Quick Tip:
Free Layout Design Software

QuarkXPress and InDesign are industry standards for designing layouts. Their flexibility and power make them indispensable tools for the experienced designer.

But both are expensive … very expensive. And when you’re starting out, you have few other choices. You can create very good printed documents with Microsoft Publisher or Word. But you can send usable files to clients only if you can convert your documents into PDF files.

If you can’t do that, you’re stuck. Or are you?

Turns out that Scribus Open Source Desktop Publishing software lets you make multipage designs similar to those done with Quark or InDesign. Scribus lets you export designs as PDFs, and it shouldn’t be a problem to send those files to clients or print houses.

And the best part is that Scribus is free. Admittedly, its interface isn’t as sharp looking as Quark or InDesign. And it does not approach the power of either of those two layout programs. But it will work just fine until you make enough money as a designer to afford one of the top two.

Scribus is available in both Mac and PC flavors, although the Mac version doesn’t work on OSX 10.5. We’ve tested it on Windows XP but not on Vista.

When you install Scribus, you’ll be prompted to download something called “ghostscript.” This is a legitimate program. We tested it and Scribus for viruses and other malware. Both came up clean. However, whenever you download any file from the Internet, be sure to scan it with your anti-virus program.

Your starting point for downloading Scribus is http://www.scribus.net/. Try it out!

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: March 13, 2008

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