Free Desktop Publishing Software

DTP to create newsletters, magazines, books, brochures, calendars, cards, etc


Free Desktop Publishing Software

The free desktop publishing software (sometimes known as "DTP software" for short) allow you to create print and electronic publications like brochures, books, newsletters, letterheads, newspapers, business cards, envelopes, posters, photo albums, greeting cards, invitation cards, leaflets, calendars, flyers, fax covers, door hangers, web pages (although you may have better control for web pages if you have a true web editor), and so on.

Actually, desktop publishing tools are basically design software that let you flexibly place and manipulate text and graphics. You can move text and graphics to any arbitrary position on the page, and the software often come with templates that you can build on. They also allow you to control the colours ("colors" if you use US English) in your publication/document, so that the colour you see on your screen better matches what is produced when it is printed out.

(For those who are wondering what the differences between such software and word processors are, the latter don't usually give you that much flexibility in where you can place text and graphics, and may not provide the control you may want to layout your printed page, set the colours, embed the fonts, and so on. If you're producing publications, rather than just writing documents, the specialized software here may be easier to use than fighting your wordprocessor to get the job done.)

If you are looking for a commercial desktop publishing program to print the occasional brochure or newsletter, one possibility is Serif PagePlus X6. It's a fully featured program with all the usual features you need in such a program. It also has the ability to import and export PDF files, which is handy, since PDF is a portable format that is accepted by (probably) all professional printers, so you can create your publication, embed whatever fonts and pictures you need in it, export it as PDF and have it printed exactly the way you want it to. (And you can import PDF publications from other software for editing too.)

(Note: possibly due to the complexity of such software, there are very few free ones around that I know of. Hence this is a very short page. If you know of any more free ones, that are not just crippled versions of commercial tools, let me know.)

Related Pages

Free Desktop Publishing Software

Scribus: Open Source Desktop Publishing (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, OS/2)

Scribus is an open source desktop publishing software for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and OS/2. It supports CMYK colour, separations, ICC colour management, most graphic file formats, font embedding, and the creation of PDF files (export only, it cannot import PDF files). There is some support for Unicode, although at the time this review was written, it appears that this is not complete (so if you use a language that does not use the Latin character set, you may want to check out their documentation first to see if your language is supported).

Passepartout Desktop Publishing for X11 (Linux)

Passepartout is an open source desktop publishing application, currently under development, for the X Window system. It can be compiled for use on Linux and possibly also other Unix-based systems. It uses an XML typesetting engine, has Unicode support, supports user-defined formatting via XSLT style sheets, supports GIF, TIFF, PNG, XPM, PNM, RAS, BMP and JPEG images, allows printing to PDF, PostScript and EPS, and TrueType and Type1 fonts. At the time this was written, it is released in source code form, so you will need to be able to compile code yourself (probably with a C++ compiler).

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