Looking for alternatives to InDesign? You are certainly not the only one! Since its launch in 1999, the application has established itself as the reference for professionals for DTP. But, since it is now integrated into Adobe Creative Cloud, you must subscribe to a monthly subscription to be able to use it. It is therefore more than ever the time to look for software that can offer you the same services without the quality suffering. We have selected the best of these alternatives to InDesign for you.
QuarkXPress has undoubtedly been one of InDesign’s most serious competitors since its inception in the 1990s. The software works on both Windows and Mac and offers multiple features. Also, QuarkXPress is able to import InDesign files. However, its high cost could be a handicap for many even if experienced professionals appreciate it enormously. In fact, QuarkXPress remained the favorite application of designers for a long time before finally being dethroned by InDesign.
It has everything you need for mounting posters, leaflets, magazines, catalogs and brochures. Even e-books and web and mobile programs can be designed with QuarkXPress. So it’s clear that it can do almost anything that InDesign can do. Moreover, its creators do not cross their arms and do not stop updating it every year. With QuarkXPress, you have at your disposal all the features required to do digital as well as printed design. This is the reason why many old school designers have never stopped using it even with the rise of InDesign.
2- Affinity Publisher
Affinity Publisher presents itself as one of the best alternatives to InDesign. This software is now equipped with IMDL import and is compatible with both Windows and Mac. Moreover, Affinity Publisher offers multiple features and does not cost much. The only catch is that there is no version available for Linux.
Affinity Publisher is an application that was launched in 2018 and is very suitable for professional designers. Granted, it doesn’t have the full feature set of InDesign, but that doesn’t pale in comparison. Its interface is practically the same as its illustrious competitor and Affinity Publisher has everything you need to perform almost all essential tasks. It is a DTP software whose layout features are excellent regardless of the medium to be printed or found online.
In addition, it is now possible to import InDesign files into Affinity Publisher. It is also possible to import raster and vector files. The application also offers a rigorous upstream control thanks to which you will be informed of any possible error having crept into your documents. Note that Affinity Publisher can serve you alongside other interoperable applications such as Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo. Although an iPad version does not currently exist, you can work in Affinity Designer or Affinity Photo for iPad on Publisher documents.
You were probably wondering if totally free software would make it into this list of best InDesign alternatives. Well, this is the case with Scribus ! Although free of charge, Scribus is an incredibly powerful open-source program. It can be used on Windows as well as on Mac or Linux. What makes it even more attractive is the fact that it is made up of very good models that are obviously free. However, it is not possible to import files from InDesign with Scribus.
If you’re a freelance publisher on a shoestring budget, you definitely shouldn’t be put off choosing Scribus. Know that its interface has nothing to envy in InDesign and offers multiple features that are regularly supplemented by its developers. Thus, almost all DTP tools are available on Scribus, which makes it just as complete as paid applications. For example, it handles spot colors as well as CMYK colors. It also supports ICC colors and provides versatile PDF editing. On Scribus, you will also find vector drawing functionalities as well as the emulation of color blindness. And if you need to use markup languages such as Lilypond and LaTex, no problem!
Another big advantage of Scribus is the large number of forums and documentation that you can access online to quickly learn how to use it. You will finally be happy to discover the free selection of templates that comes with it. These will greatly facilitate your task when creating a business card, newsletter, or brochure.
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4- Xara Page & Layout Designer
Brought to the market by the software publisher Magix, Xara Page & Layout Designer is what you need if you are a beginner. Inexpensive and easy to use, the software is compatible with Windows. Only experienced professionals might find its interface a bit outdated and be frustrated not to find all the pro features there. But for you who are just starting out, it will be with pleasure that you will discover how this interface can be tamed. In addition, many models are delivered at the same time as the application to make it even easier for you to master.
This way you will be able to work with Pantone colors right from the start. You can even export PDF/X files, which will ensure the accuracy of the print reproduction. Xara Page & Layout Designer is therefore clearly an alternative of choice to InDesign for beginners who do not wish to buy expensive and complicated software to use. Finally, you should know that you can initially choose to try it for free for a period of seven days. You will therefore have plenty of time to make sure that it suits you before paying for its acquisition.
5- Swift Publisher
With Swift Publisher for Mac, you have a DTP application with your reach offering more than 500 templates covering all kinds of projects. DTP beginners who don’t have much time will love this software which provides multiple options for 2D and 3D title presets. Additionally, Swift Publisher comes with a free collection of 2,000 clipart images and comes with hundreds of image masks.