Print isn’t dead – not by a long shot. Business owners still
print promotional flyers. Performing arts venues still provide printed programs
to concert-goers. Organizations still distribute printed newsletters and
newspapers. (Personal confession: I still read the printed issue of the New
York Times every morning, even though I can read the same content on my laptop,
tablet or phone.) Print on paper persists.

Until recently, desktop publishing required desktop
software. As of November 2013, the two most widely adopted web suites lack
powerful page layout capabilities. Google Docs
still supports only a single column of text. Microsoft Publisher still exists
only as an installed desktop app.

Lucidpress

Lucidpress provides page layout for the web era in a web
app. There’s nothing to install. Just open a desktop web browser and login.
Importantly, Google Apps administrators can add Lucidpress from the Google Marketplace. This
makes the app available to people within the organization without an additional
login. (Lucidpress is free as of November 2013. Pricing will be
determined next year, and is expected to be similar to Lucidchart, which ranges
from free to around $50 per user per year for enterprise features. A free level
of Lucidpress that includes access to most of the service’s features will
remain available.)

Lucidpress can be added to Google Apps via the Google Marketplace and
connected to Google Drive

All the basic page layout tools and templates you might
expect are available. Choose your document page size and orientation. Add,
insert or move pages. Insert text or images anywhere on the page. Create
multiple text boxes, and then link the boxes together to allow text to flow
easily across multiple boxes on multiple pages. You might think of it as a
web-based alternative to Microsoft
Publisher
.

Lucidpress provides many project templates

Lucidpress works well with content from the web. Write an
article in Google Docs, and then insert the text of that article directly into
Lucidpress. Images work similarly: connecting Lucidpress with your Flickr,
Facebook or Dropbox account allows you to insert images stored on those
services into Lucidpress.

Lucidpress imports text from Google Docs and images from Dropbox, Facebook,
Flickr and Google image search

Lucidpress goes beyond simple page layout, though. It also
works well to create content native to the web: you can add links to other
pages or the web. You can insert scrolling areas that contain long-form text
articles, embed YouTube videos, and create image galleries of up to 15 images.
A sales document or annual report doesn’t have to just be text and individual
images: it also could include videos and sets of photos.


Also read: Five
Apps for better desktop publishing


Lucidpress also supports multi-user, real-time editing. As
with Google Docs, each collaborator can be allowed to view, comment or edit.
Document collaborators may also chat in real time, just like in Google Docs.
When a user selects an item, such as a text box or image, the item is outlined
in a distinct color assigned to the user, much like the colorful flags
displayed in Google Docs.

Like Google Docs, Lucidpress supports multi-user editing and chat. A bold
line displays to indicate which user has selected an item.

Completed Lucidpress projects can be exported, published or
embedded. For print, export your project to PDF format. (Lucidpress also
supports exporting to PNG or JPEG formats, which can be handy if you want to
use it to create an infographic.) For web-native digital projects, your
document receives a unique Lucidpress link, much like a Google Doc. Digital
projects retain their layout and display well on laptops, smartphones and
tablets.

Bottom line

For organizations moving to web apps, Lucidpress offers a
solid page layout solution that addresses print and digital document creation
needs. More importantly, Lucidpress transforms publishing from a serial to
parallel process (i.e., from one user working on one document on one desktop at
a time to many users working on one document from any browser at any time).
Desktop publishing is no longer restricted to the desktop, it’s moving to the
web.