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Review and comparison of  budget desk top publishing software

Software that produces business cards, greetings cards, calendars and labels have been evaluated.
Publishers include Greenstreet, Focus, Cosmi and printmaster.

Basic outline
Greenstreet - Produces software for calendars, T shirts, greeting cards and photo albums
Software can be purchased with associated paper - also links in the software 
Each product of the suite as to be purchased separately, would be expensive to buy the whole suite.

Focus  - Produces software for business cards, calendars, T shirts, greeting cards, posters and signs, cd-labels, stationary.
Each product of the suite as to be purchased separately, would be expensive to buy the whole suite.

Cosmi - Produces software for business cards, calendars, greeting cards, cd-labels.
Does not promote the fact that each cd contains all the software to produce the above.
A very useful feature
The limiting factor is that there are more graphics for the function that you purchase, usually around 50%.

Printmaster - Believed to be a standard in the budget desk top publisher, there are even courses run on it.
All printmaster versions consist of  multiple programs - business cards, calendars, T shirts, greeting cards, posters and signs, cd-labels.
Very popular software 
Later versions have a very limited number of graphics.
Apparently you can download graphics from the internet ( I have not tested the latest versions), this does not go down well with users that have older versions, it also appears that some form of payment is required after a certain time limit.

Business cards (Focus, Cosmi, Printmaster )

Printmaster  12 and 16 - Printmaster  12 Has  a limited number of templates on disk , Printmaster 16, comes with a greater number but in my opinion not of the best quality,  limited number  of avery print selections.

Focus Create your own Business Cards - Numerous templates, divided into numerous occupations, if you have a common occupation then you are likely to find ready made templates.
Uses a data base to input date so that each template can be populated.
A feature that I like is the ability to adjust the the print out templates, the margins, top and bottom can be changed to allow the print out to fit any business card paper.

Limiting factors - The graphics and text editor are poor in comparison with other products, if you are planning on using your own graphics and design fancy text then you should consider other products
Recommend for quick and fast design of  basic business cards.
Buy now

Cosmi Print perfect business cards on dvd  (Software also contains DTP suite)
Limited number of avery print selections (Similar the the printmaster) - many American templates.
Comes with a large  number of templates for business cards - (they are not divided into occupations)
If you wish to spend time on designing your own business card, the graphics and text editing features are good then this software maybe for you 
Buy now

The Print Shop CD Label Creator
An interesting program that can be adapted to produce business cards 
Read my comments in the Labels section

Greeting cards (Focus, Cosmi, Printmaster, greenstreet )

Greenstreet - Art and crafts greeting cards
Comes with a good range folds and paper sizes.
Editing for the images and text could be better.
Runs slower on my PC  than other packages, although my machine is not the fastest.
Good selection of templates.

Printmaster  12 and 16 + Cosmi Print perfect greeting cards on dvd
Both the above software titles compete for the top budget  Greeting card software.
In terms of sales I would suggest that the printmaster is well ahead
In tests however I came to regard the cosmi product as the better product for producing greeting cards.
If you intend to use your own images then the editing software on the cosmi is marginally better.
I also like the way you can flip from from back to front or any other view by convenient switching on the bottom of the screen.
Both come with numerous templates, with printmaster silver12 and later versions (not printmaster 16) you will have to connect on-line for images.

Focus Create your own Greeting Cards
Performs the same function .as other products in the range.
Very easy to use, numerous templates, can fill in a database for your details - name, address
The editing software for text and images is somewhat restrictive.
Ideal if you want to produce quick greeting cards from ready made templates.
If you require something more then consider either of the above.

Calendars (Focus, Cosmi, Printmaster, greenstreet )

Focus Create your own Calendars
Comes with numerous templates and calendar formats 
Some very nice photo's included.
Recommended if you want to print out a quick calendar from ready made formats.
Will do desktop calendars

Printmaster  12 and 16
Excellent product for producing calendars (both versions)
Allows numerous set up with the picture either template or your imported image
The cosmi suite does not have a calendar function but cosmi does have a stand alone version

Cosmi Amazing calendars
Disappointing that the image  editor is different from the main cosmi suite  from my brief review I was able to import images but not use an editor on them.
Does have a word art control that can produce fancy text.
More powerful than the printmaster version in producing different calendar layouts.
Does NOT do desktop calendars

Greenstreet - Art and crafts calendar.designer
A good number of calendar in all formats.
The slowest running program of those evaluated.
Compares favorably with the other stand alone calendar maker (cosmi).
Able to edit photos in a limited capacity
Does NOT do desktop calendars

None of the calendar making programs stood out to me, I hoped the cosmi stand alone amazing calendars would excel, however it did have features that other programs do not  have but was let down in other respects.

Labels (Focus, Cosmi, Printmaster, The print shop)

The print shop CD Label Creator

This is an out of date piece of softwware, allows the user to print out CD Label,  Audio cassette labels, Floppey disk label, Jewel case insert, Floppy disk label, audio cassette label, CD Label.

Despite the above statement, I have persoanally made quite a lot of use of this program.
It relativley easy to change the print layout to print business cards, I have even modified it to print out labels to use to print patterns and pictures for heat transfer to cups.
The text and images processing are exceptional, propably the best in the budget range.
I have yet to test it on CD labels and will report when I do

Focus Create your own Labels
Again this product does what is says on the box, in addition to the above labels it does, address labels, luggage label, price tage raffle ticket, name badge, shipping label, spice/herbal label, DVD Box labels.
Limited ability to edit text and picture formats.
Recommended if you want to print out a quick label from a large number of templates and labels

Printmaster  12 and 16 + Cosmi Print perfect Labels on dvd
Cosmi print label is part of the cosmi suite with the cosmi label having more templates in that function.
The labels that are listed are address, return, shippling, audio tape, computer, VCR, badges, rotary, folder, indes cards, post cards, tent, general.
Both printmaster and cosmi do not seem to allow the user to produce custom sized labels apart from those listed.
If you have misalignment problems it could be difficult to overcome.
Both come with a reasonable number of templates.

If you wish to produce quick and convenient labels then my recommendation is focus create your own labels.
Both the printmaster ansd cosmi have limitations discussed.

Specialist labels - T Shirts

Printmaster  12 and 16 - Very Limited number of  transfer printouts, cannot be considered a viable program in this speciality.

Focus Create your own T-Shirts  - A very poor selection of T-Shirt designs, compared to the rest of the create your own series this is a joke. Sorry focus

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