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Desktop publishing courses are classes that teach students how to manipulate photographs and other images, create design layouts, and use a variety of desktop publishing programs. The exact content of a desktop publishing course may vary, but they often include an introduction to desktop publishing as well as graphic and text manipulation instruction. A desktop publishing course may include instruction in using scanners and other types of hardware. These courses may also included lessons on finding a job in the field or starting a desktop publishing business as well.
An individual who takes a desktop publishing course typically learns how to use his computer, other hardware, and software to create documents that include attractive displays of graphics and carefully positioned text. An individual who enrolls in one of these courses may want to learn how to prepare visually attractive documents not only for desktop printing, but also for commercial printing. These courses also teach students how to create visually pleasing documents that are not meant for printing, such as those that will be distributed via the Internet. For example, a person who takes a desktop publishing course may learn to create pleasing printed brochures and newsletters as well as online newsletters, brochures, portable document format (PDF) documents, and slide shows.
While the course description for a desktop publishing course may vary, depending on the school or company that is offering it, these courses often include instruction in using desktop publishing software, including document creation programs, layout programs, image creation software, and photo manipulation programs. Students may learn such things as how to create and design online documents and web pages as well as how to plan and design business cards, newsletters, brochures, and fliers. Desktop publishing courses may even teach a person how to create letterheads and resumes. Some desktop publishing courses also teach students how to plan and design such things as books, magazines, and periodic reports.
Desktop publishing courses often cover such topics as hardware compatibility; the selection and placement of art; the arranging and manipulation of electronic images; and the proofing and editing of work. These courses often include information about computer selection and choosing and working with input devices, such as scanners. Such courses may also cover selecting and using printers as well as the preparation of work for commercial printing. Additionally, some desktop publishing courses provide an introduction to careers in desktop publishing.
I do believe my one (and only) desktop publishing course involved a representative from Quark (which manufactured the QuarkXpress software my newspaper was using way on back in 1995) showing up for a few hours on a Saturday and walking us through the system. From that point, I had to figure out what do do on my own (I was the city editor at the time and that meant I got yelled at a lot by the managing editor while laying out pages).
Fortunately, what I learned from the time I spent with Quark has translated well to Adobe InDesign. It's kind of like riding a bike -- once you learn on one, you can quickly adapt to other bicycles.
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