Review: Sophie’s Cards v4

Create personalized cards with great photos (November 23rd, 2005)

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Product Manufacturer: Sophie’s Cards

Price: $39.95 (US)

The Good

  • High quality photographs and customizable text. Twenty fonts included.

The Bad

  • Database format limits editing capabilities and interface. No manual, so confusing to learn. Built-in help is poor.

If I were to tell you that this greeting card creator is a data base program, you might not believe me. Well it is, and it works! Sophie's Cards contains over 550 gorgeously produced photos and great numbers of prepared text, all placed in a FileMaker Pro 7 database. You don't need FileMaker Pro to make it work. The photos, not clip art, are organized in eighteen common topics, such as birthday, anniversary, personal notes, and other holidays. Some of the photographs appear in more than one category. You can also add your own tiff or jpg images to the database.

Once you have selected among the over 550 images, you add text. Sophie's Cards includes holiday appropriate text or you can create your own. Twenty informal fonts are also installed with the product. You can apply a color or style on a word or all of the words on the card or envelope. I didn't see where you could use bold and italic on the same text though

Versatile Card Creation

You may place a graphic on the front cover with or without text. You can even place text over the front cover photos. Text can also be added to the inside upper or lower half and the back. There are lots of choices, so have fun browsing through the photo database. These images print very well even on non-photo card stock.

You can create a portrait or landscape formatted card. The wide variety of cards include half fold (5.5 x 8.5), frameable art (8 x 10), notecard (4 1/4 x 5 1/2), postcard (4 1/4 x 5 1/2, print-to-edge (4 7/8 x 6 7/8 Avery), or print-to-edge (4.7 x 7 (Epson). If you use colored paper, the color will come through the photo. White or off white is the best choice. If you plan on doing a Christmas list, you may want to use Bristol card stock which you can buy at most office supply or craft stores at a reasonable price. After you print the front and backside of your card, your Mac prompts you to reload the paper to print the inside. This is handy if you are making a number of personalized cards.

Now that you have your cards made, what else can this program do? Envelopes of course. There is a place to put the "from address" on the back flap of the card. You can set up the front of the envelope for a single address as in a birthday card or a list of addresses as for holiday mailings. You can even import your addresses directly without converting them. Sophie's Cards recognizes tab-separated text, FileMaker Pro, DBF, DIF, Microsoft Excel, SYLK, Comma separated, WKS, WK1 and XML files.

Database Limitations

There are some things you can't do in Sophie's Cards because it is a database, such as flipping your image horizontally or vertically. There are no drawing tools, so you can't alter the photos. You can't import their photos into a graphic program, like Photoshop, to modify the image. You can't vignette or add edge techniques to the photos or convert photos to black and white. I couldn't find how to save your card unless you add the text into the database. If this is what they want you to do, you would have to change the text each time you used that photo.

Lasting Impressions

I like this program now that I have used it for a while. If you like to send beautiful cards with just the right words on them, then this is your program. Most of the themes and photographs are for adults. If you need a personalized sympathy or holiday card, or create place cards, notecards or invitations, try Sophie's Cards. I suggest you not download the demo version due to its size (569 MB). Just go to the site and click on the email link and ask how you can get a demo CD.

Requirements

Any Mac with at least a 500MHz PowerPC processor (1 GHz or better recommended) running Mac OS X v10.2.8 through 10.4.x. A GB of available hard drive space and a photo quality inkjet printer.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Rick Curran


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