The original in the series, Pagemaker was a simple 40x25 screen layout utility. It allowed you to place characters anywhere on the page and save or the result. Though uncomplicated, the program's basic premise was sufficiently good that Scull PD could produce its catalogues in it as a form of primitive desktop publishing. Like the rest of the series, Pagemaker was written in BASIC.
The next development was Pagemaker Plus, which took the same principle but applied it to a 70-line scrolling MODE 2 page. When printed out, this made a good A5 layout.
Still character-only, the program did include some extra refinements such as double-height text (for headlines). There were no graphics facilities but simple layouts could be achieved by using the bars and blocks of the CPC's characters 128-255.
Pagemaker Plus received enthusiastic reviews in the CPC press as the first true public domain desktop publishing program.
Pagemaker Plus-T was a slightly adapted version of Pagemaker Plus for the Amstrad Action covertape. Certain functionality was removed so that it would work from tape. However, some 664/6128-only commands were left in, making the exercise a little pointless.
Pagemaker Deluxe was the last in the series and a significant leap above the earlier ones. It was 128k only, and sold as homebrew software for £5 rather than being released as PD.
PMD had the same screen size as Pagemaker Plus, but a fully graphical page. This was largely achieved by use of Bankman. Unusually, the screen display was overscan, achieved through the use of a type-in program from Amstrad Computer User. (This program provided vertical overscan only, achieved through the standard hardware splitting technique.) Other features included proportionally-spaced text and simple drawing commands.
The program had its own, non-standard clip art format, .CLP. A separate utility included on the disc enabled users to convert the more standard .CUT format (as devised for Stop Press) to .CLP files. This was the cause of some argument as the .CUT reader was originally written by ChaRleyTroniC, who maintained that Alan had used it without permission, and Tim Blackbond.
PMD received an ecstatic write-up in Amstrad Action, appearing as the main cover feature under the headline "DTP for a fiver?". A very similar program, Advanced DTP by Geoff Smith, appeared at the same time and even used the same ACU type-in to achieve overscan. PMD enjoyed a brief period of success, being used for the layout of issue 2 of Artificial Intelligence among others, until it was largely supplanted by the 64k-compatible, public domain PowerPage.