Easy to learn and use, Software Publishing's Harvard Publisher desktop package comes with simple Web and print publishing features.

In offices with modest publishing requirements, packages such as Adobe PageMaker or QuarkXPress are overkill. On the other hand, the layout options of Microsoft Word or other word processors might not quite meet expectations.

Harvard Publisher is a good compromise. It's easy to use, wizard-driven, affordable and undemanding in its hardware requirements. A full installation, including all "quick tours" and "page wizards," took up 150 megabytes on my system. A Microsoft Web publishing wizard had to be installed separately.

The extensive online help included an on-screen hint line, tool tips about the icons and step-by-step "how to" procedures. About 300 built-in page wizards showed how to create new publications quickly. The manual, in tutorial format, concentrated on producing publications and Web pages.

Although oriented toward casual use, Publisher has extensive layout and design tools. All objects can be scaled, resized and rotated by direct manipulation or by changing values in the "change bar."

You can set vertical and horizontal rulers, visible guidelines and a dot grid based on adjustable ruler increments. Objects snap to both guidelines and grid intersections.

Styles in the text and graphics palettes let you create and modify standardized styles. All similar items in a publication change when the underlying style is modified.

Harvard Publisher has several high-end color features.

You can mix any color using either hue-saturation-luminance or red-green-blue models. You can also specify custom cyan, magenta, yellow and black mixtures. If the publication will be professionally printed, you can choose Pantone colors and convert spot color into process color.

Full-color pictures can be transformed into shades of a single color by selecting the new base color in the change bar.

About 120,000 clip-art images and photos are bundled, mostly on a set of 10 CD-ROMs with a browser. Another disk, titled Harvard Gallery, has more clip art.

Harvard Publisher can import text files and retain formatting from most word processors. You also can enter or edit text directly using the included WritePlus word processor. WritePlus does simple formatting and has a word counter, spell-check and thesaurus.

Publisher is not a full-fledged Web page editor, but you can design and make simple Web pages entirely within it. Publisher saves the entire site in hypertext markup language.

The included Microsoft Web publishing wizard then uploads everything to a Web server.

Publisher also has a number of tools for managing internal and external site links.

The "hot spot" tool can designate any area of a publication as a hot spot that links like a standard hyperlink.

And the hyperlink manager displays all the hyperlinks defined in the publication.

To respond, send e-mail to editor@gcn.com or visit the Government Computer News Web site at www.gcn.com.


Software Publishing Co.

Fairfield, N.J.

Telephone: 1-800-489-6720

Web address: www.harvardgraphics.com/html/harvard_publisher.htm

Cost: $69.95

Grade: B


+ Includes Web publishing wizard for direct uploads

+ Easy to learn and use


- Clip-art browser can't access all files

Real-life requirements: Windows 95 or higher, Pentium PC, 16 megabytes of RAM, 100 megabytes of free storage