X9 / 19 November 2015
|Operating system||Windows XP SP3|
|License||Proprietary commercial software|
PagePlus is a desktop publishing (page layout) program developed by Serif for Microsoft Windows. The first version was released in 1991 as the first commercial sub-£100 DTP package for Microsoft Windows. The latest (final) release is PagePlus X9, which was released in November 2016. In June of 2019 it was officially replaced by Serif with Affinity Publisher. It is now still available to purchase as part of their Legacy product range.
PagePlus was first launched in 1990 and was the first sub-£100 desktop publishing program for Windows 3.0. Three years later, in spring 1993, PagePlus 2 was released and provided full colour printing support. Following this release, a new version of the product was released on a roughly annual basis.
Serif did a complete rewrite of the original program source code for the release of PagePlus version 8. Despite the rewrite, at that time the program name was retained and the version number was simply incremented. Again despite the rewrite the program remained able to read data files created in previous versions 1 to 7.
Serif have announced that PagePlus X9 is to be the final PagePlus release. The last build issued to date is v126.96.36.199 from 28th April 2017. Serif claim they have dropped further development of all "Plus" products (including Serif's vector graphics editor, DrawPlus, which was launched as an accompanying product to PagePlus in 1994) to focus efforts on their 'Affinity' product line.
As of December 2018, PagePlus X9 still remains available at a very heavily discounted price from Serif via the official Serif website.
Affinity Publisher versus PagePlus
A public beta of Serif's Affinity Publisher (the closest of the Affinity applications to PagePlus functionality) was launched in the summer of 2018.
After the release of PagePlus X9, Serif decided to rewrite their DTP software, to allow a multi-platform implementation, and allow new methods of internal program operation with more modern Operating Systems and the typical current (2018/9) configuration of PCs.
Despite the name change to "Affinity Publisher", many aspects of the user interface of the Public Beta v188.8.131.52 bear a striking similarity to later releases of PagePlus. For example, the style of the opening "Welcome" dialogue box, and the Publisher user interface can be set to "light" colour mode which makes it resemble that used in Pageplus X9. Between the two programs there are many differences in the location of commands and options in the pull-down menu structure, but the opportunity has not been taken to migrate to the "Fluent User Interface" (ribbon), first used in Microsoft Office 2007. In fact the changes in the user interface between PagePlus and Affinity Publisher are less than the changes made to the user interface between Microsoft Office 2003 and Office 2007. The beta also reveals the DTP software feature set has been incrementally enhanced for professional uses, with features like better colour profile management.
The most controversial aspect of the rebranding, based on commentary in Serif's own forums, is the decision to not provide any import or export facility for Pageplus XML format data files as part of Affinity Publisher. In fact in their forums Serif have indicated they are more likely to provide an ability for Publisher to read Adobe file formats than their own PagePlus data files. Adding PagePlus data file compatibility to Affinity Publisher should theoretically be possible for the company, as Serif obviously still holds the source code for the routines to read and write the various PagePlus data file formats.
While PagePlus was generally targeted at the "entry level" DTP user, some of the functionality present in the market leading applications (Quark's XPress and Adobe's InDesign) is present in PagePlus, such as working in the CMYK colour space, OpenType Feature support, and Optical margin alignment (Optical Justification). PagePlus also has the ability to view, create, edit and publish PDF files, and publish E-books in *.epub or *mobi formats suitable for the Kindle store. It also includes support for EPUB3 fixed layout eBooks for textbooks, children’s books etc.
PagePlus is primarily written in C++ using Visual Studio 2008, with a heavy dependence on the MFC framework. The Windows GDI library was discarded early in development in favour of an in-house composition engine supporting advanced bitmap and typeface operations. The text engine supports Unicode text entry.
PagePlus was first developed for 16-bit Microsoft Windows v3.0 running on PC/MS DOS but the final releases support Windows XP, Windows Vista (32/64bit), Windows 7 (32/64bit), Windows 8 (32/64bit) and Windows 10 (32/64bit).
PagePlus Data File Compatibility
The format of the .ppp data file has also evolved over time. Until the switch to an XML based format with version X3, each release of PagePlus could read current and previous version data file formats. However prior to X3 there was no facility to save back into an earlier format, so a modified file could not be read by any version previous to the version that was last used to save it. However once the change was made to XML format at X3, later data files from release X4 to X9 inclusive could be read by earlier versions (back to X3), though with the loss of any unsupported features.
The backwards compatibility of being able to read older non-XML .ppp datafile versions was dropped from later 64-bit PagePlus releases. Owing to this, PPX6 (2011) is the last release that can read PP5 (1997) and PP3 (1994) format data files after a standard install on a windows 64-bit system. To read older files with PagePlus versions X7, X8 and X9 on a 64-bit Windows system, a special manual 32-bit PagePlus installation must be done from the program disc or downloaded file.
- PagePlus: 1990
- PagePlus 2: 1993
- PagePlus 3: 1994
- PagePlus 4: 1996
- PagePlus 5: 1997 (revised for XP compatibility and reissued in 2002)
- PagePlus 6: 1999
- PagePlus 7: 1 October 2000
- PagePlus 8: 2001
- PagePlus 8: PDF Edition, 9 September 2002
- PagePlus 9: September 2003
- PagePlus 10: 11 October 2004
- PagePlus 11: 3 October 2005
- PagePlus X2: 19 February 2007
- PagePlus X3: 21 April 2008
- PagePlus X4: 11 September 2009
- PagePlus X5: 18 October 2010
- PagePlus X6: 5 December 2011
- PagePlus X7: 3 June 2013
- PagePlus X8: 4 August 2014
- PagePlus X9: 16 November 2015
- Comparison of desktop publishing software
- Desktop publishing
- DrawPlus – vector graphics editor
- List of desktop publishing software
- "PagePlus X9 – Easy-to-use desktop publishing software". Serif.com. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
- "Affinity launches professional desktop publisher for Mac with integrated vector design and image editor apps". 9to5mac.com. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
- PagePlus 10.0 Companion (PDF). Serif (Europe) Ltd. 2004. pp. 5–6.
- "Affinity Publisher". Serif Website. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
- "DTP is alive and flourishing". Archived from the original on 2 September 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2009.
- Jason Whittaker. "Serif PagePlus X2 Review: - Software and Services – Graphics & Publishing – PC World Australia". Pcworld.idg.com.au. Archived from the original on 29 November 2007. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
- Bhikkhu Pesala. "PagePlus". Softerviews.org. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
- "Serif PagePlus". Serif. 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2015.