Swift Publisher 5.5 review: Affordable DTP software for Mac expands design options

Desktop publishing software now with the ability to quickly create and print disc labels, inserts, labels, envelopes, business cards, and more.

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BeLight Software

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At a Glance

As someone who still burns a fair amount of DVDs and Blu-rays, I was alarmed to discover my favorite Mac applications for printing disc labels have been either abandoned entirely (R.I.P. Disclabel) or become victims of the macOS Catalina 32-bit “app-ocalypse” (Disc Cover). Thankfully, BeLight Software comes to the rescue by incorporating the latter into their already awesome page layout software.

Editor's note: Updated 10/28/2019; This review previously stated that Disc Cover 3 files could not be opened by Swift Publisher. A software update was released to add this functionality.

Labels and more

A free update for owners of version 5.0, Swift Publisher 5.5 adds a ton of awesome functionality to the most capable and affordable Mac desktop publishing software. This $20 app already gave the likes of Adobe InDesign a run for its money with two-page spreads, unlimited layers, master pages, rich text tools, and print/export of projects in RGB or CMYK color modes for home or professional service bureaus.

swift publisher 5.5 disc design IDG

Swift Publisher 5.5 adds the ability to create label designs for optical media, then print directly to disc with supported hardware.

Now it’s even better, thanks to the ability to print labels, envelopes, business cards, and other types of folded or flat cards using built-in templates from Avery and leading vendors. Whether doing a mail merge from Contacts, printing barcode labels (UPC, ISBN, and QC are among those supported), or creating customized business cards from more than 60 ready-made designs, Swift Publisher deftly handles it all.

Of course, one could create nearly any type of layout from scratch with previous versions, and the blank page option remains available in every category. What makes this update impressive are the sheer number of attractive, one-click designs available from the built-in Template Gallery, and not just labels and cards. There are CD, DVD, or Blu-ray inserts; booklets; jewel box covers; case wraps; and even VHS tape face/spine labels or covers for those who want to party like it’s 1999.

swift publisher 5.5 template gallery disc IDG

Swift Publisher 5.5 includes a robust gallery of ready-made templates for all kinds of print needs, including optical media.

Jack of all discs

The exhaustive list of media supported in Swift Publisher 5.5 includes CD/DVD labels, which can be printed on old-school adhesive sheets or directly to disc using printers from Canon, Epson, HP, and others. Happily, the list of compatible hardware includes my aging Primera Disc Publisher SE, which means I can continue pumping out high-quality, full-color disc labels for years to come.

One admittedly minor quibble is that default disc layouts don’t take into account full-coverage printing, where ink is applied all the way to the inner spindle hole. However, you can easily adjust dimensions manually from the Inspector panel, then save that project as a custom template for future use.

swift publisher 5.5 folded card BeLight Software

Get ready for the holidays by designing custom folded cards that can be printed at home or through online service bureaus.

It’s also worth noting that although Dymo DiscPainter is supported, the company’s popular label printers are notably absent—something that will hopefully be addressed in a future update.

Bottom line

Swift Publisher 5.5 is an absolute must-have update to our favorite inexpensive Mac desktop publishing software which makes it easier than ever to design and print labels, envelopes, cards, disc media, and much more.

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At a Glance
  • Swift Publisher 5.5 is an easy to use, all-in-one desktop publishing solution for Mac users on a budget, now with the ability to quickly create and print disc labels, inserts, labels, envelopes, business cards, and more.

    Pros

    • Affordable, full-featured desktop publishing alternative to Adobe InDesign
    • Direct to disc printing
    • Built-in templates for disc media, labels, envelopes, cards

    Cons

    • No support for Dymo label printers
    • Default layouts require manual tweaking for full coverage disc printing
  
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