Complete History of Aldus Pagemaker

Color Photo of Paul Brainerd
 Paul Brainerd was the creator of Aldus Corporation, and the person associated with the Aldus Pagemaker software.

The History of Aldus Pagemaker: A Complete Guide

Facts About Aldus Pagemaker

  1. While most people only think about Mac OS, Linux, and Windows, Aldus Pagemaker was also released for IBM PC. It was even released for IBM PC before it was released for Windows.
  2. The creators of Pagemaker, Aldus Corporation, were acquired by Adobe in the software’s later years of production.
  3. This software was a revolutionary software at the time. It gave people the ability to design and publish their own materials.
  4. Aldus Pagemaker was not free, and initially retailed for $495. That’s roughly $1,200 when adjusted for inflation.

What Is Aldus Pagemaker: Explained

Aldus Pagemaker is a desktop publishing software released by Paul Brainerd and the Aldus Corporation in 1985. Although it became available for other operating systems later on, it was initially only released for the Macintosh. At the time of release, Apple was producing the LaserWriter printer for individual use (for those who could afford it), which when paired with this desktop publishing software allowed just about anyone to print their own custom materials. Shortly after the initial release, it was also released for the IBM PC and Windows operating systems.

For just $495 anyone could use this desktop publishing software to create brochures, pamphlets, newsletters, advertisements, and other paper products of professional quality. The uses of the Aldus Pagemaker desktop publishing software were virtually endless. It truly revolutionized the ability to create and distribute various materials that were previously gate kept by businesses with larger budgets, who either owned or had access to large-scale printers. This software allowed users to drag-and-drop elements on a page, draw and sketch their own designs, manipulate text using various fonts and styles, and even import their own texts from outside sources for use within the software.

The Difference Between Aldus Pagemaker and Microsoft Publisher

One modern day comparable software tool is Microsoft Publisher. Obviously Microsoft Publisher is more advanced as it is both newer and still in production, but the concept behind the tools are similar. Both tools were designed to allow users create custom distributable products using a desktop publishing software they would otherwise rely on another business for. The main differences between the two pieces of software are the capabilities available based on the release dates. Aldus Pagemaker was one of the first desktop publishing softwares available and at one point had a large share of the market. That said, the final release was in 2001. Microsoft Publisher is still being improved on and new versions being released, and the technology incorporated into this software is more advanced now than anything Aldus Pagemaker had access to almost a decade ago.

PageMaker 1.0 screen
A view of the Pagemaker 1.0 user interface.

Aldus Pagemaker Release History

Aldus Pagemaker 1.0 was first released in July of 1985. While it was initially only released for the Macintosh, it was later released for the IBM PC around a year and a half later. Version 1.2 was released in 1986, adding support for the importing of fonts from other sources. It was also released for HP Vectra computers that same year. Aldus Pagemaker 2.0 was released in 1987, this time supporting the Windows operating system. Version 3.0 was released for Mac and PC in the Spring of 1988.

Version 4.0 was released for the Mac in 1990 and for the PC in 1991. This upgraded version came with the ability to better handle larger files. Version 5.0 was released in 1993. In 1994 Adobe acquired Aldus Corporation and renamed the software, releasing Adobe Pagemaker one year later. In 1995 version 6.5 was released, and support for previous versions came to an end. Finally, Adobe Pagemaker 7.0 was released in 2001. The product’s support ended around 2004, and is now only accessible using Mac OS 9 or earlier and Windows XP.

Aldus Pagemaker: End of Development

Toward the later years Aldus Corporation’s continued development had stalled and the company began to lose market share. Many users left Pagemaker for a similar product called QuarkXPress, which at one point wanted to buy Adobe after it had acquired Aldus Corporation. It was in 2004 Adobe officially began recommending to its customers they should be using InDesign as a replacement for Pagemaker.

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