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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Desktop Publishing Operators and Related Occupations (1423)

Desktop publishing operators use computers to enter copy into a typesetting system or operate typesetting output equipment to produce text that is ready to print. They are employed by firms that specialize in typesetting, commercial printing companies, newspapers, magazines and in various establishments in the public and private sectors that have in-house printing departments. This unit group also includes markup persons and pre-flight operators.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read corrections to be made to text. (1)
  • Read instruction sheets which give specifications for various jobs, such as how to design and typeset a label, booklet or brochure. (2)
  • Read work orders and insertion sheets which give changes to work orders. (2)
  • Read trade magazine articles, journals and books on software and hardware to keep up-to-date with industry developments. (3)
  • Read and edit text in articles and announcements for effectiveness and correctness in spelling and grammar. (4)
  • Read computer manuals to troubleshoot and to learn about hardware and software. (4)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Read lists of job priorities. (1)
  • Read icons, images and menus on computer screens. (1)
  • Read and complete forms, such as invoices, work forms and order forms. (2)
  • Consult lists of font types and sizes in preparation for publishing products. (2)
  • Read printing deadline schedules. (2)
  • Use charts to convert between units of measurement, such as points, picas or inches. (2)
  • Read charts in trade magazines comparing computer hardware in regard to compatibility, speed, power and price. (3)
  • May refer to assembly drawings in computer manuals when setting up new equipment. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write notes to themselves as reminders and to organize their work. (1)
  • Complete written sections on work order forms. (2)
  • Write notes to co-workers describing the status of particular jobs or problems encountered. (2)
  • Copy-type text provided by others. (2)
  • May revise the writing of others when typesetting materials. (2)
  • May write memos, for example, to describe the uses of new software programs. (3)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • May total simple bills. (1)
  • May prepare invoices, including the calculation of taxes. (2)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • May schedule time to complete jobs. (2)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Measure, using a computer screen ruler, the dimensions of an amount of text to see if it will fit on a certain size of paper. (1)
  • Measure the size and calculate the area of text, images and charts and measure paper to determine where to set margins and columns and how to balance spacing. (2)
  • Convert measurements, such as picas and agates, to inches. (2)
  • Use precise measurements of text, figures and illustrations to draw original orders to scale and create master copies on the computer. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate font size and the size of images that will make products legible, effective and appealing to the reader. (1)
  • Estimate time and materials required when preparing quotes for customers. (2)
  • Estimate prices for jobs when preparing quotes, taking into account how long the job will take, the materials required and the quantity to be produced. A fair degree of precision is required. (3)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Receive instructions from sales or editorial staff regarding client orders. (1)
  • Give verbal instructions to co-workers about required changes to the layout of an ad or other product. (1)
  • Communicate with suppliers about the ordering of supplies and computer equipment. (1)
  • Report quotes, delivery times and job progress to managers. (1)
  • co-ordinate tasks with co-workers, particularly when working on different parts of the same job. (2)
  • Talk with their supervisor about projects, deadlines and computer applications. (2)
  • Provide job details to illustrators and copy writers. (2)
  • Attend staff meetings to discuss rates of production, procedures, goals, problems or changes in policy and to make specific recommendations. (2)
  • May present information to co-workers on newly implemented procedures or new computer software. (2)
  • Talk with clients to discuss how best to design desired products, clarify work specifications, give quotes and negotiate delivery dates and prices. (3)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • Correct technical problems, such as a negative being too hazy or a malfunctioning machine producing a flawed product. (2)
  • Encounter problems when customers make changes too close to the completion of the job. They must extend the due date, adjust the price or explain to the customer that the changes have been made too late. (2)
  • Determine the time and cost parameters of rework in cases where products have been printed with text errors. (2)
  • Face scheduling difficulties when subcontractors don't complete their work on time. The problem may be solved by hiring another subcontractor or adjusting their own schedule. (2)
  • Solve problems when machinery breaks down, by replacing or borrowing parts, calling repairmen or getting extensions on affected jobs. (2)
  • Solve software problems by troubleshooting or contacting their company's computer support staff. (3)
Decision Making
  • Make typesetting decisions such as what format and font to use when they have not already been specified. (1)
  • Make design decisions subject to the customer's approval, such as what colours to use and where to place images. (1)
  • Decide whether last minute change requests from customers are possible. (2)
  • May decide whether to modify existing templates on a database to create new products or to recommend designing new graphics and templates. (2)
  • Decide how to organize workloads on the basis of customer priorities, the time needed to complete jobs, other team members' schedules and due dates. (3)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Desktop publishing operators and workers in related occupations set their own schedules or obtain job assignments from supervisors. Schedules are often tight and closely related to the deadlines of publishers. Interruptions due to rush orders, questions from co-workers and customers and special assignments are frequent, leading to constant juggling of schedules. Schedules are co-ordinated with other co-workers such as typographers, scanners and proofreaders. (3)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember the measurement details of early sketches of layouts while composing advertisements.
  • Remember sketches from previous jobs saved on the computer which may be applied to new products being created.
  • Memorize key commands for a variety of software applications.
Finding Information
  • Consult electronic files by customer name, account or invoice number to find details on jobs. (1)
  • Contact clients, managers or other co-workers to clarify job requirements. (2)
  • May research symbols and illustrations in books and trade magazines to establish their applicability to client work orders. (2)
  • Use phone books or call servicers when seeking computer support or replacement computers. (2)
  • Draw comparative information from many manuals and suppliers when evaluating what new computer equipment should be purchased. (3)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • They use e-mail to transfer files to print shops or publishers. (2)
  • They write reports and prepare camera-ready text copy. (3)
  • They draw upon material stored in a database in order to adapt it into a new product. (3)
  • They use software such as Harvard Graphics, Corel Draw and Aldus PageMaker to design, desktop publish and produce camera-ready material for printing. (4)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Desktop publishing operators and workers in related occupations mainly work independently. They may work as members of a team with pressmen, artists and copywriters.

Continuous Learning

Desktop publishing operators and workers in related occupations have an ongoing need to learn. Learning new software programs and design techniques is particularly important.

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