Adobe Indesign

Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Adobe InDesign

Adobe is a large multinational computer software company with over 22,000 employees. Its flagship products include Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, XD, Acrobat DC, and the Portable Document Format (PDF). The products are wrapped up and marketed as the Creative Cloud, a subscription-only way of accessing more than 20 desktop and mobile apps and services for photography, design, video, web, UX, and more.

We are long-standing admirers of Adobe’s products. They develop many high quality proprietary programs. It’s true there are security and privacy concerns in relation to some of their products. And there’s considerable criticism attached to their pricing practices. But the real issue is Adobe Creative Cloud does not support Linux. And there’s no prospect of support forthcoming.

What if you are looking to move away from Adobe and embark on a new world of online freedom, where you are not tracked, monetised and attached to Adobe’s ecosystem. We only recommend free and open source alternatives. Our recommended software don’t necessarily replicate every feature of their Adobe counterparts but they offer sufficient functionality for many tasks.

Adobe InDesignAdobe InDesign is a desktop publishing and page layout designing software program. The software is used to create posters, flyers, brochures, magazines, newspapers, presentations, books and ebooks. InDesign can also publish content suitable for tablet devices in conjunction with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.

What are the best free and open source alternatives?


1. Scribus

Scribus is an open-source desktop publishing (DTP) program that allows the creation of page layouts with text, graphics, photos and other visual elements.

Scribus is designed for flexible layout and typesetting, and the ability to prepare files for professional quality image setting equipment. The software supports RGB, CMYK and spot colors and, most importantly, provides a robust and very reliable color management that leaves you in control of color display and conversion.

While the goals of the program are ease of use and simple easy-to-understand tools, Scribus support for professional publishing features, such as CMYK and spot colors, easy PDF creation, Encapsulated Postscript import and export and creation of color separations.

Scribus was the first DTP program to support the PDF/X-3 specification. The software also offers a wide range of options with respect to PDF export.

Scribus’s file format is based on XML, i.e. it can be read and analyzed by using a simple text editor. This not only means that you can repair damaged files rather easily; you can even create your own Scribus files without access to Scribus.

Features include:

  • Create a wide range of written publications, including print-advertisement, calendars, brochures, newsletters, PDFs, and magazines.
  • Color modes support both RGB and CMYK.
  • Several preset templates for new designs. Comes with templates for business cards, newsletters, brochures, and more.
  • Customize pages, adjusting bleeds and margins.
  • Integrate vector graphics and photos into the documents. Scribus includes the Bezier curves tool, allowing you to adjust curves with accuracy.
  • Attach text to paths or set the flow to be inside shapes.
  • The rotation tool is easier to use, adjustable by pressing the up and down arrows.
  • Create and edit frames. You can customize them, rounding corners, scaling them, etc.
  • Import Illustrator, EPS, and SVG files.
  • Has workaround Right to Left support for languages like Arabic. RTL support is important for languages like Hebrew, Arabic, Urdu, and Persian.
  • Contains master pages, allowing you set features such as numbering pages across multiple pages without having to do this manually.
Scribus
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2. LyX

LyX is an advanced open source document processor. It is called a “document processor”, because unlike standard word processors, LyX encourages an approach to writing based on the structure of documents, not their appearance.

Based on a document preparation system for TeX typesetting, LyX can handle documents ranging from books, notes, theses to articles in refereed journals. It also supports right-to-left languages such as Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew.

LyX is very popular among technical authors and scientists for its advanced mathematical modes. However, it is also frequently used by social scientists, as it features polished bibliographic database integration and multiple file managing and organizing features.

LyX can also be used for desktop publishing.


All articles in this series:

Alternatives to Adobe's Products
Adobe PhotoshopPhotoshop is a raster graphics editor with multiple layers, masks, alpha compositing.
Adobe IllustratorIllustrator is a vector graphics editor and design tool.
Adobe InDesignIndesign is a desktop publishing and page layout designing application.
Adobe Premiere ProPremiere Pro is a timeline-based video editing tool.
Adobe AnimateAnimate is a multimedia authoring and computer animation.
Adobe Photoshop LightroomLightroom is a creative image organization and image manipulation.
Adobe XDXD is a prototyping tool for user experience and interaction designers

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