Aldus Corporation

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Aldus Corporation
FoundedFebruary 1984 (1984-02)
FoundersJeremy Jaech
Mark Sundstrom
Mike Templeman
Dave Walter
Paul Brainerd
DefunctNovember 1994 (1994-11)
SuccessorAdobe Systems
Key people
Paul Brainerd, Founder

Aldus Corporation was a software company that developed desktop publishing (DTP) software. It is known for developing PageMaker, an early product in the desktop publishing field. The company is named after 15th-century Venetian printer Aldus Manutius, and was founded by Jeremy Jaech, Mark Sundstrom, Mike Templeman, Dave Walter, and chairman Paul Brainerd.[1] Aldus Corporation was based in Seattle, Washington.


PageMaker was released in July 1985 and relied on Adobe's PostScript page description language. For output, it used the Apple LaserWriter, a PostScript laser printer. PageMaker for the PC was released in 1986, but by then the Mac was the de facto DTP platform, with Adobe Illustrator (released in 1987) and Adobe Photoshop (released in 1990) completing the suite of graphic design software.

In 1988, Aldus went on to offer its Illustrator-like program FreeHand,[2] licensed from Altsys (who also developed Fontographer). FreeHand and Illustrator competed with each other for years through multiple releases. This rivalry continued even after the Aldus acquisition, because FreeHand was not included, but Adobe eventually acquired Freehand in 2005 with its acquisition of Macromedia. FreeHand MX was the last version offered by Adobe but is no longer sold or updated.[3]

In early 1990, Aldus bought Silicon Beach Software, acquiring a number of consumer titles for the Macintosh, including SuperPaint, Digital Darkroom, SuperCard, Super3D, and Personal Press (later renamed Adobe Home Publisher). Silicon Beach was located in San Diego, California, and became the Aldus Consumer Division.[4]

In 1993, Aldus bought After Hours Software and incorporated its products, TouchBase Pro and DateBook Pro, into the Aldus Consumer Division. The same year, it acquired Company of Science and Art (CoSA).[5]

During the 1990s, QuarkXPress steadily won ground from PageMaker, and it seemed increasingly odd that Adobe — who had created PostScript, so vital to the working of DTP — still did not offer its own page layout application. This was resolved in September 1994 when Adobe purchased Aldus for $446 million.[6] After two more major releases, PageMaker has been discontinued in 2001 and is no longer supported; existing PageMaker customers were urged to switch to InDesign, released in 1999.

Aldus developed the TIFF and OPI industry standards. The three founders of Visio Corporation left Aldus in 1990 to create the product which later became known as Microsoft Office Visio.

Company name[edit]

"Paul Brainerd and his partners decided to name their company Aldus, after Aldus Pius Manutius (Teobaldo Mannucci) (1449–1515), a famous fifteenth-century Venetian pioneer in publishing, known for standardizing the rules of punctuation and also presenting several typefaces, including the first italic. Manutius went on to found the first modern publishing house, the Aldine Press."[7][2]


Print publishing[edit]


  • ColorCentral — An OPI server
  • PressWise — A digital imposition program
  • PrintCentral — A print output spooler
  • TrapWise — A digital trapping program


  • FreeHand — A vector drawing program
  • Gallery Effects
  • Persuasion — A presentation program
  • PhotoStyler — A bitmap image editor
  • TextureMaker — A program for creating textures/patterns
  • SuperPaint — Painting and vector drawing program
  • Intellidraw — A powerful yet simple drawing program

Aldus Interactive Publishing/CoSA[edit]

  • After Effects — A digital motion graphics and compositing program
  • Hitchcock — A professional non-linear video editor, with titling and A/V transitions
  • Fetch — A multimedia database

Aldus Consumer Division[edit]

(formerly Silicon Beach Software and After Hours Software)

  • Digital Darkroom photo enhancement software
  • Personal Press consumer desktop publishing software
  • DateBook Pro — Calendar management software
  • IntelliDraw — A vector drawing program
  • Super3D — 3D modeling software
  • SuperCard multimedia authoring environment
  • TouchBase Pro — Contact management software


  1. ^ Kvern, Olav Martin; Roth, Stephen (1990). Real World Pagemaker 4. Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-34874-4.
  2. ^ a b Dunn, Nancy E. (October 1988). "An interview with Paul Braineird, president of Aldus Corporation". Macworld. Vol. 4, no. 10. p. 73-84.
  3. ^ "FreeHand Support Center". Adobe Systems.
  4. ^ "About Us". Silicon Beach Software. Archived from the original on 11 October 2016.
  5. ^ "The story of After Effects – the compositing and animation software that has beaten the competition for 25 years". Digital Arts. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  6. ^ "ADOBE SYSTEMS REVISES ALDUS ACQUISITION". New York Times. Bloomberg. July 15, 1994.
  7. ^ "Aldus Pagemaker History".

External links[edit]