Best DTP software 2019: top desktop publishing apps

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Image credit: Apple

Welcome to our pick of the best DTP software in 2019. DTP (desktop publishing) software allows you to create attractive publications, such as newsletters, quickly and easily.

The best DTP software offers you more layout, image and font tools than standard word processor software such as Microsoft Word, so you can make some really eye-catching designs.

The DTP software on this list will give you options to edit and format text, graphics and will give you control over how your pages are laid out. The best DTP software will also come with a good selection of templates to help you get started and give you inspiration.

Above all, the best DTP software will allow you to quickly and easily create professional-looking documents.

In this list, we've ranked the best paid and free DTP software you can buy right now in 2019.

Image credit: Adobe

Image credit: Adobe

1. Adobe InDesign

The best DTP software for professionals

Operating system: Windows, macOS | Features: Support for digital magazines and eBooks, collaboration tools, automatic resize, Creative Cloud

Powerful
Loads of great features
Can be confusing for beginners
Pricey

If you're serious about making professional publications and marketing material, then you'll want the software that most professionals use: Adobe InDesign. This software is our pick for the best DTP software for professionals, and there's a reason why so many businesses use it. It is practically unrivalled when it comes to features, giving you all the tools you need to create traditional print media, as well as interactive digital media as well. If you buy it as part of Adobe's Creative Cloud, you'll also get access to Adobe Stock, giving you professional stock photos to help make your publications really stand out.

Scribus

Image credit: TechRadar

2. Scribus

The best free DTP software

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux, OpenBSD | Features: CMYK colors, spot colors, ICC color management, PDF creation

Free
Good selection of features
Interface is a bit dated
Takes time to master

If you're after real desktop publishing power, free of charge, then nothing can compete with Scribus, and it's our pick for the best free DTP software. It's an open source application, which means it's completely free for anyone to use, and you don't need a licence to use it as a business. The program is packed with professional features - CMYK and spot colours, ICC colour management, direct editing of vector drawings, extensive PDF support and more - and provides everything you need to produce flyers, brochures, newspapers, books and more.

All this power does take quite some time to master, though, and while the developers have tried to help (and there is plenty of documentation to point you in the right direction) you'll need to be patient: the sheer volume of features means there's still a significant learning curve.

Image credit: Quark

Image credit: Quark

3. QuarkXPress 2018

The best alternative DTP software to InDesign

Operating system: Windows, macOS | Features: Typography features, InDesign IDML Import, PDF editing, Android app creation

Large amount of features
Supports InDesign files
Expensive

While Adobe InDesign is the undisputed champion when it comes to DTP software, it has stiff competition from one of its most popular alternatives: QuarkXPress. It comes with a huge amount of features to rival InDesign, and it's even compatible with InDesign files. Quark is serious about winning over Adobe's customers, and it's resulted in an excellent, fully-featured DTP application. It is especially impressive when it comes to typography, with OpenType controls, support for Colour Fonts in SVG, SBIX and COLR formats, and it will help you make some amazing looking publications. It's not quite as fully-featured as InDesign, but it comes very close.

Image credit: Magix

Image credit: Magix

(Image: © Magix)

4. Xara Page & Layout Designer 11

The best DTP software for beginners

Operating system: Windows | Features: Advanced text handling, royalty-free templates, web publishing, PDF creation, professional color and commercial printing

Easy to use interface
Affordable
Not the largest collection of features
No Mac version

If you're a beginner when it comes to desktop publishing, then the software above may seem a little overwhelming at first. That's why Xara Page & Layout Designer 11 is our pick for the best DTP software for beginners. It doesn't throw a bewildering amount of features at you, and it has a straightforward, yet attractive, interface that is easy to get to grips with. Best of all, it's very affordable compared to InDesign and QuarkXPress, but that doesn't mean it's light on features. In fact, you'll find a great selection of tools that will help you create professional looking publications.

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

5. Microsoft Publisher 2019

Another good DTP application for beginners

Operating system: Windows | Features: Precise layouts, large collection of templates, traditional and digital publishing, Office 365 support

Easy to use
Decent price
Limited fonts
Not the widest selection of features

Microsoft Publisher has been around for a long time now, and for many people it offers an easy way to get into desktop publishing. It's often a part of Microsoft Office packages – including Microsoft's Office 365 subscription service – so if you already have a Microsoft Office package, you may find you have Publisher already installed. It can also be bought and installed separately as Publisher 2019. Its interface will be familiar to anyone who has used Microsoft's other Office apps like Word and Excel, and it's easy for beginners to get to grips with. There's a decent collection of templates that will help you get going, and the results are good, though not quite as professional as InDesign. Still, it's a great – and affordable – DTP software package for beginners.