Do not plan on using PCs based on 286 and 386
microprocessors. These machines simply do not
have enough computing power to handle DTP
Monitor You will need a high-resolution 19-
inch monitor. When doing desktop publishing
and design work, laying out pages on most
standard 12-inch and 13-inch screens can be
tiring and difficult. The monitor and associated
graphics card should be at the IBM-standard
video-graphics array (VGA) level or better.
Secondary storage Large hard disks are
essential for DTP work. Desktop publishing
files tend to get very large, and you will soon
accumulate many active files on the computers
hard disk. A minimum of 500 megabytes of hard
disk capacity is recommended. Hard drives with
850 megabytes to 2 gigabytes are even better.
Mouse or trackball You will also need a
mouse or trackball pointing device to move the
cursor position on the monitor screen.
Printer Although the dot matrix printer is
inexpensive and capable of printing graphics and
letter quality text, it is insufficient for many DTP
applications. A laser printer is the better choice
when it comes to preparing quality text and
Scanner With desktop publishing systems,
you will naturally want a desktop scanner to
capture photographs, art work, clippings, and
other forms of art work.
More and more DTP functions are being added to
word processing packages. For some applications, this
will eliminate the need for separate DTP packages.
However, you will still need a scanner, a mouse, and a
compatible laser printer.
Software utilities further enhance your computers
capabilities and make it run more efficiently, whether it
be a mainframe, mini, or micro. Once a computer user
like yourself becomes familiar with the system and
applications software you are working with, you want
the system to do more and do it faster and more
efficiently. Utilities can satisfy some of this need for
more computer power, overall performance, internal
security, file and data management, and backup
capabilities. Utilities strive to fill some of the voids left
by applications or operating system software. For the
most part, utilities are meant to work in conjunction
with your existing software.
In the past, an individual had to be a technical expert
when it came to setting up the necessary control
parameters for a particular utility program (a sort,
merge, selective print, and so on). Quite often, they
were complicated to run. Some of these utilities were
stand-alone programs occupying a niche not filled by
The traditional mainframe
utility programs, such as sort, merge, and print, have
given way to desktop organizers and file managers that
are now geared for individual use on a personal
computer. Today, most microcomputer users initiate a
wide variety of software utilities and are not even aware
they are doing so. Some of the more popular utilities
have been incorporated into the disk operating system
as well as applications programs as commands.
DOS includes such utilities as COPY, SORT,
FORMAT, BACKUP, RESTORE, TYPE (to print
files), DIR (to list files in directories), RENAME (to
rename files), CLS (to clear your monitors screen), and
many, many more.
Utilities such as spell checkers,
dictionaries, thesauruses, and grammar checkers are
often included in word processing packages. Many
applications programs include keyboard enhancing
programs that allow you to store frequently used words
and sentences you can then access with either a single
keystroke or combination of a few keystrokes (also
known as hot keys). Then, there are mouse utilities that
allow you to program the right and middle mouse
buttons for particular tasks.
While utility programs are getting easier for us to
use, selecting the best one to accomplish a particular
task can be somewhat difficult. If you look around to
see what utilities are available, you will find there are
thousands of various types on the market to choose
from. To introduce you to the types, we have organized
the various utility software/programs into eight
categories: keyboard enhancement, desktop organizer,
backup, file management, file maintenance, DOS shell,
printer, and virus utilities.
Keyboard Enhancement Utilities
Keyboard enhancers, as the name implies, enhance
the function of the PC keyboard. These programs
(which are usually RAM resident programs) translate a
single keystroke into user-defined macro commands.
A macro consists of one instruction that represents
many instructions. For example, Ctrl-Alt-C keystrokes