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iWeb tutorial: Creating print collateral with iWeb
by Tironius, created Saturday, January 20, 2007, with permalink

Top secret: create stunning hi-rez posters using Pages' little cousin, iWeb

Create posters and flyers that print beautifully using Apple's unintended document creation program, iWeb

It is extremely easy to create posters in Pages, Apple's best-of-breed document creation program for things like resumes, posters and flyers. At only $79, and combined with the Steve Jobsian visual aid Keynote, Apple's productivity package iWork is everything the commoner needs for self gratification.

That's all well and good, but what if you don't have it? Answer: iWeb. It has nearly the full range of features for design as Pages: you can import photos from iPhoto (or anywhere), rotate those images, and apply strokes, drop shadows, and reflections. Add lines, stars, arrows and any object that you find in Pages.

You are thinking: “Tironius, are you back on the crack? How can I print from iWeb, it's not meant for print!” Answers: “Yes,” and “It doesn't matter that it wasn't meant for printing, it does so beautifully. It is just as good as Pages! Now give me more crack.” We can thank Apple on this one; their attention to detail combined with the built-in functionality of OS X means that even little iWeb rocks the print. PDFing, too.

IWeb and Page's best feature is their text leading and kerning, which is more powerful—I'll contend—than pro apps like InDesign and Illustrator because of those sweet, sweet sliders. A designer can arbitrarily loosen and tighten line height and letter spacing. So, as I move the slider either left or right, I can watch the text-spacing loosen and tighten until I can instantly determine what is perfect. In Adobe products, for instance, I have to plug in a number. Then redo. Then redo again, until it is right. I think like iWeb thinks—visually.

Where Pages bests iWeb, however, is its ability to link text frames together so that words and paragraphs automatically flow from one to another, say, if you wanted two columns of text. In iWeb to achieve this same effect, the user would have to do it manually. It is this reason why iWeb should be limited to single-paged designs. But despite this, I dare my dear readers to compare the design prowess of each. Here is a similar poster design in Pages, where it was originally created, and iWeb.

And it all prints great

From a web-creation application, one would expect jagged low-rez lettering and pixellated photographs at only 72 dpi. From what I can tell, however, text is vector and imported photos seem to be of the original resolution. The tricky part is setting the page size in iWeb's Page inspector. From what I can tell, pixel resolution vs. page size is not an issue as it would be in, say, Photoshop. IWeb uses the original picture files as a resource for printing, similar to embedding a picture in InDesign. But what is important, instead of dpi, is the document page's proportion. For instance, to create a fake “Party On Campus” poster, I used the width of 850 pixels and a height of 1100 pixels. (Get it? 8.5 by 11 inches for a sheet of paper. Remember, think proportions.) Note: It seemed to help to keep a footer height of 50 pixels.

Even if you have Pages

For those smart enough to have picked iWork over Microsoft Office when buying their new “BlackBook” at their local Apple store, the two programs work beautifully together. Pages and iWeb speak each other's language. Copying and pasting from Pages, say, to iWeb is a dream: boxes, text frames, objects, even pictures just work. Need a resume to hand out at the interview and for web? Create it in Pages and copy it to iWeb. Copying in this manner, or just using iWeb outright, ensures a consistency between materials made for print and online.

The bottom line

I highly recommend the iWork package for users who want a document creation program combined with the most elegant presentation software around--especially for those who want a life outside of Office--but if a person is in a pinch, OR, they need materials to be completely identical for print and web, iWeb is the sleeper workhorse for posters, flyers, resumes, fax cover sheets, business letters...

Oh, and it also does web pages.