Desktop Publishing is different from word processing because while word processing is concerned first with the input of text and then with its formatting, desktop publishing is concerned primarily with page layout.
The most popular desktop publishing programs that are used by professionals include QuarkExpress, Adobe Pagemaker and InDesign, and Corel Ventura. Each of these is a rather expensive product with lots of features for manipulating page layout to get the exact effects required.
To provide the same capability in an online environment, Adobe have produced Acrobat which stores all of the necessary font and layout information to be able to exactly reproduce the document on any computer through the use of a freely available reader. This is unique in that the computer viewing the document does not even need to have the fonts loaded onto their system in order to be able to view the document exactly as it was created. This functionality is now also available over the internet and hyperlinks can be built into Acrobat documents. Unlike HTML which can display slightly differently depending on the browser, operating system, and fonts installed on the user's computer, pages in acrobat format display exactly the same on all systems all it needs is for the browser to support the acrobat plugin.
This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.