Silver - Unit 12 - Desktop Publishing


Relevant LINKS


Handbook home page


This is the ability to use a software application designed for the creation, editing and production of documents containing images and text. This unit is about the skills and knowledge required by an IT User to use a range of basic desktop publishing tools and techniques to produce appropriate, straightforward or routine documents. Any aspect that is unfamiliar will require support and advice from others.

Word processing tools and techniques will described as ‘basic’ because:
the software tools and functions will be predetermined or commonly used; and
the techniques needed for text entry, manipulation and outputting will be straightforward or routine
Word processing tools and techniques will described as ‘basic’ because:
the software tools and functions will be predetermined or commonly used; and
the techniques needed for text entry, manipulation and outputting will be straightforward or routine.Word processing tools and techniques will described as ‘basic’ because:
Desktop publishing tools and techniques will described as ‘basic’ because:
  • the software tools and functions will be predetermined or commonly used; and
  • the techniques needed for text and image entry, manipulation and outputting will be straightforward or routine.
Example of context: Using editing tools to produce published pages for displaying on the internet or printing such as a description of some aspects of their work.

Activities supporting the assessment of this award

Assessor's guide to interpreting the criteria

General Information

QCF general description for Level 1 qualifications

  • Achievement at QCF level 1 (EQF Level 2) reflects the ability to use relevant knowledge, skills and procedures to complete routine tasks. It includes responsibility for completing tasks and procedures subject to direction or guidance.
  • Use knowledge of facts, procedures and ideas to complete well-defined, routine tasks. Be aware of information relevant to
    the area of study or work.

  • Complete well-defined routine tasks. Use relevant skills and procedures. Select and use relevant information. Identify whether actions have been effective.

  • Take responsibility for completing tasks and procedures subject to direction or guidance as needed.


  • Standards must be confirmed by a trained Silver Level Assessor or higher.

  • Assessors must at a minimum record assessment judgements as entries in the on-line mark book on the Markbook Site.

  • Routine evidence of work used for judging assessment outcomes in the candidates' records of their day to day work will be available from their e-portfolios and on-line work. Assessors should ensure that relevant web pages are available to their account manager on request by supply of the URL.

  • When the candidate provides evidence of matching all the criteria to the specification subject to the guidance below, the assessor can request the award using the link on the certification site. The Account Manager will request a random sample of evidence from candidates' work that verifies the assessor's judgement.

  • When the Account Manager is satisfied that the evidence is sufficient to safely make an award, the candidate's success will be confirmed and the unit certificate will be printable from the web site.

  • This unit should take an average level 1 learner 30 hours of work to complete.

Assessment Method

Assessors can score each of the criteria L, S, H. N indicates no evidence and is the default starting position. L indicates some capability but secure capability has not yet been achieved and some help is still required. S indicates that the candidate can match the criterion to its required specification. H indicates performance that goes beyond the expected in at least some aspects. Candidates are required to achieve at least S on all the criteria to achieve the unit.

Expansion of the assessment criteria

1. The candidate will select and use appropriate designs and page layouts for publications.

1.1 I can identify what types of information are needed

Candidates should show that they can identify particular types of information, e.g. from a provided list or from search results, for documents relevant to their work.

Evidence: from documents produced by candidates and or centre devised tests/tasks
Additional information and guidance
Types of information might include text or graphic sources, information that is free to use (relate to licensing and copyright) information that supports a particular view or perspective, information that counters a particular argument or claim.  There should be some spread and variation across several documents in work submitted for evidence.

 1.2 I can identify what page design and layout will be required.

Best practice is for the candidate to identify at least 3 documents that use different page layout templates or designs as appropriate for their particular work
Evidence: candidate files and or centre devised tests/tasks
Additional information and guidance
Templates should be fit for the purpose used. e.g. multi-columns for a news article, A4 portrait letterhead for a letter, landscape for a planning table. Generally templates will be simple and readily available and assessors can provide guidance in their actual implementation. 

1.3 I can select and use an appropriate page design and layout for publications in line with local guidelines, where relevant.

Best practice is for the candidate to submit at least 3 documents that use different page layout templates or designs they identified as appropriate for their particular work taking into account any local guidelines.
Evidence: Assessor observations and candidate documents.
Additional information and guidance
A simple but attractive and clearly laid out document can provide the evidence for 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3.

1.4 I can select and use appropriate media for the publication.

Candidates should demonstrate that they can choose paper or card of the appropriate weight for their publication.
Evidence: Documents and/or centre devised test or task
Additional information
In most cases desktop published materials go onto paper and if publishing is generally targeted on producing web pages the web software unit is probably more appropriate. However, flexibility in interpretation should be exercised. Main consideration is whether the learner has the competence ot originate material in appropriate software.

2. The candidate will input and combine text and other information within publications.

2.1 I can input information into publications so that it is ready for editing and formatting.

Candidates should demonstrate that they can input text by direct typing or import and images by import or cut and paste. 
Evidence: Candidate documents and/or centre devised tests and tasks.
Additional information and guidance
Information should be relevant to the document and candidates should be aware of issues related to file formats for graphics and styles that might affect text. It is nearly always better to strip out styles and formatting for text by cutting and pasting it into a plain text editor to avoid styles from the source affecting the formatting and layout in the target document. 

2.2 I can identify copyright constraints on using others’ information.

​Candidates should show awareness that they can not just take information from anywhere and use it even if it is easy to do eg by cutting and pasting. They should know and respond appropriately to the copyright symbol © and assume that there are copyright constraints on anything that does not expressly indicate otherwise.

Evidence: Candidates' work is free from obvious violations of copyright.
Additional information and guidance
Google is NOT a good source when it comes to legally copyable works. Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Commons are much better as mostly works are distributed on a Creative Commons basis. There might still be the requirement to attribute the information to its source. At this level candidates will need guidance in referencing work and to build a gradually increasing knowledge of copyright and what can and can not be freely copied. Works in the public domain are free to be used by anyone.

2.3 I can organise and combine information of different types or from different sources in line with any copyright constraints.

​Candidates should show simple layout competences to combine text and graphics effectively but they will need help with anything complex or unfamiliar. They should be able to add captions to graphics to attribute their source and similarly reference text. 

Evidence: Candidates' work has relevant captions or references embedded to attribute sources.

Additional information and guidance
See 2.2 above.

2.4 I can store and retrieve publication files effectively, in line with local guidelines and conventions where available.

​Candidates should save and retrieve document files using sensible filenames and maintain source files in an organised way.

Evidence: Candidates' work is stored under sensible names and organise appropriately in the file system.

Additional information and guidance
File names should reflect the nature of the document and files should be saved and backed up. Source files that might be used again could be stored in a directory next to the main document. Any simple logical system of filing is acceptable. Candidates should be aware of "Save as.." and/or any export options to open standards formats. Where possible save original graphics as svg and/or png because these are lossless and if need later contain the maximum amount of available data. While svg is less widely known it is a very useful format and Inkscape is a free cross-platform editor.

3. The candidate will use desktop publishing software techniques to edit and format publications.

3.1 I can identify what formatting and editing to use for the publication

Candidates documents should be clearly presented with simple but effective formatting.
Evidence: Candidates' documents and/or centre devised tests/tasks
Additional information and guidance
Assessors can provide a range of formats from which candidates choose appropriately. Their own documents should exhibit an appropriate format for the information.

3.2 I can select and use appropriate techniques to edit publications and format text.

Candidates should layout paragraphs with clear consistent structure in keeping with local guidelines. Sentences should start with a capital letter and end with a full stop. Candidates should know how to get commonly used special characters such as @, ©, ¼
Evidence: Candidates documents and/or centre devised tests/tasks
Additional information and guidance
At this level the techniques will be simple and straightforward. Cut and paste, drag and drop CTRL C, CTRL V CTRL Z. 

3.3 I can manipulate images and graphic elements accurately.

Candidates should be able to scale and position graphics setting margins and borders in simple cases.  
Evidence: Candidates documents and/or centre devised tests/tasks
Additional information and guidance
Candidates should be beginning to appreciate the importance of graphic file formats and should have opportunities to use at least .jpg, .mpg, .svg in there documents appropriately. At level 1 this will need guidance. This would be a good time to introduce the differences between publishing for paper and web pages. Web pages can change size and resolution and so complex layouts are often not desirable because they will not look good on a wide variety of displays. Paper is usually printed to a standard size. The export of pdf documents from word processors enables a document to be circulated for printing without it being easy to edit. pdf is designed for printing to paper and is not the right format to use for displaying on the web although it is often used like that. They should also consider whether putting information directly into  web pages might be more appropriate than a Word Processor/DTP document if there is no need to put the information on paper. Reducing printing will help the environment.

3.4 I can control text flow within single and multiple columns and pages.

The candidate should be able to flow text into a pre-defined structure and use font size and similar adjustments to alter layout of text in frames or channels. 
Evidence: From candidate's publications and/or centre devised tests.
Additional information and guidance
Candidates should be able to get text positioned in straightforward pre-defined structures but might need additional support with more complex and unfamiliar lay outs. 

3.5 I can check publications meet needs, using IT tools and making corrections as necessary

The candidate should be able to check documents against simple criteria and  make a judgement about whether they are fit for their intended purpose.
Evidence: From candidate's documentation and/or centre set tasks or tests.
Additional information and guidance
The documents they check could be their own, their peers, documents prepared by the assessor or documents from e.g. government web sites. Was the information clear? Is their format appropriate? Could they be improved? The candidates own documents should be free from obvious spelling mistakes, misuse of capitals such as i instead of I. SMS style should not be used in formal documents. Assessors should encourage peer review, checking and re-checking. Candidates should make corrections themselves when errors are pointed out. 


The assessor should keep a record of assessment judgements made for each candidate and make notes of any significant issues for any candidate. They must be prepared to enter into dialogue with their Account Manager and provide their assessment records to the Account Manager through the on-line mark book. They should be prepared to provide evidence as a basis for their judgements through reference to candidate e-portfolios. Before authorising certification, the Account Manager must be satisfied that the assessors judgements are sound.