capsule review

Scrapbook Design Studio

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Scrapbook Design Studio

Scrapbook Design Studio is a basic page layout program with built-in templates and a large library of clip art and page backgrounds to choose from. The program is fairly easy to use, yet its functionality is hampered by odd design decisions and inconsistent behavior.

This program doesn't seem very well thought out, and I ran into several issues while testing; I'll mention a few of them here. The interface is cluttered with menus and toolbars that duplicate functions. And while you can use a Properties box to resize a graphic, you can't lock in the aspect ratio. It's challenging to resize images without distorting them. Another oddity: While the Web site copy says that you can edit images, you can only rotate them or adjust the color and contrast; you can't crop them. Finally, the first time you import an image, you're directed to a Graphics folder that holds supplied clip art and other images. To import one of your photos, you navigate from the Graphics folder (buried in Program Files) to your collection. The next time you want to import clip art, you need to navigate your hard drive to ferret out the Graphics directory. A dedicated Graphics button would have been useful.

In addition, the program seems to be a bit buggy. For example, you're supposed to be able to click images and text boxes and drag them to reposition them on the page, or click and drag little black boxes to resize an element. However, this functionality sometimes stops working--clicking just causes the black boxes to flash on and off, and dragging does nothing.

Despite its name, Scrapbook Design Studio doesn't strike me as terribly useful for scrapbooks, which incorporate personal memorabilia. You can certainly create colorful photo pages with clip art, then have them printed and bound at a copy shop--but this seems clunky when there are easy-to-use sites like Shutterfly and Snapfish that produce bound photo books. Scrapbook Design Studio seems more useful for creating one-off photo montages, invitations, greeting cards, and the like; you could also create electronic photo books or greeting cards in PDF format, or save single-page creations as digital images to share with friends and family. Home users and hobbyists may well enjoy Scrapbook Design Studio, if they don't mind its quirks.

The trial version does not expire, but adds a "Trial Version" stamp to printouts and files. Paying the $30 license fee removes this notice. Be sure to use the trial version for a while before paying for a license, however.

--Kim Saccio-Kent

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Scrapbook Design Studio

  
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