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I have recently been doing a fair amount of desktop publishing with Microsoft Publisher, but coming from development of HTML/CSS sites I can't stand the lack of alignment options and would feel much more comfortable using a text-based publishing solution. Ideally, the solution would include a CSS grid system style 'gutter' for content in a more standard grid but I would still, of course, need to be able to have absolute positioned content.

I know I could just use HTML/CSS but was wondering if there are any better solutions (or maybe a HTML/CSS library for print?). I have looked at LaTeX and while it looks great for mainly text-based documents it seems to fall short with lots of media/layout options.

I would need to be able to create and apply complex formatting to:

  • Text boxes.

  • Captioned images.

  • Tables (ideally with complex layout options).

It would also be great to be able to annotate design drawings with arrows, though this may not be possible in any text-based solutions.

Maybe Publisher is the best solution for me at this point, but I am constantly frustrated with it and running into performance issues on large (20+A3 pages) media-rich documents leading to data loss.

If anyone has any recommendations I would be very grateful.

Many thanks, Dom

  • What is your target file type? Is it PDF (of so which version), PostScript or Latex, something else that your printers prefer if you are using professional print shops? resources.printhandbook.com/pages/file-types.php has quite a nice summary of some of the issues. – Steve Barnes Apr 3 at 4:53
  • @SteveBarnes Ideally PDF 2.0, sorry for not mentioning. – Dom Apr 3 at 21:27

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