Desktop Publishing

What Does Desktop Publishing Mean?

Desktop publishing (DTP) refers to the use of a digital desktop for laying out and constructing documents. The term is sometimes used to refer to processes that allow printing out paper copies of documents in a localized hardware scenario. It may also refer simply to the creation and construction of digital documents on a desktop.


Desktop publishing is also known as computer-aided publishing.

Techopedia Explains Desktop Publishing

There are many aspects of today’s modern technologies that support DTP. Some of these started with tools like word processors that allowed for the ever-more-sophisticated creation of letter documents and communications templates (such as letterheads and other stationery items). Over time, other tools were added that allow for the direct insertion of tables, charts, graphs, pictures and numerous other enhancements to a text document or for tagging the functional elements (title, author, etc.) of a business or government document.

Today’s DTP has gone even further, with new advancements such as DocuSign technologies, where the DTP system facilitates remote signatures. In terms of layout and typography, there are also many advances in the graphic design aspect of document creation, all of which can be referred to as progressions in DTP. These days, desktop computers have allowed many individuals, companies and agencies to self-publish all sorts of documents, from brochures and marketing documents to transactional business documents, without utilizing the services of a high-volume print company.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.