What Is Desktop Publishing?

This formatting job requires the ability to take Word past its rigid restrictions.

Don’t call them designers — call them desktop publishers. These experts wrangle Word documents to form sophisticated layouts that any writer can use.

Desktop publishing debuted in the 1980s, and its definition has evolved over the years. Some folks describe it as the use of software to arrange text in a document. Dragonfly Editorial interprets it as stretching Word’s boundaries to make polished, dummy-proof documents. This includes creating templates from scratch, adding graphics to break up walls of text, and ensuring compliance with technical requirements.

Formatting Word documents

Desktop publishing involves organizing styles, creating tables, and developing macros. Desktop publishers also customize individual elements and ensure consistency by:

  • Making a template from scratch for clients to use over and over again
  • Updating existing templates to fit new content
  • Fixing documents that have deviated from the template

A desktop publisher makes sure your Word document is visually appealing, with easy-to-use styles. 

Integrating graphics and interactive elements

You already know that Word can generate tables of contents, footnotes, and hyperlinks. But desktop publishers make sure those interactive elements are seamlessly linked and working correctly. Desktop publishing experts also integrate graphics from PowerPoint and Adobe Creative Cloud. You may have trouble getting an image to stay where you want it, but doing so is second nature to desktop publishers.

Checking document compliance

Many requests for proposals have specific document parameters. Think high school English essay essentials: 1-inch margins, 12-point font, and Times New Roman. Desktop publishing involves combing through requirements like these and ensuring perfect proposal compliance.

Pushing the limits of Word

Desktop publishing is the art of mastering Word’s complex nuances and stretching its limitations. The goal? A refined document that’s elegant and easy for readers to navigate.

Dragonfly Editorial can help your team take your layout and formatting to the next level. Schedule a consultation today to explore improving your Word-based marketing collateral.

Post written by Rachel Thompson and edited by Cynthia Williams.

Vector graphic of desktop publishing rendition with multicolored document.


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