if you want to import RAW images or for extensive retouching and painting of images.

Filters are non-destructive — by default the original image is stored along with any changes made. This greatly increases the file size though, so you may prefer to disable the option in raster effects to save adjusted bitmaps. This will also speed up document loading.

Photo Lab is so powerful I never need to open PhotoPlus to apply effects to images.

Picture Frames and Borders

Create custom borders from bitmaps. A wide selection of artistic picture frames is provided, but you can define your own, and they will be shown at the top of the list. The 1” border on the right was applied to a text frame on an A4 page. Mouse-over the image to see how it looks at 0.75”.

The Picture Frames can be found in the Assets tab (the Gallery before PPX6). Just drag them onto the page and then insert a picture, or drag and drop them onto a picture to add the border to the picture.

To add them to a text frame, table or Quick Shape, open the Line and Border dialogue from the Format menu, and select a border from the drop list. From this dialogue you can define the border’s width, the edges to apply it to, and whether to scale it with the object.

To define a custom border, create a suitable graphic like the one below with patterns that will repeat on the sides and top, and corners that are used only once. Import the image into the line and border dialogue, and open the widths dialogue to define where the image will be split. Drag the lines to define the areas that will repeat and those that will not. If you want the centre to be drawn too, check the “Draw Centre” option on the border dialogue. I used an image of about 1800 x 1200 pixels @ 300 dpi, but 1200 x 800 pixels would probably have been good enough — 96 dpi was not.

Editing a Custom Border

Click to EnlargeTable Formats

Table and Calendar Autoformat Editor — Create calendar and table formats to apply to any calendar or table. Define table header and footer rows, header and footer columns, and repeating rows/columns. Apply fonts, fills, transparency, and borders as part of the cell definition.

This custom format for a Year Planner has a Header row for the year and title, another Header row (Caption) for the days of the week, a Header Column for the months, and footers for other details. The Weekdays and Saturdays/Sundays repeat, with different cell formatting, until the footer column. The month row repeats until the footer row.

Resource Manager

More flexible management of resources. The picture properties dialogue has been replaced. Instead the Resource Manager opens showing a thumbnail preview of the picture and details about it.

The resource manager shows image properties

Images can be exported or replaced from the resource manager. Linked files can be embedded, and embedded files can be made linked. To locate the file in the document, double-click the asset name or click on the locate button. Sort document assets by filename, size, etc., by clicking on the column headers.

Word and OpenOffice Import

Import OpenOffice (aka LibreOffice) and Word Docx documents without either program installed. Import most text formatting, footnotes, graphics, tables with formatting, index marks, and paragraph styles.

Image Cutout Studio - Using the Image Cutout Studio

Any photograph can be edited within PagePlus to remove its background. The intelligent masking brushes in the Cutout Studio are faster and easier to use than other magic wand tools I have used. Even the most intricate backgrounds can be removed quite easily by adjusting the tolerance and size of the brushes. Hold the Alt key o toggle the brush function between remove and add. Many image backgrounds take just a few strokes of the brush to remove. Zooming and Panning with a scroll-wheel mouse is just as easy as in the main PagePlus window, so for detailed work one doesn’t need to keep changing tools.

It is very easy to remove the background from images

After removing the background you can preview how it looks with a transparent background, or a uniform tint. The mask can be saved as a Vector-cropped Bitmap, or as an Alpha-edged Bitmap. The HowTo help in the Image Cutout Studio guides new users through the process.

Customising Toolbars, Menus, and the Keyboard

The Button Editor for Customising the Toolbar Icons can Import PNG filesSince PPX3 it has been possible to customise the toolbars and menus. Right-click on any toolbar or the menu to open the customise dialogue. Right-click again on the menu to customise it, or on any toolbar button to change the button, paste a new image from the clipboard or import a 16x16 pixel icon from disk.

Create new menus, new toolbars, or new flyouts to have all the commands that you use most frequently wherever you want them. WebPlus uses the same interface for customising the GUI.

The icon for scanning was pasted from the Windows clipboard to the Acquire command, then opened in the button editor to make the background transparent using the flood-fill tool. Transparent PNG images can be opened from the folder icon. Use All files (*.*) in the dialogue or type *.png to filter only PNG images.

The keyboard can be customised, greatly increasing the speed of use for these powerful applications. Please read my Tutorials for more details.

Wish-list

Several long awaited features have been added in PPX8. Here are a few of my pet issues, which I hope will be addressed in the next version.

Running Headers

Running headers change automatically to match the first or last heading on a page. In PagePlus, this is a time-consuming manual task of promoting master page objects and editing their content. Its all too easy to forget to update the headers after making editorial changes.

Fix Double Line Styles

There are two problems with double lines: they are wider than their reported weight because the width is measured between the centre-lines of each line, and double table lines do not connect accurately at the corners.  

Skewing Objects

In DrawPlus it is easy to skew objects by dragging selection handles. In PagePlus one can drag a corner handle with the Alter key held down or use the Rotate tool, but skewing is not an option. A mesh-warp can be used to get a similar result, but it it difficult and the text is no longer editable.

Guidelines Improvements

More important in DrawPlus, but also useful in PagePlus. Allow rotation of guidelines to any angle by using the shift modifier key. Double-click any guide to open the guideline setup dialogue. Ctrl Drag to copy a guideline. Support parallel guidelines with a variable spacing for use in floor-plans or maps. Move locked guidelines by holding down the Alt key modifier.

Gear-wheel cogs faces are curved Improve Quick Shapes

The current Quick Cog looks nothing like a cog-wheel and the teeth would not mesh. There could also be additional Quick Cog types for circular saw blades or sprockets. Other quick shapes need synchronising across all Serif applications so that users can switch more easily between them without getting lost. Lock Geometry should be added for more quick shapes on DrawPlus, and tool-tips on nodes should be more helpful, showing radii in ruler measurements instead of percentages. The context toolbar should include a quick shapes list as in DrawPlus, which can be used to change one quick shape to another type. Node Feedback and Ease of Use settings allow for larger nodes or tool-tips.

Improved Proofing and Spell-checking

The Wintertree software currently used by the spell-checker has some drawbacks. It would be better to make use of the excellent Hunspell checker, which already has dictionary support for many languages. Full support for Latin Extended character sets is required by many users — not only for users in Eastern Europe, but for anyone doing business with the Eastern Bloc countries. • Double-spaces should be removed automatically or at least marked as a spelling error as in LibreOffice. • Users should be able to define hyphenation breaks for words added to dictionaries. • Autocorrect should default to plain text. • There should be Autocorrect item on the Tools menu, and on the Customise dialogues.

Improved Text Formatting

Disable hyphenation for the last line of a text frame. • Set justification limits for the last line of paragraphs. • Highlight loose lines • Glyph fallback: if text uses characters unsupported by the current font, format it using a fall-back font. • Format Title Case in all supported languages.

OpenType GPOS Feature Support

Asian languages like Burmese, Bengali, Hindi, and Tibetan, require OpenType features that are currently unsupported. Full support for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean (CJK), would be good eventually, but at least PagePlus (and DrawPlus/WebPlus) should be able to support all Left to Right scripts. Adobe fonts only support kerning through GPOS tables, so PagePlus doesn’t support automatic kerning for a lot of Professional fonts. Other features, like case-sensitive forms, that use vertical adjustments will also not work in PagePlus.

Full screen Mode

PhotoPlus has had this for some time, but PagePlus needs it more than ever now with so many toolbars and studio tabs. One simple shortcut (F11) should hide all toolbars. The fullscreen mode should also be customisable, so that users can show at least one toolbar. The scroll bars are almost obsolete, but they are always on screen, taking up space, even when not needed.

Export Settings as Backup

Export user-defined settings to backup custom workspaces, keyboards, and options, transfer settings to other computers, or restore them after reinstalling or resetting the software.

Tutorials

I have added this tutorial section with tips and tricks to get the most out of PagePlus using some of its more advanced features. The program’s help menu includes a link to the Online Product Support page where you can find both Video and Text Tutorials on many of each program’s features.

All of these tutorials presented as PDF files were produced using PagePlus. Most are also relevant to earlier versions of PagePlus, and some to other Serif Applications such as DrawPlus or WebPlus.

Support

The old Serif Software Forums are closed for new posts, but they can still be searched to find solutions. CommunityPlus is now the official support portal for Serif products. When you start a new thread select a category (Question, Suggestion, or Discussion), and a product version, then a list of versions will appear.

As soon as you start typing your question, a list of previous topics matching your topic title will appear, so choose your topic title to quickly get the most relevant results, and to improve the results for other users. The screen shot below shows how I typed the word “Baseline” to get a list of relevant topics including this one on No Baseline Grid Possible? Open any links in a new tab to see if they answer your question, or try another topic title to find different threads. If you cannot find the answer after a few tries, then complete your thread title, fill in the message, and format it using the buttons on the toolbar above the message area.

It’s often helpful to attach a problematic file to your post. Click the grey Attach/Remove Files link below the edit message box to upload a file. If it’s not one of the supported file types, archive it with 7-Zip and attach the archive. The following file extensions are allowed: 3dd, 7z, bmp, craft, doc, dpa, dpp, dpx, emf, eps, gif, ipp, jpe, jpeg, jpg, mvp, pack, pdf, pdp, png, ppack, ppb, ppp, ppx, otf, rar, rtf, sap, sbp, sma, smf, spp, svg, tif, tiff, ttf, txt, wmf, wpack, wpp, wpx, zip.

Click the Submit Thread  button below the message to post your thread. You can add attachments to your thread later using the blue attachments link that appears below each of your own posts.

Starting a New Thread at Community Plus

Threads and posts can be edited at any time if you omitted something, chose the wrong product version, or selected the wrong category. If you get no reply after a few hours, reply to your own thread with some more details to encourage helpers to reply. Be patient — other users don’t get paid for helping you. When you get a helpful reply, click on the Good Answer button.

The All Products  and All Categories  drop lists are database filters that hide threads not fitting the chosen pattern. For example, by Selecting PagePlus in the product list, and Suggestions in the category list, one can quickly see a list of threads with Feature Requests or Tips about PagePlus. There’s another drop list for Latest Post  which can be used to sort threads by Date Created  or Page Views  e.g., Top Discussions on DrawPlus or  Common WebPlus Feature Requests.

When you receive a helpful reply to your questions, click on the Good Answer button to acknowledge the help given or click on the Best Answer if that was the answer that fully resolved the issue for you. Your thread will then be checked as resolved.

For suggestions threads, you can click on Good Idea if you agree that the suggestion would improve the product, or if the idea was helpful to you.

For discussion threads, you can click on Good Post if the post was informative, amusing, or helpful.

The blue links like this on each post #65823 are called permalinks. Copy the link to create a reference to the post from anywhere on CommunityPlus, or from elsewhere.

In case someone replies with a remark that is offensive, or completely off-topic, don’t get involved in a flame-war with them — just click the Report This link and let the moderators deal with it.  

Features Comparison

All versions of PagePlus have so many features it would be impossible to list them all. Below is a list of the most significant new features in PPX6, PPX7, and PPX8. Since PPX7 is now only £20 it makes no sense to buy any earlier version, and it is barely worth downloading and installing the Starter Edition unless your needs are very basic, or unless you need to collaborate with others who don’t have a licensed version. The Starter Edition can only produce publications of five pages, but it can open larger publications produced in the paid-for version.

* Significant improvement ** New feature *** Powerful new feature

Features New in PPX6

Features New in PPX7

Features New in PPX8

Deprecated Features