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Desktop Publisher

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What is a Desktop Publisher?

Job Description & Duties Format typescript and graphic elements using computer software to produce publication-ready material.

Life As a Desktop Publisher

  • Enter text into computer keyboard and select the size and style of type, column width, and appropriate spacing for printed materials.
  • Study layout or other design instructions to determine work to be done and sequence of operations.
  • Convert various types of files for printing or for the Internet, using computer software.
  • Collaborate with graphic artists, editors and writers to produce master copies according to design specifications.
  • Select number of colors and determine color separations.
  • Position text and art elements from a variety of databases in a visually appealing way to design print or web pages, using knowledge of type styles and size and layout patterns.

Desktop Publisher Required Skills

Below is a list of the skills most Desktop Publishers say are important on the job.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Types of Desktop Publisher

  • Editor
  • Electronic Console Display Operator
  • Electronic Pagination System Operator
  • Creative Director
  • Prepress Supervisor

Desktop Publisher Job Outlook

There were about 14,600 jobs for Desktop Publisher in 2016 (in the United States). There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Desktop Publisher. The BLS estimates 1,200 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Desktop Publishers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Desktop Publisher are Washington, Maryland, and Alaska. Watch out if you plan on working in Missouri, Kansas, or Kentucky. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Desktop Publisher Average Salary

The typical yearly salary for Desktop Publishers is somewhere between $22,770 and $75,120.

Salary Ranges for Desktop Publishers

Desktop Publishers who work in Massachusetts, Connecticut, or California, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Desktop Publishers in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $37,670
Arizona $38,680
California $56,370
Colorado $53,330
Connecticut $55,500
Florida $41,920
Georgia $49,220
Illinois $38,610
Indiana $34,390
Iowa $38,640
Kansas $33,050
Kentucky $35,850
Louisiana $33,390
Maine $35,220
Maryland $56,770
Massachusetts $58,000
Michigan $44,230
Minnesota $45,830
Missouri $41,620
Nebraska $32,970
New Hampshire $38,980
New Jersey $47,800
New Mexico $50,250
New York $55,260
North Carolina $47,470
Ohio $41,720
Oklahoma $41,000
Oregon $45,810
Pennsylvania $41,440
South Carolina $37,080
Tennessee $44,850
Texas $43,950
Utah $43,040
Vermont $42,630
Virginia $50,600
Washington $46,080
Wisconsin $50,090

Tools & Technologies Used by Desktop Publishers

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Desktop Publishers may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Hypertext markup language HTML
  • JavaScript
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Python
  • jQuery
  • Microsoft Access
  • MySQL
  • Word processing software
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Microsoft Project
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • Microsoft Visual Basic

How do I Become a Desktop Publisher?

What education or degrees do I need to become a Desktop Publisher?

Desktop Publisher Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Desktop Publisher?

Desktop Publisher Work Experience

Where Desktop Publishers Are Employed

Desktop Publisher Sectors

The table below shows the approximate number of Desktop Publishers employed by various industries.

Desktop Publisher Industries

Those thinking about becoming a Desktop Publisher might also be interested in the following careers:

Career changers with experience as a Desktop Publisher sometimes find work in one of the following fields:


Image Credit: Auburn University College of Architecture, Design and Construction via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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