Download of the day: Scribus

Who needs InDesign?

There are stacks of open source programs for word processing and other office tasks, but what about the big daddy of computer publishing, the desktop publishing app?

Say hello to Scribus, which has high-end features without the high-end price tag. Or any price tag, come to think of it. It works with XML and OpenDocument formats, Word, PDF and others, and it’s suitable for most languages other than Arabic and other, similar writing systems. That’s supported via third-party apps.

Why you need it

DTP is much more demanding than word processing or throwing together a quick flyer, and professional publishing needs much more powerful tools than a typical home-focused editing program offers. Scribus has been in constant development for 13 years and its powers include professional typesetting and colour management (but not Pantone colours due to licensing, although you can add Pantone yourself) as well as online publications such as interactive forms and PDFs.

It’s an astonishingly powerful piece of software, with an interface that looks and feels like a program with an astonishingly high price tag.

The only real niggle is that Scribus can’t open or save the files of other desktop publishing apps, so if you have a huge library of InDesign or Quark projects updating them could take some time.

Download here: Scribus

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Contributor

Former lion tamer, Girls Aloud backing dancer and habitual liar Gary Marshall (Twitter, Google+) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to .net, MacFormat, Tap! and Official Windows Magazine as well as co-writing stacks of how-to tech books. "My job is to cut through the crap," he says. "And there's a lot of crap."