Remember Aldus PageMaker . . . or Desktop Publishing

Remember Aldus PageMaker
Desktop Publishing

Excel might have put the Mac on everyone’s radar, but PageMaker put the Mac on everyone’s DESK!! SPOILER ALERTI once went to a demo by Microsoft unveiling a new product …. EXCEL 1.0 ON THE MAC!

FULL Disclosure: My first thought on using Excel was for keeping track of … HOCKEY POOLS!

DOUBLE Full Disclosure: And the first PageMaker project I worked on … was for Musical Scores! And I can’t carry a tune in a bag .. but I could print out the concert songs!

Desktop Publishing was THE hot concept in the 1980s! But I was doing the “yet to be named”, Desktop Publishing, even BEFORE it became a buzzword application! Yes, I formally declare that I now claim to have invented Desktop Publishing! But I chose to release it into the free range, organic wild and thus everyone benefits to Infinity … AND BEYOND!

Commodore 64

My first teaching job after graduating was quite unique – I helped to run a small computer classroom of VIC-20 and Commodore 64 computers, teaching a module of Computer Literacy for adult students. There were minimal course requirements, other than .. computer literacy! I was literally designing courses, teaching them and re-designing them ON THE FLY!  I was doing this during the day at my regular job and then doing it AGAIN AT NIGHT for what was very similar to what Continuing Studies is now at UVIC! It was absolutely thrilling and terrifying … AT THE SAME TIME! Good times … good times!

So, faced with NO curriculum, NO textbook, NO workbook and … NO INTERNET – I had to improvise on a daily basis … actually more of an HOURLY BASIS! Once I found out I could DESIGN AND ‘PUBLISH’ my own resources in-house – Desktop Publishing was born!

Over the course of the next 2 years or so, I wrote numerous manuals, guides, workbooks, handbooks and even a manual for SpeedScript, a free word processor for the C-64! Hint: That might even be a future Bog Blog post!

They were all tailored for the academic units I worked for! I literally used cut and paste OLD SCHOOL with scissors and tape, cutting out cartoons, printing text on dot matrix printers and handing a final mock-up version to the Printing Department in the basement! Then and only then I could exercise final creative editorial decisions such as .. colour of the front cover and colour of the magic coils to bind them all! The magic of double-sided tape is severely under-rated!

A few titles are below and you can click on each one to get a larger image in a new tab. But come back here!

CCIS Computer Class Workbook
YTO Computer Literacy Handbook
Business Education Computer Literacy Instructor’s Course Handbook
ESL Teacher’s Operation Manual
Hotel and Restaurant Projects Handbook
Hotel and Restaurant Computer Literacy Student Handbook
SpeedScript Manual
















Fast Forward a few years to working at UVic in  the relatively new CALL Facility and Desktop Publishing has a brand new KILLER APP – ALDUS PAGEMAKER! And then it became ADOBE PAGEMAKER! Nothing like re-branding a product after it is bought out!

And how did I get involved in even MORE ‘Adventures in Desktop Publishing’? I was the only one who knew how to use a Macintosh at the time – a screaming fast Mac II!

And how did I actually LEARN how to use PageMaker at the time? I had a Secret Plan which I will now share with you! I was given about 42 academic papers to be published. And they literally came in on paper, floppies (Mac/WIN), 5.25″ floppy and in every possible format at the time – text, Word, WordPerfect, email, etc. My only recourse, which proved successful, was to pre-select which paper to work on FIRST!

I ranked all the papers from what I thought was EASIEST to HARDEST and jumped into the deep end of the Apple Laserwrite Toner Pool! AND IT WORKED!

I taught myself one new technique, one new feature, one new .. SOMETHING with each and every new submission that required special editing! Image placement, borders, indents, importing, saving, data recovery and the single most important feature I already knew – BACKUP! BACKUP! BACKUP!

It may seem trivial now in the age of 128G  USB thumbdrives, but I only had a single CD-ROM burner to make backups on CD! And so it would take about an hour to prepare a weekly, or sometimes daily, backup to make sure nothing was ever lost!

I produced a series of Conference Programmes, booklets and proceedings over the next 3 years as The CALL Facility became a focus of literally, world wide attention – thanks to the efforts of Mary Sanseverino and Dr. Peter Liddell. Yup, using their names here, as they deserve all the credit for pulling this off!!! And that includes INVENTING THE CALL FACILITY TOO!

TRIPLE Full Disclosure: Mary hired me way back in the Fall of 1989 and Peter had hired Mary only a few months earlier too! And the rest is history!

If you were to go up to a current generation of digitally saavy and internet trained students from birth, I bet they would not have even HEARD of the concept of ‘Desktop Publishing’! But OH, do they know everything about social media, Insta-everything, searching and RELYING on the internet for education, training and careers! And that is a VERY GOOD THING!

Students can whip up an absolutely jaw-dropping webpage with so many applications (computer, phone, tablet) that I won’t even bother listing them. There are websites that help you make websites! And companies that specialize in publishing with free software! You can design and print your own book in a fraction of the time it took me!

Absolutely astonishing! It took me 6 months the first time I put together the CCALL2 proceedings. And about half that time, the SECOND proceedings! I am definitely ‘Old School’ – digitally!

And the usual assortment of recently searched interesting links, videos and other cool stuff – but beware, you will probably never ever use PageMaker …. but you never know!



  1. Desktop Publishing – Wikipedia
  2. Adobe PageMaker – Wikipedia
  3. Aldus – Wikipedia
  4. Aldus Pagemaker 1985
  5. 30 Years Ago, Aldus PageMaker Changed Life on Planet Earth
  6. Aldus PageMaker 5.x
  7. Aldus PageMaker 1
  8. Aldus PageMaker: The First Widely-Used Desktop Publishing Program
  9. Aldus Pagemaker: The Mac’s Savior?
  10. Aldus PageMaker Introduced
  11. Aldus Pagemaker
  12. Four reasons the LaserWriter mattered
  13. Apple Laserwriter – Wikipedia
  14. List of Apple printers – Wikipedia

As long as there are words out there, there will be interesting topics! 



“If you do not know where you come from, then you don’t know where you are, and if you don’t know where you are, then you don’t know where you’re going. And if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re probably going wrong.”



72 Short Cut Key
Adobe PageMaker

History of Desktop Publishing

History of Desktop Publishing (DTP)

The Computer Chronicles
Desktop Publishing Part I (1986)

The Computer Chronicles
Desktop Publishing Part II (1986)

The Dawn of Desktop Publishing

The Apple IIC and Imagewriter II
Desktop Publishing in the 1980s

The Font Wars
Postscript, TrueType, the Mac
and the Success of Desktop Publishing


“Your son carved his initials in his wooden classroom desk and argued he was doing desktop publishing.”