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desktop publishingDesktop publishing and graphic design applications have been around for years now. Programs like InDesign, QuarkPress, Apple’s Pages How To Create Impressive Documents and Templates on Mac How To Create Impressive Documents and Templates on Mac Read More , Microsoft Word How To Create Custom Stationery With A Quick Letterhead In Microsoft Word 2007 How To Create Custom Stationery With A Quick Letterhead In Microsoft Word 2007 Read More , and The Print Shop have made it easier for many computer users to create professional looking documents and with a modest amount of graphic and computing skills.

Recently, Adobe, the makers of Photoshop and various other leading image programs, released both an online and desktop content creation and publishing application called Project Rome. Rome is a “free preview program for a limited time,” says Adobe. You will need to register for a free Adobe account to access the program in either version.

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If you have experience with any version of Adobe Photoshop or other image or document creation programs, you’ll feel right at home with Rome. If you’re fairly new to desktop publishing, Rome will not be as difficult to use as professional programs like InDesign, but you will need to understand some of its features and foundations, such layering, vector graphics, font styles, and various tools for moving and re-sizing graphic elements.

The Interface

Both the desktop and online versions of Rome mirror one another. They open with what is called the Launch Bar, which you use to start and access projects in Rome.

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desktop publishing software

Projects include templates for brochures, flyers, letterheads, gift certificates, business cards, CD and DVD covers, and websites. Rome also supports other media including video and audio content.

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You can even produce Flash-based animations and interactivity similar to what can be done in Adobe Flash. ï»¿In addition, there are projects and templates geared towards education and classroom use.

Tools & Features

Rome consists of several dozen image tools and features, a color picker, vector images, brushes, pen, and gradient tools, and various buttons and shapes that can be used on both photo images and graphic design documents.

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As with Photoshop, most of Rome’s tools are accessed in a small floating toolbar and the Insert menu in the menu bar.

Under the Help menu, Rome includes a little Flash-based, non-audio video that illustrates the use of some of the program’s features, but for users new to desktop publishing this documentation will not be enough to learn the program.

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Rome is a layers-based program, which means that you can layer elements on top of one another and move them around. Rome is built on Adobe Air technology and for the most part I found that it runs pretty smoothly, though it’s not as fast as of course as Adobe’s more advanced programs like Photoshop.

Output

Finished projects can be exported in PDF, JPG, Flash, and HTML file formats.

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In addition to saving your creations and documents to your hard drive or online Adobe account, you can share them in what is Template Exchange.

Overall, Rome is a fairly clean and accessible program. The available default document templates, and no doubt many of the ones that will be shared via the Template Exchange should make Rome a useful program for home and education use.

Will Rome be a replacement for say Photoshop Elements or a graphic design program like Apple’s Pages? It’s hard to tell. I would not recommend Rome for heavy duty image/photo processing work. And if you’re producing a medium to large document, Rome will probably not suffice.

Let us know what you think about the application and how you might see it as being useful.

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