If you're a serious PageMaker
user (you are if you shelled out the serious bucks for the program), I have an outstanding
way for you to spend your next hundred bucks: PageTools 2.0 by Extensis adds plug-ins to PageMaker 6.x that will allow
you to work faster and more efficiently. Adobe should have included most of these features
in the first place.
Installation was quick and effortless from the CD-ROM. The fifty-some-odd-page manual
is well written, with each "tool" concisely explained in a numbered,
step-by-step format. The manual also includes screen shots of each dialog box with an
explanation of each item.
The first "tool" that you'll see after launching PageMaker is
are tips and tricks by designer, author and columnist Olav Martin Kvern, and a new one is
displayed each time you launch or exit PageMaker. Many of the tips I've seen so far have
ranged from "cool" to "oh wow." If youre impatient, you can
click "More tips" to see a list of all the topics.
The main element in PageTools is PageBars, which are toolbars that can be customized
with buttons that can apply any PageMaker function, as well as additional ones that
PageTools adds. PageTools provides several preconfigured toolbars, but can be easily
customized to fit the way you work. For instance, I frequently use drop caps. Ordinarily,
I would have to click Utilities: PlugIns: Drop Cap to open the drop cap dialog box. Now, I
just click a button and the dialog box pops up. Others I frequently use are changing the
resolution of graphics and changing the units of measurements from inches to picas. This
is just the tip of the iceberg. They can be either free-floating or embedded on the side
of the screen.
When opening a publication, PagePreview displays a thumbnail of the first five pages in
the Open Publication dialog box, assuring you that youre opening the correct
version. PageThumb operates when you have a publication open by displaying thumbnails of
all pages and allowing you to move to a page by clicking on it.
One of the handiest features is PageScaler. This allows you to resize selected text,
line widths and graphics. For example, I frequently need to resize a logo that contains
two text blocks with a ruled line above one of them, a graphic (WMF), all enclosed by a
rectangle with rounded corners. Ordinarily, I would have to scale four different elements
individually. Using PageScaler, I just select all of them, type in the resizing percentage
and click. One limitation I found, however, is that the degree of corner rounding needs to
be changed manually.
New in version 2.0 is PageType, which provides you with the ability to apply styles at
the character level. Normally, you can only apply styles that affect the whole paragraph.
PageType allows you to define a character style (type face, size, leading, color, kerning,
etc.) to selected text without affecting the paragraph. For example, occasionally
Ill set the first character of each paragraph in Coronet (a script typeface), 20
points, leading at 12 points (to match the body text), -0.1 em kerning, and a color
different from the body text. Using PageType, I set up these parameters and easily define
them as a style. To apply them, I just highlight the character, select the style name and
click. Undoing the style is just as easy.
Youre probably familiar with the "find and replace" feature in Story
Editor or any word processor. PageColors gives you that feature with colors. You can
search for colored objects like text, lines, rectangles, ovals, and polygons and
selectively or globally replace their color. Very handy when a client asks "How would
the black text look in fuschia?" One drawback is that it doesnt work on
paragraph rules (ruled lines applied through the Paragraph Specifications dialog box).
Hopefully, theyll issue a patch for it.
PageMakers print dialog box allows you to print ranges of selected pages.
PagePrinter takes that several steps further by displaying a thumbnail of each page, along
with the time and date it was last printed and the ability to select it for printing. It
also indicates whether the page was edited since last "scanned" by PagePrinter.
The manual lists several types of changes that are not detected during the scanning
process that would render this feature ineffective. However, the "readme" file
(recommended reading for all software you install) indicates those limitations have
been corrected since the manual was printed.
Ive mentioned only about half of the tools that PageTools 2.0 contains. It will
be worth the price if you merely use a fraction of its functions. You can download a trial
version from their web site. But once you use it, youll be hooked. Youll never
make a page again without it.
Find and replace colors
No on-line help
Some features have undocumented limitations
Excellent. A necessary addition.
Upgrade from version 1.0: $49.95