Ashton-Tate Corp, which first tried to buy the company, and then settled for rights to market the product, yesterday announced the cause of all the excitement – the SkiSoft Publisher desk-top publishing program from SkiSoft Inc, Lexington, Massachusetts. According to its designer, Ken Skier, the program, now called Byline, differs radically from graphical desk-top publishing programs, and is rather a layout processor, or a spreadsheet for words (CI No 438). Running under PC-DOS, Byline is being offered by Ashton-Tate at $295. It is said to be designed for business software users who have no special knowledge of graphic arts and typography, but need sophisticated desktop publishing. It includes a dBase merge feature that enables users to import dBase III Plus databases into pre-styled forms. In addition, Byline directly imports and exports files created by versions of popular word processors including MultiMate, WordPerfect and WordStar, as well as worksheets and graphs from Lotus 1-2-3 and Symphony, and from four paint programs. Byline does not require additional hardware or software and all views are What-You-See- Is-What-You-Get displays. It needs an IBM Personalike with 384Kb and CGA, Hercules, Hercules Plus or EGA graphics card. Design features include adjustable type sizes from 8 to 144 points; choice of five fonts; rules and borders; auto-leaders and repeating characters; automatic kerning; multiple right and left master pages, and automated text flow. US deliveries are due to start this month.