Most helpful critical review
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Poor print quality for a product named Print Shop, a real step backwards
on November 7, 2013
I have used Print Shop since the very first version back in 1984. I have more than a thousand projects in my Print Shop folder on my computer. I have always appreciated the fact that version after version saved in the same format and my projects were always accessable. In many ways the print shop files are as valuable to me as our family photos since they are the history of our family's birthdays, events, cards, posters, school projects... I have birthday cards and posters from when my children were just a few years old all the way to today when they are adults. When I upgraded to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8 I found that .NET framework 1.1 (which Print Shop 23 requires) was no longer supported. In desperation, despite the horrible reviews on Amazon, I bought Print Shop 3.5 because it claimed limited import capability for my old files. To my pleasant surprise (the reviews are filled with horror stories of failed installations) I was able to download it and install it flawlessly. It is pretty easy to use and has most (not all) of the features of the previous Print Shops. I do miss the print size feature where you can print a project over multiple pages. (For my daughter's high school graduation 5 years ago I printed her picture 10 feet high and it covered the side of our house for her graduation party. That was cool!) It does supports text and graphic transparency which is a nice feature.
The screen layout has changed (as it does in every version) and feels more like the newest Word with the infamous "ribbon." It does successfully import my Print Shop 23 projects for which I am very thankful. Often the formatting is not quite right and the pieces have been moved around, but it is pretty easily fixable. For me the biggest disappointment is the print quality. I printed my projects from version 3.5 and version 23 and the 3.5 prints are blurry and jaggy. Printing them as jpegs, or pdf's first offers no improvement. Setting all the quality settings in the program and the printer to max does not improve the quality much. True type fonts and vector art should not look so bad. This is speculation on my part, but I think that it is handling all text as bitmap graphics. Features like being able to blur text and add fuzzy shadows around it make me think that is being handled by the program as a graphic and not as a scalable vector. If I am right about that then the print quality will never be what it was before. Hopefully this can be fixed in the next version because even my wife looked at the first project I printed and asked why it was blurry.
I think a program called Print Shop should really deliver quality at the printer and this program does not. It is disappointing because this program for almost 30 years has been one of my most used and most loved programs. I have purchased dozens of versions over the years and they always got better. This feels like a step backwards and actually makes me sad like a member of my family has grown old and gotten Alzheimer's.
To Encore support's credit they did send me instructions in less than 24 hours on how to "clean" .Net framework with a program called dotnetfx_cleanup_tool and reinstall version 1.1. Once I did that I was able to reinstall Print Shop 23 and am happily using it with Windows 8.1. I am told that it doesn't always work for everyone.