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The best desktop publishing software makes it easy to create both printed and digital publications, from newspapers and magazines to ebooks and e-zines, as well as marketing assets including brochures, flyers and more. Whether you're a professional designer or an enthusiastic amateur – or somewhere in between – there's a range of desktop publishing software to choose from. But what's the right choice for your needs and your budget? In this article, we’ve gathered together the very best desktop publishing software available today.
Scribus is an Open Source program that brings professional page layout to Linux/UNIX, Mac OS X, OS/2 Warp 4/eComStation and Windows desktops with a combination of press-ready output and new approaches to page design. Underneath a modern and user-friendly interface, Scribus supports professional publishing features, such as color separations, CMYK and Spot Color support, ICC color management, and versatile PDF creation.
Scribus is a free desktop publishing program that lets you create all kinds of documents, from brochures to business cards, quickly and efficiently. You can use one of the included templates for your project, or just start from scratch and use the included tools to design a finished project that's perfectly in line with your vision.
Pros of this publishing software for Windows:
File compatibility: In addition to creating completely new documents, this program also allows you to open existing ones. Most file formats are supported, so whether you've used other programs previously and want to keep working on items you started there, or you need to access files sent to you from colleagues, you'll be able to continue your work with ease.
Template options: There are templates available through this program for just about every type of document you might want to create. Additionally, each document type offers multiple templates for you to choose from, and you can then customize them to suit your specific needs.
Cons of this publishing Windows software:
Incomplete documentation: Due to the open-source nature of this program, the documentation and Help resources are a little scattered. There are several options to explore when you have a problem or question, but it can take some time to find the answers you're looking for.
Scribus is a good alternative to more expensive and elaborate desktop publishing programs. It provides a lot of functionality and supports multiple file types, making it a versatile choice for moderate creative needs. It's not as polished or high-powered as many top-tier programs, so power users might not find everything they're looking for. But since it's free, it doesn't hurt to try it out and see if it's a good option for you.
Adobe PageMaker 7 software is the ideal page layout program for business, education, and small- and home-office professionals who want to create high-quality publications such as brochures and newsletters. Get started quickly with templates, graphics, and intuitive design tools; work productively across Adobe applications; and easily leverage existing content to create customized communications.
Scribus is an open-source program that brings professional page layout to Linux and Unix, MacOS X, OS/2 and Windows desktops with a combination of "press-ready" output and new approaches to page layout. Underneath the modern and user friendly interface, Scribus supports professional publishing features, such as CMYK color, separations, ICC color management and versatile PDF creation.
Scribus offers up a freeware desktop publisher that lacks the polish of more popular, pay-for-use programs. What it lacks in pretty design, though, it more than makes up for with a full complement of useful features that compare very favorably against more expensive competition.
The detailed Web site includes a wealth of documentation, tutorials (some with video), and notes on everything from installation problems to drawing a grid to creating a text frame. We found it an invaluable resource when testing the application. There wasn't much jazz to the interface, but all the major beats were present: buttons were laid out logically and grouped according to function, without any unusual placement.
Scribus does have some oddities, mostly related to the scaling of imported images, but there's something else about it that's far more interesting: it painlessly brings in documents from the OpenOffice.org suite and it uses The GIMP for image editing. By taking advantage of these other freeware apps to boost its own productivity, Scribus enhances its appeal by forming a virtual freeware suite. We highly recommend this app to anyone who needs the power of expensive tools but can't afford them.
The industry-leading page design and layout toolset lets you work across desktop and mobile devices to create, preflight, and publish everything from printed books and brochures to digital magazines, eBooks, and interactive online documents.
InDesign is part of Creative Cloud, which means you can access all your assets -- including Adobe Stock -- right inside the app and quickly turn any inspiration into a beautiful work of art. And with Adobe CreativeSync, everything is connected across your desktop and mobile apps.
Use PagePlus Starter Edition to design professional documents for the home, office, and classroom. It's ideal for creating newsletters, posters, advertisements, business cards, labels and many other types of print documents. PagePlus Starter Edition's Intuitive interface and powerful tools are designed to help you create outstanding documents quickly and easily. PagePlus' drag-and-drop design method means you don't need to have design experience to create great-looking documents for printing and sharing. Create sophisticated designs: Design regular or folding documents and combine text and graphics elegantly--you have total control and freedom. Eye-catching graphics and effects: Use drawing tools, intelligent QuickShapes, and attractive one-click styles to create your own high-quality graphics or backgrounds. Powerful word processing: Use the built-in word processor, complete with spell checker, or import text and Word files and automatically flow text from one container to another. Photo adjustments: Quickly adjust photo quality, brightness, contrast, color, add outlines, crop to any shape, apply shadows, transparency... It's so easy to use: PagePlus Starter Edition has a friendly interface with popup tooltips and on-screen 'How To' guides, tutorial videos, printable tutorials and projects, and quick access to effects, fonts, settings, and controls.
Unlike the full version of PagePlus, PagePlus Starter Edition does not allow the creation of documents longer than five pages. It does not include high-level publishing features like the ability to import, edit and export PDF documents. It does not include color management or studios for extracting and enhancing images. Nor does it contain some advanced text handling tools or controls for data management, like mail merge options.
QuarkXPress is a layout and prepress program that lets you combine writing, editing, and typography with color and pictures to produce dynamic final output. It offers a variety of features for layout and design, typography, Web page creation, color management, and output. Comprehensive printing controls allow you to output almost any type of document. You can create Web documents that contain rollovers, hyperlinks, and forms. You can also extract content to Extensible Markup Language (XML) format. XML content can then be used with HTML templates to create dynamic Web pages.
Scribus (64-bit) is an Open Source program that brings professional page layout to Linux/UNIX, Mac OS X, OS/2 Warp 4/eComStation and Windows desktops with a combination of press-ready output and new approaches to page design. Underneath a modern and user-friendly interface, Scribus supports professional publishing features, such as color separations, CMYK and Spot Color support, ICC color management, and versatile PDF creation.
A graphic designer's work becomes much harder if they don't have a canvas. Most top-of-the-line design programs have a large barrier to entry, though. If you want to work your way up to those, Scribus is an awesome place to start. It can run stride for stride with higher-end graphic design programs like Adobe InDesign -- and it's free.
It takes a while to actually get started with Scribus. Not only is it a relatively large file to download and install, but the program takes some exploring to figure out. Most of that can be forgiven for the sheer number of features you get. Plus, if you've ever used InDesign, you won't feel too lost using Scribus. It mimics InDesign's layout almost exactly. There's no toolbar like there is in most programs, but you can create just about any sort of graphics, text and boxes to make a clean layout. Color selection isn't as robust as you might expect, but you can blend colors to create the look you need. The program has an easy PDF creator that makes creating a printable worksheet or layout simple.
Though it's missing some of the advanced features of InDesign, the essentials are all here. Since you're saving a considerable amount of money, it's expected that you might lose the ability to use gradients or other features. However, if you need to make a layout for a page, Scribus is a lifesaver. It gives you enough to make a gorgeous layout if you know what you're doing. If you're not terribly experienced, the tool is a great starting kit to work your way up to paid graphic design programs.
Microsoft Office Publisher 2010 helps you create, personalize, and share a wide range of publications and marketing materials in-house.
New and improved capabilities guide you through the process of creating and distributing in print, Web, and e-mail so you can build your brand, manage customer lists, and track your marketing campaigns -- all in-house.
SpringPublisher is a professional and easy-to-use desktop publishing software. With its included various templates and online template store, powerful multi-layer editor, detailed help-files, SpringPublisher allows you to design and print business cards, flyers, postcards and other artwork within a few minutes.
SpringPublisher can create and print high-quality documents, cards, and more using templates or your own settings. You can add images, text, barcodes, QR codes, maps, and more. It's free for non-commercial use in Windows 2000 to 8. A-Pro upgrade, supporting high-resolution printing, microperforated paper, and other features is available.
SpringPublisher's user interface offers a pleasing take on the Office look, with ribbon-style toolbars running along the top and left edges. The top bar creates, saves, and prints Projects and accesses Help Topics and Updates; the side ribbon's tools insert text, images, shapes, and so on. A smaller toolbar holds Copy, Paste, Delete, Zoom, and similar commands. We mentioned Help: Plenty of that is available in the Web-based manual. But you can't go far wrong by starting a new Project and browsing through the Local Template Library (a Web Template Store has more selections) to see what SpringPublisher can do. It's a lot, too; everything from postcards to business letterheads, in both U.S. and International Standards. We could add Layers of images, text, and so on; change the canvas size and background color; undo and redo changes, and even do the front and back of documents like business cards. The Page Manager tool lets us preview creations before committing them to paper.
Desktop publishing programs aren't the dominant force in the software they were when every PC had a dot-matrix printer. But these days, when you do print something, it needs to look good, too, and that's where SpringPublisher shines.