Best Free Desktop Publishing Program



Commercial Desktop publishing programs are expensive. But don't despair, there are two excellent desktop publishing programs that are totally free. One is ideal for small business and an excellent alternative to Microsoft Publisher; the other is a serious competitor to the high-end, feature rich commercial programs.


Rated Products


A professional quality page layout program capable of producing "press-ready" output

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Open source)
Very powerful, can do about anything that you can imagine.
May be too complex and powerful for casual usage.
Read full review...

PagePlus Starter Edition  

In fact its lack of complex features makes it easy for basic publishing needs

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Limited features)
Easy to use; many built-in backgrounds, templates, swatches, styles and etc.; likely the best choice for everyday usage.
Not as feature rich as the competitor.
Read full review...

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I noticed this is an updated article. With regards to PagePlus Starter Edition's inability to save to PDF, there is a very simple solution. Use the free program doPDF.
It's probably the simplest of all PDF printer drivers and doesn't require Ghostscript. The setup file is just 1.18MB and the program is compatible with Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP, 2008/2003/2000 Server (32/64-bit).

I scanned the website with VirusTotal and it's 100% clean. Here's the report:

Good point! Thank you for information you've provided on dopdf. The ability to convert printable documents to PDF is certainly important to every desktop publisher.

Scribus 1.4.4 is out. What they say:

"Scribus 1.4.4 is mostly a bugfixing release, but it also adds a number of new features, some of which are relevant for newspaper production. "

I use the Draw module of LibreOffice (aka OpenOffice) for page layout with great results.

It's a very good tool for one or two-sided projects like business cards, flyers and brochures -- not your novel.

Sribis is surely the better tool for professionally printed jobs, but LibreOffice Draw is better for simple jobs printed at home.

The trick to DTP in Draw is using the layers. You set-up your guidelines on the bottom layer, lock the layer, and make it non-printing.

Then do your lay up on the top layer.

The learning curve is so much easier than Scribis.

BTW -- I'm a professional graphic artist and prefer a blank page rather than templates or wizards in programs like MS Publisher. If you want that, Draw isn't for you.

Just downloaded PagePlus for a computer running Windows XP.... yeah I know, I'm even older! Anyway, there was no delay in the download and all worked well. You need to register for the product key, but I haven't had any spam or problems similar to those experienced by Chris Varga. The program has started and appears to be all that is advertised. Looks like an outstanding product for the price. Cheers.