MacDirectory Magazine

Adobe Creative Suite

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 47 of 115

REVIEW MAIL DESIGNER WORDS BY TREY YANCY Once a template is chosen, the user is free to change or delete any object. The inspector palette offers a large number of drag-and-drop building blocks in tabbed categories, including text objects, picture objects and spacers, various combinations of text and pictures, violators and shapes, patterned and solid fills, and a photo browser to which you can add linked folders of photos from your local machine. You assemble your document by dragging various layout objects into the composition window and stacking them from top to bottom. You can rearrange them, insert other objects between existing objects, and so on. You can drag photos directly into the background or into a generic object or double click on a canned picture object and drag a photo into the object, resizing and repositioning as you wish. You also bring in photos by linking to your built-in camera or an attached scanner. Text boxes automatically expand as you add copy, stretching the document as well. Objects are supported by a control bar that pops up when you click on the item, with the tools varying according to context, such as fill, web link, etc. Once you are satisfied with your document you can click on an icon to insert the finished result into a new message in Apple Mail or you can upload it to an online email service such as MailChimp. Mail Designer can have multiple documents open at once, which is handy for creating multiple versions of a document, such as one for prospects and another for clients. One clever trick is to create a "grandpa's attic" document and fill it with often used photos, text and art, and then drag contents into a new document at will. Hands-On Mail Designer is easy to learn and is fairly straightforward but there are a few quirks. For example, you need to click on a picture object first, rather than simply dropping a photo on the placeholder. Also, when you right click on an object, you get different choices than are available by clicking on the object. When you need to send out an email blast, running to a dedicated web development program is not an option for most people. What you need is a fast, intuitive WYSIWYG application that allows you to work fast and to combine photos, art and text in a format that looks great, works well with your email program and third party mail services, and generates email blasts that display properly. Mail Designer is exactly this. Bearing a notable resemblance to certain yapp's, Mail Designer provides a friendly interface with all the tools readily at hand and with a floating tabbed inspector palette stuffed with all the components you need to create your document immediately at hand. Upon launching Mail Designer you are presented with a template browser divided into two libraries: My Library, which includes categories for announcements, birthday, photos, sentiments and stationery, and a Stationery Packs library for other templates, which you can click on for an instant purchase). It also offers a pair of standalone categories: My Designs (the default location for user projects) and Design Ideas (a sampling of templates from the other libraries and collections). Users can also create categories of their own. The browser offers an animated interface that adds to the user- friendly feel of the application. We tried several mailings in batches ranging between fifty and two hundred, with no problems. We also emailed a document to a colleague on a PC using Outlook and they were able to send out a blast as well, second hand. We did encounter a few issues with recipients who had set their email apps to ignore HTML email and photos, so if you want to ensure that your blast is received properly, it might be an idea to send out a plain text message ahead of time to alert recipients to enable this type of document. Overall, we found Mail Designer to be fast, easy and efficient, but we did find ourselves chafing a bit at certain restrictions, such as the inability to tweak the rotation of a photo placeholder. Such limitations aside, this is a great app at a reasonable price that will enable novices and pros alike to generate great looking email documents. Product > Made by > Price > Pros > Cons > Rating > Mail Designer Equinux $69.99, with Stationery Pack Business Edition $99.99 Easy, self-contained output Occasional quirks, fairly rigid 46 MacDirectory

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