Easy Card 3.1, by Script Software
Posted: 3-Apr-2005

4 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Script Software Type: SHAREWARE

Reviewer: J. R. Wildridge Class: PRODUCTIVITY
     
$30   Download

Overview
Easy Card is a simple, straight-forward application to quickly create greeting cards. The publisher points out the average U.S. household purchases 35 greeting cards per year from stores. At $5 per, that totals $175. Easy Card is a low-cost alternative, which also allows you to customize your cards. Easy Card allows you to use your digital photos and it works well with iPhoto. My wife and I created several sample cards quickly and easily.

Requirements

  • Any Mac with OS 10.2 or higher -OR-
  • Any PC running Windows XP

Cost

$30 (48-day trial version available for download)

Set-Up
The software downloads as a disk image (1.6 MB); double-clicking the image then installs the package onto your hard drive. That's all there is to it.

In Use
Creating your own customized greetings is easy with Easy Card. You don't have to be artistically inclined to use this software and create beautiful cards. Script Software offers a variety of down-loadable templates of pre-designed cards and pictures. Prewritten messages are also available. For the artistically inclined, you can use your own graphics and text, and/or revise the ones that come with the software. After creating a card, you can print, address, or e-mail your newly created professional looking card to anyone you choose.

Upon launching Easy Card, the welcome screen informs you of upcoming events. A standard set of events (e.g., U.S. holidays, reminders, etc.) are provided with the software. You can also customize this list, adding or subtracting your personal events. This feature of the software serves as a great reminder to create and send your cards at various times during the year, for the next week and up to six months in advance.


Easy Card window


The four buttons along the left side represent: print, open previously created cards, check on-line for pre-existing templates, and a history of cards you've emailed out.

Assuming you want to create a new card, you start with a blank white page. You can customize the background by adding different shapes or pictures, which can be shaded, colored, etc.. You can also add effects to the background objects, adding transparency, rotating or inverting the object, and more. Text can also be added to the background in a variety of styles and effects. For example, a Valentines Day card might have multiple red hearts on a pink background.


Easy Card Effects for Background, Images, and Text

You will also want to specify the size and layout for the card, and for this you click on the "Setup" button (or choose "Card Setup" from the File menu). For Size, you can specify to use the size called out in Page Setup (typically 8.5" x 11"), specific sizes of Red River paper, or a custom size. Under Layout, you can specify how many folds (double, single, or none), and where the fold should be.


Easy Card Setup


Once the background is established, an image can then be imported from your iPhoto library, downloaded from Script Software's on-line library, or any other digital image you have stored on your computer. In our example, we imported a digital photo to serve as the main theme for the card. A variety of effects can also be applied (same as for the background).

Your message is then added to complete the card. Text can be created in multiple styles, including 3-D speech captions and thought bubbles. If you can't think of any clever text, Script Software provides some pre-written messages for your consideration.


Easy Card - Card Editor

By default, each card opens with a background, blank image, and blank text. The "Add" (+) button allows you to add additional layers to the card, such as shapes, more images and more text. The "shapes" feature lets you add tokens such as stars, flowers, hearts, etc., to add an element of "spice" to your project. Additional images let you create a collage, and additional text layers lets you have combination of fonts and styles, as well as text that is horizontal mized with vertical.

The default card setup is such that the printed cards fold over and down, providing four editable sections: a front page, inside left and right pages, and a back page. For each section, you can provide a different set of layers for text, shapes and images. When the layout is changed, the section size and descriptions change accordingly.


Card Sections for double fold, left size fold



The front of one of our sample cards is shown below: The inside left for sample card was blank. The inside right for our sample card follows: Finally, the back page allows you to add your own card logo or signature, if desired. Our sample is shown below:




Easy Card also provides support for Red River Paper's high-quality card stock, including post cards, so you are not limited to using only paper sizes that your printer offers. Envelopes can also be printed from Easy Card. For printing, there is a Preference section for "Printer Calibration" that allows you to adjust X and Y offsets to help ensure that the cards are aligned properly for the card stock being used.


Easy Card Printer Calibration

Cards can also be sent electronically, as an e-mail picture or via any Bluetooth-enabled device. When using the email option, it uses the email account settings you specify under Preferences and emails the card directly from within Easy Card. However, the actual file that gets emailed is a JPEG of only the front page.

Mac OS X advantages:

  • Apple Mail support - Greeting cards can be sent from within Apple Mail.
  • Send your greeting card to your cell phone - With a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone you can send your card directly to someone's MMS-capable cell phone.
  • Address your envelopes without having to enter the address - Easy Card works with Apple Address Book to make it easier to enter addresses on your envelopes.
  • Support for iPhoto - browse and choose from your iPhoto library with full support for albums.
  • iSight support - Easy Card works with iSight, so you can easily add photos to your project.


The interface was not as Mac Savvy as I would have liked. There were very few keyboard shortcuts, with most of the options contained in drop-down boxes or buttons. Oddly, not even the Delete key was functional (to delete an object, you had to use the "Remove" button. Highlighting and editing in Easy Card was not as easy to accomplish as it is in other Mac applications. For example, when you paste in more than one graphic, there are no options to move one graphic behind another one (same with text and shapes objects).

There are also some interface quarks that need to be cleaned up.
Pressing cancel while loading a template appears to confuse the program. After the cancel, loading another template directly after causes the progress bar to jump around sporadically, and the template that is loaded is the prior template that was supposively canceled. Before I had any cards saved, Easy Card showed a blank card in my list of cards, and after deleting that card, a window displayed referring to a ".DS_Store" file, and I was unable to quit from Easy Card after that point (requiring a force quit).


Quarky behavior against a .DS_Store file

Some parts of the interface simply did not appear to be working. For example, after I deleted a graphic that I didn't mean to delete, I wanted to undo the action. Even though the Undo option shows as enabled in the menu, it did not undo anything. Likewise, there was a menu option for opening recent, but no matter how many cards I opened or saved, the open recent list was always empty. Lastly, when you go to check for a new version of Easy Card, the window says that it's checking for a new version of "iWatermark" (a different Script Software product).

Summary
As everyone knows, buying printed cards is expensive. Easy Card 3 is an application designed to create your own personal greeting cards for any occasion. Creating a card is relatively simple, although working with the editor was somewhat clunky. You can create your own background, import pictures, and add your messages in a variety of styles. If you are short on ideas, you can choose from a multitude of templates to get you started. A set of templates is included with the installation and many more are available from the publisher's website. Once your card is complete, it can be printed and mailed traditionally, or you can utilize more instantaneous delivery methods such as electronic mail and Bluetooth-enabled wireless devices. My wife and I have been creating cards for years, and we found Easy Card to be one of the best and easiest greeting card programs available.

Pros

  • Straightforward to use
  • Integration with OS X apps iPhoto, iSight and Address Book
  • Printing was fast and easy
  • Electronic delivery options


Cons

  • Some interface quarks
  • Not all menu functions appear to work
  • Email option does not email entire card, only front page
  • Strange bug associated with ".DS_Store" file


Overall Rating

4 out of 5 Mice