Full-Featured Desktop Publishing. Free And Open-Source.

toggle-button

Scribus desktop publisherThere's a big difference between a conventional word processor and a package designed for publishing or page layout. A proper publishing/DTP product makes it relatively easy to position items on the page precisely where you want them. Try moving an image or a headline around the page in Microsoft Word, however, to see just how difficult it can be in a word processor.

In the world of commercial DTP software, Adobe InDesign is the most well known. But if you want a similar feature set for a lower cost (actually no cost at all), take a good look at Scribus. It's a complete DTP package which is free and open source, and it's available for Windows. It officially requires Windows 7 or 8, although I tested it on 10 with no problems.

To get Scribus, head to http://www.scribus.net/ for the download, which runs to 72 MB. The program is malware-free according to VirusTotal and Web of Trust. I tested the portable version, which is supplied as a zip file that uncompresses to a folder of files including one that runs the application. The advantage of this method is that, if you won't like the program, uninstalling is just a case of deleting that folder from your desktop. There will be no traces left behind in the registry.

Next time you want to design something that's best done with DTP rather than a word processor, such as an invitation or a flyer, look at Scribus.

 

 

Please rate this article: 

Your rating: None
4.133335
Average: 4.1 (15 votes)
toggle-button

Comments

For my personal layouts, short newsletters, etc., I've used the free version of Serif PagePlus for years. I find it much easier to use than Scribus.
Lots of features. My favorite freeware of all time.

I agree that Serif PagePlus is easier to use than Scribus. But that is not the only reason for choosing Scribus.

Scribus runs on the most platforms of any DTP application and it has advanced features that don't exist on other DTP programs like PagePlus. For example, I used Scribus on Windows to automatically generate preformatted and prepopulated documents using Python scripts.

Windows DTP users have a lot of choice but other platforms do not. The Wikipedia article lists twenty DTP applications of which eighteen run on Windows. It is a stretch to call all twenty DTP but even if we use a stricter definition, Windows users have several good options. It is a different matter on Linux where the five DTP products really reduce to two DTP applications once you remove the OpenOffice office suite, the non-WYSIWYG document processor, and the graphic editor. If you want a free Linux DTP product then remove the paid product, Scribus is all that remains.

In the past, Scribus has been more stable with more complete features on Linux rather than Windows.

The current application, 1.4.5, is looking old but the next major release of Scribus, 1.6.0, will be a much more attractive and capable product. You can download the test release 1.5.0 to get a preview.

There are other technical reasons why Scribus is more attractive to some users. It is more appealing to OpenOffice users because it can import Writer's ODT (OpenDocument Text) documents with the paragraph format styles. Word files only import as text, however it may be possible to preserve paragraph format styles by exporting Word documents to ODT documents.

Fair enough.
I was only calling attention to PagePlus for those who simply want a nice alternative to the standard word processing applications for creating interesting layouts.

Firstly the version I tried was 1.4.4
The latest version is only 1.4.5
I've not done a full evaluation yet but the thing with text boxes remains in that they don't resize. Once you filled one you must make another for more text. That must be how this particular program works. It's not how I would wish it hence I don't use it.
You still have to install Ghostscript if you want to use it's functionality and that's what caused me problems before in trying to set up a colour profile. I've not bothered continuing to evaluate as it's not the kind of program I want. I'll stick with Pageplus.

DTP programs have their logic, which is not the same as logic in word processing (MS Word or similar).
Learn from beginning, as it will make your way much easier.
You can start at Scribus Wiki: http://wiki.scribus.net/canvas/Working_with_text_frames
Of course frames are automatic (since long ago), but you have to predict number of pages (with the same layout). I assume this is valid for Scribus as is for any other DTP.
This programs are not easy to master, because they are ment for professionals and not occasional users. (This is not some sort of excuse, just observation - btw, I am not using this stuff for decade or so, and would have terrible problems to start over).

Regards

Scribus runs great on Linux, and is included in some distros and just about all distro repositories.

I tried using Scribus several times a couple of years ago and it felt like a very professional and competent tool. I wanted to make a photo book. Unfortunately, despite their help forum trying to assist me, it was found to be impossible to set the book up as I could not get past the stage of setting up a colour profile.
Also, in most desktop publishing packages you can flow text from one text box to another, or have the text box 'grow' as you type. In Scribus this was not possible so it was extremely limited in laying out without loads of planning and changing.
It may have changed, I'll certainly download the portable version and check it out but if you want something simple and straightforward to use like Publisher or the excellent PagePlus, then Scribus definitely was not for you when I tried it.

Appreciate your comments. A bit much for the guys to expect you to re-evaluate a package to comment,
Your comment will allow me to jump right to the issues you mentioned and see if those weaknesses have been fixed
before I spend hours tinkering in other areas of the program and then discover these flaws.

Boris,
you say it all in "... a couple of years ago ...".
Because of the "moggy" in your handle I assume you are not a youngster anymore. So you may have noticed that nothing in human history ever has changed as rapidly and as massively as computers and software have in the last 20 years.
Why not try the latest version before you post negative remarks?
BTW: I am in no way at all associated with Scribus or it's authors.

I'd love to see a post from you with your comments after trying Scribus again. I haven't used it or other DTP programs but definitely have a need for a low or no-cost tool in this category.