Desktop Publisher Career Description


Desktop publishers use computer software to design page layouts for items that are printed or published online.

What they do

Desktop publishers typically do the following:

  • Review text, graphics, or other materials created by writers and designers
  • Edit graphics, such as photographs or illustrations
  • Import text and graphics into publishing software
  • Integrate images and text to create cohesive pages
  • Adjust text properties, such as size, column width, and spacing
  • Revise layouts and make corrections as necessary
  • Submit or upload final files for printing or online publishing

Desktop publishers use publishing software to create page layouts for print or electronic publication. They may edit text by correcting its spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

Desktop publishers often work with other design, media, or marketing workers, including writers, editors, and graphic designers. For example, they work with graphic designers to come up with images that complement the text and fit the available space.

Work Environment

Many desktop publishers work full time, and they may need to work additional hours to meet publication deadlines.

How to become a Desktop Publisher

Desktop publishers usually need an associate degree. They also receive short-term on-the-job training, lasting about one month.

Desktop publishers usually need an associate degree, often in graphic design or graphic communications. Community colleges and technical schools offer desktop-publishing courses, which teach students how to create electronic page layouts and format text and graphics with the use of desktop-publishing software.

Desktop publishers typically receive short-term on-the-job training lasting about 1 month. They learn by working closely with more experienced workers or by taking classes that teach them how to use desktop-publishing software. Workers often need to continue training because publishing software changes over time.


The median annual wage for desktop publishers was $45,390 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,850, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $78,190.

Job Outlook

Employment of desktop publishers is projected to decline 19 percent from 2019 to 2029.  Desktop publishing is commonly used to design printed materials, such as advertisements, brochures, newsletters, and forms. Companies are expected to hire fewer desktop publishers, however, as other types of workers—such as graphic designers, web designers, and editors—increasingly perform desktop-publishing tasks.

Similar Job Titles

Advertising Associate, Art Director, Computer Typesetter, Creative Director, Desktop Publishing Specialist, Electronic Console Display Operator, Electronic Imager, Mac Operator, Production Manager

Related Occupations

Web Developer, Computer User Support Specialist, Web Administrator, Audio and Video Equipment Technician, Sound Engineering Technician

More Information

The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field.  Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas.  As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.

Magazines and Publications

Video Transcript

When a company hears its website is hard to read… or needs a brochure for a new product… they call on the skills of a desktop publisher to make their content appear easy to read, attractive, and engaging. Desktop publishers use design software to create page layouts for print or electronic publications, including newspapers, books, and reports or studies. They combine text and images to create a coherent design that conveys the intended message and grabs the reader’s attention. Desktop publishers may also edit text… correcting spelling, punctuation, and grammar. They tend to work on teams with other creative workers —such as writers, editors, and graphic designers— collaborating to prepare a cohesive design, often under strict deadlines. Desktop publishers work in a variety of industries, including many related to publishing and printing. Many work full time and may need to work additional hours when publication deadlines require it. For most positions, desktop publishers need an associate’s degree in graphic design or graphic communications, including courses on desktop publishing software that feature electronic page layouts and text and graphics formatting. A brief period of on-the-job training to learn the employer’s desktop publishing software is typical.

Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH,
CareerOneStop, O*Net Online