Adobe PageMaker

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Adobe PageMaker
Original author(s)Aldus Corporation
Developer(s)Adobe Systems
Final release
7.0.2 / 30 March 2004 (2004-03-30)
Operating systemWindows XP and earlier
Mac OS 9
OS/2 v3.01
SuccessorAdobe InDesign
TypeDesktop publishing

Adobe PageMaker (formerly Aldus PageMaker) is a desktop publishing computer program introduced in 1985 by the Aldus Corporation on the Apple Macintosh.[1] The combination of the Macintosh's graphical user interface, PageMaker publishing software, and the Apple LaserWriter laser printer marked the beginning of the desktop publishing revolution. Ported to PCs running Windows 1.0 in 1987,[2] PageMaker helped to popularize both the Macintosh platform and the Windows environment.[3][4]

A key component that led to PageMaker's success was its native support for Adobe Systems' PostScript page description language. After Adobe purchased the majority of Aldus's assets (including FreeHand, PressWise, PageMaker, etc.) in 1994 and subsequently phased out the Aldus name, version 6 was released. The program remained a major force in the high-end DTP market through the early 1990s, but new features were slow in coming. By the mid-1990s, it faced increasing competition from QuarkXPress on the Mac, and to a lesser degree, Ventura on the PC, and by the end of the decade it was no longer a major force. Quark proposed buying the product and canceling it, but instead, in 1999 Adobe released their "Quark Killer", Adobe InDesign. The last major release of PageMaker came in 2001, and customers were offered InDesign licenses at a lower cost.

Release history[edit]

  • Aldus Pagemaker 1.0 was released in July 1985 for the Macintosh and in December 1986 for the IBM PC.[5][6]
  • Aldus Pagemaker 1.2 for Macintosh was released in 1986 and added support for PostScript fonts built into LaserWriter Plus or downloaded to the memory of other output devices.[7] PageMaker was awarded a Codie award for Best New Use of a Computer in 1986. In October 1986, a version of Pagemaker was made available for Hewlett-Packard's HP Vectra computers. In 1987, Pagemaker was available on Digital Equipment's VAXstation computers.[6]
  • Aldus Pagemaker 2.0 was released in 1987. Until May 1987, the initial Windows release was bundled with a full version of Windows 1.0.3; after that date, a "Windows-runtime" without task-switching capabilities was included.[8][9] Thus, users who did not have Windows could run the application from MS-DOS.
  • Aldus Pagemaker 3.0 for Macintosh was shipped in April 1988.[10] PageMaker 3.0 for the PC was shipped in May 1988[11] and required Windows 2.0,[12] which was bundled as a run-time version.[13] Version 3.01 was available for OS/2 and took extensive advantage of multithreading for improved user responsiveness.
  • Aldus PageMaker 4.0 for Macintosh was released in 1990 and offered new word-processing capabilities, expanded typographic controls, and enhanced features for handling long documents.[14] A version for the PC was available by 1991.
  • Aldus PageMaker 5.0 was released in January 1993.[6]
  • Adobe PageMaker 6.0 was released in 1995, a year after Adobe Systems acquired Aldus Corporation.
  • Adobe PageMaker 6.5 was released in 1996. Support for versions 4.0, 5.0, 6.0, and 6.5 is no longer offered through the official Adobe support system. Due to Aldus' use of closed, proprietary data formats, this poses substantial problems for users who have works authored in these legacy versions.
  • Adobe PageMaker 7.0 was the final version made available. It was released 9 July 2001, though updates have been released for the two supported platforms since. The Macintosh version runs only in Mac OS 9 or earlier; there is no native support for Mac OS X,[15] and it does not run on Intel-based Macs without SheepShaver. It does not run well under Classic, and Adobe recommends that customers use an older Macintosh capable of booting into Mac OS 9. The Windows version supports Windows XP, but according to Adobe, "PageMaker 7.x does not install or run on Windows Vista."[16]

End of development[edit]

The box cover for the InDesign 2 upgrade from PageMaker. InDesign was the successor to PageMaker.

Development of PageMaker had flagged in the later years at Aldus and, by 1998, PageMaker had lost almost the entire professional market[17] to the comparatively feature-rich QuarkXPress 3.3, released in 1992, and 4.0, released in 1996. Quark stated its intention to buy out Adobe and to divest the combined company of PageMaker to avoid anti-trust issues. Adobe rebuffed the offer and instead continued to work on a new page layout application code-named "Shuksan" (later "K2"), originally started by Aldus, openly planned and positioned as a "Quark killer". This was released as Adobe InDesign 1.0 in 1999.[18][19]

The last major release of PageMaker was 7.0 in 2001, after which the product was seen as "languishing on life support".[20] Adobe ceased all development of PageMaker in 2004 and "strongly encouraged" users to migrate to InDesign, initially through special "InDesign PageMaker Edition" and "PageMaker Plug-in" versions, which added PageMaker's data merge, bullet, and numbering features to InDesign, and provided PageMaker-oriented help topics, complimentary Myriad Pro fonts, and templates.[21] From 2005, these features were bundled into InDesign CS2, which was offered at half-price to existing PageMaker customers.[22][23]

No new major versions of Adobe PageMaker have been released since, and it does not ship alongside Adobe InDesign.


BYTE in 1989 listed PageMaker 3.0 as among the "Distinction" winners of the BYTE Awards, stating that it "is the program that showed many of us how to use the Macintosh to its full potential".[24]

File formats[edit]

Adobe PageMaker file formats use various filename extensions, including PMD, PM3, PM4, PM5, PM6 and P65; these should be able to be opened in the applications Collabora Online, LibreOffice or Apache OpenOffice, they can then be saved into the OpenDocument format or other file formats.


  1. ^ Adams, Peter (16 March 2004). "PageMaker Past, Present, and Future". Archived from the original on 9 July 2007. Retrieved 27 June 2007.
  2. ^ "Aldus Now Shipping Pagemaker for IBM PC". InfoWorld. 9 (6). 1987.
  3. ^ Edwards, Benj (3 May 2013). "Born Apple: Six famous Windows apps that debuted on the Mac". Macworld.
  4. ^ Pfiffner, Pamela (11 September 2007). "Opinion: Adobe's world". Macworld.
  5. ^ "A potted history of computers - the eighties".
  6. ^ a b c "History of Aldus Corporation – FundingUniverse".
  7. ^ Keith Thompson: Pagemaker remains Chief Composer. In: InfoWorld Volume 8, Issue 23, 9 June 1986. ISSN 0199-6649. Pages 39–40.
  8. ^ Ken Freeze: Flexibility for PC Pros is Page Layout Strength. In: InfoWorld Volume 9, No. 12, 23 March 1987. ISSN 0199-6649. Pages 42-44. - Review of PageMaker for the PC. Remarks about the Windows-bundle on p. 43, first column.
  9. ^ Michael J. Miller: First Look. In: InfoWorld Volume 9, Issue 9, 2 March 1987. ISSN 0199-6649. - Short comparison of PageMaker, Ventura Publisher and Harvard Professional Publisher, a modified version of Superpage by Bestinfo.
  10. ^ Aldus Corp. Ships PageMaker 3.0 for the Macintosh. BusinessWire, 24 March 1988.
  11. ^ Aldus Ships PC Version of PageMaker 3.0. Businesswire, 19 May 1988.
  12. ^ The precise Windows version required was 2.03, which is the exact version number of the first publicly available Windows 2 release. cf. Windows Version History. Microsoft Knowledge Base, Document No. 32905. Last access date 22 July 2010.
  13. ^ Stuart J. Johnston: Pagemaker 3.0 Adds Support for Style Sheets. In: InfoWorld, Volume 10, Issue 22, 30 May 1988, page 20.
  14. ^ "Business - Aldus Releases Pagemaker Version - Seattle Times Newspaper".
  15. ^ "PageMaker 7 System requirements". Adobe. Archived from the original on 3 July 2007. Retrieved 27 June 2007.
  16. ^ "How Adobe Products Support Windows Vista" (PDF). Adobe. 12 February 2007. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  17. ^ Matthew Honan (1 June 2001). "Is 7 PageMaker's Lucky Number?". Macworld.
  18. ^ Ann Marsh (31 May 1999). "Pride goeth before destruction". Forbes. Archived from the original on 29 August 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  19. ^ Gretchen Peck (September 2004). "QuarkXPress versus Adobe InDesign". Digital Output. Archived from the original on 6 March 2014.
  20. ^ Galen Gruman (17 May 2004). "Adobe PageMaker Plug-in Pack". Macworld.
  21. ^ Jim Dalrymple (5 January 2004). "Adobe discontinues PageMaker dev, offers plug-ins for InDesign". Macworld.
  22. ^ "FAQ for Adobe PageMaker Users" (PDF). Adobe. 2005. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  23. ^ "InDesign CS2 Frequently Asked Questions" (PDF). Adobe. Retrieved 27 June 2007.
  24. ^ "The BYTE Awards". BYTE. January 1989. p. 327.


External links[edit]

  1. ^ Reference for Business Company History Index Information Technology Aldus Corporation - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Aldus Corporation 41 First Avenue South Seattle, Washington 98104-2871 U.S.A.