Publishing software to rival Adobe InDesign

Publishing software Adobe

Adobe InDesign and Illustrator are the go-to desktop publishing and design software programs for many designers and the marketing departments of large companies. However, there are many other, less costly software options available that can give you more or less the same features and results. Take a look at some of the publishing software solutions that we’ve gathered for you.

Microsoft Office Publisher

Why spend money on a separate program when there is already software available in your Microsoft Office pack? MS Publisher is great for small businesses that cannot afford to buy expensive, complex software. This program places the emphasis firmly on layout and design.

With Publisher you can amass a large library of imported photos from your PC and then drag-and-drop them depending on where you want them to be placed. Also, you can browse through all of the online photos you have and also use them in your layout. It makes use of the same type of effects that the other Microsoft products use, making it easy to learn and implement if you have been involved with Office before. Some of the effects include softer shadows, reflections and text ligatures.You can also create documents with high-quality background images that you already have in your arsenal.


This program, better known in its shortened form as Quark, focuses mostly on complex document layouts (hence advertising itself as page layout software). A plus point of this software is the fact that no coding or programming is required to create documents. It operates in a WYSIWYG environment. The main use of Quark is to make documents specifically for tablets, e-readers and the Web in ways that can easily convert from print to digital.

Quark is also great for integrating with other useful applications and programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel, Adobe Illustrator, XML files, PSD files and most types of image files. There is also the option of adding video, audio and SWF (or Flash). This software can create precision typography with presets and defaults to give it a professional look as well as create grids and automation style content for text with synchronization of multiple chapters.


For those not yet willing to pay top dollar for layout and publishing software, there is a free, open source alternative by the name of Scribus. But don’t think that it stands back to the paid versions. Its range of layouts is, in fact, quite similar to that of Quark and Adobe InDesign.

Its main speciality is producing PDF files with the inclusion of animation and interactive presentation. This tool can be used to create small books, brochures, newspapers and newsletters. It will also be quite useful for business proposals. It is great for typesetting and the prepping of files for professional-grade image-setting appliances.


This desktop publishing software was already launched in the 80s but has always been in competition with much larger companies for a place on the market. Despite this fact, do not underestimate the power that it can provide in terms of desktop publishing. It is compatible with Windows, Macintosh, Amiga and Linux, which provides a wide context for it to function within (even though some people have said that it works better in some than in others).

It has the ability to create publications that range from business cards to billboards. This means that you can use it for anything from newsletters to presentations because of the size adjustment possible. It prides itself on having illustration features that other big programs like InDesign have not thought of, like drawing tools for the creation of graphics and the placement of a PDF object into your document (similar to a EPS object). You can interactively design pages as they would appear in their final form.

Serif PagePlus

This program is often compared to Microsoft’s Publisher and it is just as powerful. Many people have also said that it is a great program specifically for business use. It carries most of the same features that InDesign and Quark provide such as optical margin alignment and four-colour space. It has the ability to create ebooks in .epub and mobi formats, as well as create, edit, view and publish PDF files.

It has a word processing facility, a drag-and-drop design method, sticky guides to get the alignment of objects exactly right and instant colour schemes to implement when time is of the essence. There is a starter version available but no Mac support is provided, which may be a dealbreaker for some creatives.

Corel Ventura

This software was once one of the more popular programs to use before Adobe came along. It is focused on business-class publishing jobs and is most adept at long documents. It is also great for creating page layouts that are graphics-intensive (hence the use of vector illustrations).

It is great at combining information from different sources such as text, charts, tables, spreadsheets, databases and so on to create a cohesive document. It also allows languages like C++, Visual Basic and others to automate publication creation. It has a free trial available to take it for a test-run but to buy the entire CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is quite expensive in the end (almost $500).

Many designers and companies are often concerned about the cost associated with desktop publishing software but the above examples show that you can find programs that are low-cost but will still provide the features that you require for good quality.

Should you not have the time or resources to develop, design or publish what you need in-house, take a look at Maxxor’s world-class custom website design and gives us a call.