Xtags streamlines production process for hundreds of newspapers and magazines with Pre1

August 25, 2012 by

Mark Jockin, CEO of Pre1 Software in Portland, Oregon explains how Em Software’s Xtags product became a backbone of the Pre1 newspaper software sold to hundreds of publications across the Americas.

pre1-casestudy-figure4In 1999, Pre1 first sold its newspaper software to an alternative newsweekly in Portland, Oregon. Today, more than 400 titles are printed using Pre1’s SmartPublisher, with more coming online each month. By now, literally millions of ads have been converted into print. Xtags made it all possible.

Pre1’s mission is to streamline workflow for publications by integrating into one product multiple business processes vital to newspaper and magazine publishers. For the most part, every publication works the same. The sales reps sell ads, the accountants collect money, and the production department builds the ads. When deciding how to unite these various disciplines in a single software product for newspapers and magazines, Pre1’s challenge was which technologies to count on to get the job done.

(Click on any graphic for a larger version.)

For contact management, sales, accounting and reporting, we chose to build a custom FileMaker solution. A big piece of the puzzle, however, was converting largely unformatted classified ad data into stylized output designers would be proud of.

We’ve all seen the back of various publications on the newsstand: the classified ads are filled with different fonts, sizes, images, borders, highlighting, you name it. To handle all the different possibilities Pre1 needed a highly adaptable solution.

Using Xtags, SmartPublisher offers extremely configurable output satisfying the needs of a host of newspapers and magazines:

Designers set the look and feel of their classified ads by entering familiar production settings or style names:

Ad takers then select the options the advertiser would like to see such as borders, backgrounds, images, bolding, font and size, etc.:

At press time the entire classified section can be exported with one click and imported into either QuarkXPress or InDesign using Em’s Xtags plugin, yielding pages of ads with almost no work by the design team. It’s truly a thing of beauty!


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