Desktop publishing is a term coined after the development of a specific type of software. It's about using that software to combine and rearrange text and images and creating digital files. Before the invention of desktop publishing software the tasks involved in desktop publishing were done manually, by a variety of people and involved graphic design, typesetting, and prepress tasks which sometimes leads to confusion about what desktop publishing is and how it is done.

Desktop publishing is the use of the computer and software to create visual displays of ideas and information. Desktop publishing documents may be for desktop or commercial printing or electronic distribution including PDF, slide shows, email newsletters, epub, and the Web.

Things To Do With Desktop Publishing

Desktop publishing is or can be:

  • designing print communications such as brochures, fliers, ads, and posters
  • designing print communications such as catalogs, directories, and annual reports
  • designing logos, business cards, and letterhead
  • designing and publishing newsletters, magazines, and newspapers
  • designing books and converting print communications to formats for the Web and smartdevices such as tablets and phones
  • creating resumes and business forms (including invoices, inventory sheets, memos, and labels)
  • self-publishing (books, newsletters, ebooks, etc.)
  • designing and publishing blogs and Web sites
  • designing slides shows, presentations, and printing handouts
  • creating and printing greeting cards, banners, postcards, candy wrappers, and iron-on transfers
  • making digital scrapbooks and print or digital photo albums
  • creating decorative labels, envelopes, trading cards, calendars, and charts
  • designing packaging for retail merchandise from wrappers for bars of soap to software boxes
  • designing store signs, highway signs, and billboards
  • taking work designed by others and putting into the correct format for digital or offset printing or for publishing online
  • creating more attractive, readable reports, posters, and print or on-screen presentations for school or business