For the last few hours I have been fighting with the adjustments required to make a Word Document work for a client. They created a 20-odd page document to be contstructed into PDF format (my job) for their web site. Wait, that's wrong. They created 20-odd documents to represent a newletter. Although I know I could re-create the document appropriately, I really don't want to invest the time. I would rather find out that the customer invested $30 in a Word for Dummies book (not that they are stupid).
The products available to the consumer are many, too many it may seem, and very costly for the most part. Mainstream products are expensive and do not offer try-before-you-buy as Shareware does. Open source projects and Shareware allow for a cheap alternative, but rarely go far enough because the backing is not there. Basement programmers are not known for their skills in user interface development or support.
Microsoft Word (I'm using and referring to the Office 2000 version) is not a desktop publishing tool. It is a word processor, albeit very advanced in that role. It does wonderful columns and handles graphics well. It can be forced into being a desktop publishing applcation, but it's unpleasant. The Microsoft alternative is Publisher, a free alternative is OpenOffice.org (an open source alternative).
I'm still not sure what I'm going to do to create this PDF correctly, but I may simply buy a book for the creator and hope for the best.