Every program has strengths and weaknesses. Below is what the TLC Creative Services design team views as the strengths and weaknesses of designing for print among the 3 major applications we use. So here is how Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign, and Microsoft PowerPoint fight it out in the boxing ring:
– PRO: Professional desktop publishing software that has the highest level of control of layouts, print specific output, multipage control, unlimited master layouts with finite control, and no size or resolution constraints. Excellent image control and color use tools (in RGB, CMYK, Spot, etc.).
– CON: large learning curve, specialty software that costs more (and usually not provided across corporate users).
– PRO: Installed on virtually every computer (and many tablets & Smartphones). Very good control over text flow, line wraps, and text across multiple pages. Good output to print needs. Easy and professional table and chart creation. Very good color use tools (if setup in document template correctly).
– CON: No bleed or printer crop marks, limited (or difficult to setup/use) multiple master layouts, difficult working with inserted graphics/tables/charts that do not align to column layout.
– PRO: Installed on virtually every computer (and many tablets & Smartphones). Great multiple master layout capabilities, great layout customization per page, excellent image control. Easy and professional table and chart creation. Very good color use tools (if setup in document template correctly).
– CON: Limited to low resolution output (it does not matter if you have a high res 300DPI image, it is output the same as lower res images). No bleed or printer crop marks (although, there are tricks to manually adding – but it is not like InDesign’s automatic features).
AND THE WINNER IS….
There is no clear winner. Everything depends on what application you use most, what application you have installed, and what the final print document is going to be used for. But for TLC Creative Services, the order is:
1. InDesign: this is the industry standard, the best option for print layout projects, and we have a professional team of designers that know this application. This is our go-to application when we are working with print-houses, publishers, etc.
2. PowerPoint: we are presentation design focused, so we know PowerPoint. PowerPoint’s multiple master layouts and flexible per page layout options are wins for us in developing custom layouts, similar to how we approach layouts in Adobe InDesign. We use PowerPoint for print-to-PDF (where a PDF document is the final “print” piece), and allows clients the flexibility to update documents on their own.
3. Word: the few advantages Word offers (multipage text flow, image wrap, etc.), do not win over the flexible nature of PowerPoint – unless it is client request.
Up next, some examples of PowerPoint-to-Print projects.
– Troy @ TLC