I finally gave in to the 'experts' on this forum, who see no alternative to dumping PageMaker and 'upgrading' to Indesign. I've been using a trial version of InDesign for several days now. Sadly, for me it lacks important functionality compared with PageMaker.
Two PageMaker functions that are essential to me, but seem not to be supported by InDesign:
1. Paste-Link Powerpoint slides. InDesign cannot link to individual slides. I have a training manual in PageMaker, into which I have Paste-Linked each slide next to appropriate text - anyone using PowerPoint (PP) knows how limited is its ability to do this. In PM, if I change a PP slide, it automatically updates in PageMaker, but there is no way to achieve this in InDesign. OK, I have to use PowerPoint 2000, because PM won't accept later Office files, but at least it works. I had assume that InDesign would solve this problem for me, but this lack makes it almost useless for me.
2. PM obeys the Distiller settings when producing PDFs, including instructions regarding (not) embedding fonts. InDesign ignores this part of the settings, and always embeds ALL fonts, resulting a a 28KB file becoming 240KB! Yes, I can shrink this in Acrobat, but that's another step. Why?
The folks here keep on telling us that InDesign can read PM files. Sadly as far as I have been able to determine, this is only true in a Windows XP Sp2 machine. It is NOT possible under Windows 7, or even the latest XP service pack. The only way is to find an old XP machine, downgrade to Sp2 by uninstalling Sp3, and use this! Hardly practical for most of us!
The folks here also tell us that PM won't run on Windows 7. I have PM running quite well on my Windows 7 32 bit machine. The problem as earlier noted is that it cannot place the latest MS Office files. For text, I just save as a Word 6.0/95 Document. This limits (slightly) the formats, but in general is no problem. The correct PM filter, and an additional text converter file for the later versions of Word may be needed. However, there is no simple work around for PowerPoint, other than installing PowerPoint 2000 - if you're still using PM, you've probably got a copy of this somewhere. It can be installed together with later versions, but is best installed first. Also of note is that the earlier versions of the Distiller will not allow printing from other applications (there are many free programs that can do this) but export to PDF from PM still works fine.
The better solution for most of us is to use a free Virtual Machine such as the VMware VMPlayer, install Windows XP on this together with PM and Office 2000. It takes only a few moments to power up the VM, and you can drag'n'drop back and forth to the VM. Again, most probably you have an old copy of XP lying around, but I understand it can still be purchased. Not a perfect solution, but one that will satisfy me for a few more years.
Bottom line: PM continues to do what I want to do, despite having to use some work arounds. As far as I can tell, there is no way I can do what I want to do with InDesign.
If I am mis-selling InDesign, I apologize, and look forward to being corrected.