Adobe PageMaker is a powerful program, customizable to a seemingly infinite degree. But what if you just want to do something simple? Here’s a guide to the main features in PageMaker 7.0:
Download a trial version of PageMaker from Adobe’s website at: http://www.adobe.com/products/pagemaker/. On the right hand side, under downloads, click on “Tryout” for your system.
Getting Started with PageMaker 7.0
Of course, the easiest thing to do is to use a template, but I’m going to skip that. Let’s start with a blank page. Click File, then New (I’m going to abbreviate that as File | New).
The document setup will appear. This is where you can set the size of the page, the number of pages, the margins, etc. Let’s go with the default settings. Click OK.
You’ll see one letter-sized page with pink and blue lines around it. Those pink and blue lines are the page margin guides. You can move them by clicking and dragging, or going back to File | Document Setup and adjusting the numbers there.
Are the guides in the way? Click View | Hide Guides, and they’ll disappear. Click View | Show Guides to bring them back. You can also make the guides show up behind objects by selecting View | Send Guides to Back. Want more guides on the screen? Click in either ruler and drag onto the page. A blue line will appear that you can position anywhere. To get rid of a new guide permanently, just click it and drag it off the screen. Guides are useful for aligning objects, but I’ll show you some other alignment tricks later.
Let’s get some text on the page! Whenever you’re working with text in PageMaker, you have to select the Text Tool. In the toolbox, it’s the button marked with a T. Once the cursor has changed to the I shape, click anywhere on the page. Type your text. Once you click away, you’ll see lines appear around the text-you’ve created a text box.
To edit text, highlight it with the text tool (not the arrow tool). Then you can use the text toolbar or the Type menu to change things like font, size, and alignment. To more options at once, click Type | Character Specifications or Type | Paragraph Specifications.
Kerning and Tracking refer to how far apart your letters and words will be. You can play around with them to get a feel for how they work, or leave them for another time!
A quick way to format your text in PageMaker is by using styles. Go to Type | Styles, and you’ll see the built-in styles. Just like headings in Word, these vary by size and other features. For instance, the headline style is large, bold, and flush left, while the body text is in 12-point and indented. You can create your own styles by clicking Type | Define Styles.
If you want to see your text without all the formatting, click on a text box and select Edit | Edit Story. Almost like “Normal” view in Word, you’ll see your text plain. The style for each paragraph will be listed on the left side of the screen. To get back to normal view, click Edit | Edit Layout. Note, you can only look at one text box at a time.
Autoflow is a great PageMaker feature if you have text that doesn’t fit on one page. To try it out, take a large block of text and paste it onto your page. Make sure you’ve selected the arrow tool (not the text tool) and make the text box smaller than the text. A red arrow will appear on the bottom of the text box. If you click on the arrow, the cursor will turn into a little box with writing in it. Click on another page or on another part of the same page. A new text box will appear with the overflowing text from your first text box. The old text box will have a + sign on the bottom. If you make changes to the original text box, you won’t even have to worry about updating the second one. It’s automatic!
Now let’s add some objects. The toolbox in PageMaker allows you to insert different types of lines and shapes. Click on the button with the diagonal line. You can draw any type of line with this tool. To draw perfectly straight lines, click on the button with two lines. You can draw horizontal or vertical lines.
The rectangle and circle tools are pretty self-explanatory. I still haven’t figured out why you would need some with Xs inside, though. To draw a perfect square or circle, hold down the Shift button while drawing or resizing the object. Add rounded corners to your rectangle by clicking Element | Rounded Corners.
You can draw more than hexagons with the polygon tool, but you’ll have to start with one. To change the hexagon to a whatever-agon, click Element | Polygon Settings. This allows you to change the number of sides and make your shape into a star or sunburst.
Fill and Stroke allow you to change the color and border of an object. You can use the pull-out menus or click Element | Fill and Stroke to change both at once.
Once you’ve got a few shapes on the screen, it’s time to put them in their place. When objects overlap, use Element | Arrange to determine which objects are on top of other objects. Like in Word, PageMaker has Bring to Front, Bring Forward, Send Backward, or Send to Back. Remember that these options are relative to all the objects on the page, so if it looks like an object isn’t moving, trying sending it to the very back or front, then adjusting from there.
The coolest feature of PageMaker (in my opinion) is Element | Align Objects. Let’s say you want to have the centers of your objects lined up vertically. Just click the button with the three objects on top of each other. This feature allows you a lot of flexibility in moving objects around. You can even spread them in certain ways with the Distribute feature.
Got everything perfectly placed and don’t want to move them by accident? Select the objects and click Element | Lock Position. The objects are stuck until you unlock them.
You can place pictures or even Word Documents directly into PageMaker by going to Edit | Insert Object. Create from File lets you put an existing object in. When you Create New, you’ll have an empty box on the page. Once you double-click it, the appropriate program will open so you can edit the object. Just select File | Close to return to PageMaker.
Setting Up Pages
Great! You’ve got one page. What if you want more? Click Layout | Insert Pages. Choose how many pages you want and where you want them. The Master Page is the template the new page will be based on. Click Insert. If the pages ended up in the wrong place, go to Layout | Sort Pages. Your mini publication will appear and you can move the pages around as you please.
PageMaker won’t divide text automatically into columns for you, but you can add column guides that will help you resize text boxes. Just click Layout | Column Guides and choose the number of columns and how much space between them. More blue lines will appear on your page (if you don’t see them, you may need to go to View | Show Guides). Autoflow will come in handy to get your text from one column to another.
Master Pages are a wonderful way to have objects on every page in your PageMaker publication. You can get to the page master in two ways: The easiest is to click on the two pages in the bottom left corner, the ones with L and R on them. The second way is to click Layout | Go to Page and select Master Page | Document Master.
Once you’re there, test it out. Add an object or type some text, then go back to the main publication by selecting a page on the bottom of the screen or using Go to Page again. Note: if you only have one page, it’ll be a right-side page, so if you put something on the left-side master, add more pages to see it!
Other Fun Stuff
To change how you see your publication in PageMaker, check out File | Preferences | General. Here, you can change what units the rulers are in and set the graphics display. This only determines how objects look on the screen-it won’t affect the actual resolution when the document is printed. To do that, go to File | Document Setup and change the Target output resolution.
Edit | Paste Multiple allows you to paste as many of the same object as you want onto a page. You can even determine how far apart they end up by changing the offset.
Using indexes and tables of contents are a little more complex in PageMaker. The basic idea is that the program automatically creates them from the different styles you’ve used. This, of course, means that you have to use styles. Unfortunately, the Table of Contents feature will list every line of text that is styled, so using the index feature might be more useful if you only want certain information. Index entries have to be added by hand.
To make an index, highlight a heading you want to use. Select Utilities | Index Entry, and the heading should appear automatically in the dialogue box. Repeat this for each heading. Finally, select Utilities | Create Index. The cursor will turn into a little box. Just click wherever you want your index. The index becomes an ordinary text box, so you can edit it even more.
PageMaker has a row of buttons on the top of the screen designed to make things easier. Two of the most useful are the one that has the top of a page and 100 inside, and the other has a page with four arrows. The first one will bring the publication to 100% zoom, and the second one will fit the page or pages into the window. Useful if you’ve managed to scroll out to never-never land.
Finally, the Crop and Rotate tools are useful for working with objects. The Crop tool is the button that has a box with two edges on it, just like in Word. The Rotate tool in PageMaker is the button with the dotted curve. Once you click on either of these, the corners of objects will look different. Click on a corner and rotate or crop to your heart’s desire. Just remember that you have to select the arrow tool to go back to normal mode.
Well, that’s about all I can think of for an introduction. Have other PageMaker issues? Just let me know and I can help you out. The links section has some other tutorials and a link to my sample PageMaker file. It’s a PowerPoint document that has images of all the menus and dialogue boxes, in case you need to get familiar with the program but don’t have access to it.