7 Best Desktop Publishing Software

7 Best Desktop Publishing Software in 2023

With the best desktop publishing software, traditional and digital publishing becomes easier and more productive. Using it, you can create newsletters, magazines and brochures, manage their layout and design.

I have tested some of the best options and created a list of the top ones. Here, I will tell you about their main advantages and possible problems that you can face when working with these programs.

Top 7 Desktop Publishing Software

  1. Adobe InDesign - Professional editor for complex tasks
  2. Affinity Publisher - Integrated Pantone library
  3. Microsoft Publisher - For beginners
  4. Scribus - A budget option
  5. LucidPress - For online work
  6. QuarkXPress - The main competitor of InDesign
  7. Xara Page & Layout Designer - Many templates

The programs presented on this list can greatly simplify your work. As a result, you will create professional-looking documents without having the skills and experience as a graphic designer. Here are the best desktop publishing software that you can find on the market today.

1. Adobe InDesign - Our Choice

Adobe control panels
  • The editors’ choice
  • Amazing design capabilities
  • Many online resources
  • Quite pricey

Verdict: This is the most famous desktop publisher software among professionals. Since it belongs to the Adobe family, it has many functions and tools.

It has a great set of tools for working with text, comes with multi-page support and allows you to use templates for pages.

Besides, there are dozens of interesting and useful plug-ins and scripts that allow you to automate work processes (Crop & Resize, batov’s hyphenator, sZam, CalendarW, etc.). Also, it offers frequent updates and improvements.

adobe indesign desktop publishing software interface

2. Affinity Publisher

OpenType support
  • One-time purchase, no subscription needed
  • Part of a quality graphics suite
  • Plenty of online tutorials
  • Not as reputable as Adobe
  • Compatibility with InDesign needs to be improved

Verdict: Like Affinity Designer, this software provides many professional tools. The main difference is that it allows working with layouts. For example, it supports frames with smart scaling options, advanced grids and anchors.

Also, this desktop publisher software supports tables, custom table formats and text wrapping around any object or image. Plus, you can create text frames of any shape and have full control over character and paragraph styles.

For faster work, it offers automatic creation of indexes and tables of contents, search and replacement with support for RegEx regular expressions, a complete undo history and alternative modes.

affinity publisher desktop publishing software interface

3. Microsoft Publisher

For basic and complex tasks
  • Affordable
  • Fast and simple to use
  • Integrates with other Office programs
  • OneDrive integration requires improvement

Verdict: At a basic level, Microsoft Publisher offers everything you need to create some relatively complex layouts. You get all the features that DTP programs have, from guides to text flow between boxes. Its interface is very intuitive and easy to use.

I like that you can select styles, margins, fonts, columns and almost anything else from a dropdown menu. Dialog boxes are also available if needed. This allows users to quickly edit a page layout.

You can create very impressive page layouts, from 1-page posters to 50-page brochures, and you don’t need to be a DTP expert to do it. Check out this review to understand what’s better, Indesign or Publisher.

microsoft publisher desktop publishing software interface

4. Scribus

  • Free
  • Easy to master
  • Can freeze

Verdict: This publishing application was created almost 15 years ago. Its frame and layer system is similar to InDesign and Affinity Publisher. It offers such advanced features as CMYK color support and allows you to create commercial-quality PDF files. However, it doesn’t provide many fonts and doesn’t support Pantone colors.

With it, you can design leaflets, books, posters and magazines. Besides, you can create interactive forms and PDFs to post to social media. This is great open-source desktop publishing software. Besides, you can use a free thumbnail maker for creating magazines.

scribus desktop publishing software interface

5. LucidPress

Allows working in teams
  • Web-based
  • Simple to use
  • Limited layout tools
  • You need to get a subscription to use advanced features

Verdict: The most interesting thing about this publishing application is that it’s fully web-based.

If you get a free version, you will face some limitations, such as just 3 pages per document, 25 MB of storage, 72 DPI export resolution. It will be suitable for you if you’re not a professional. However, if you are, you might want to get a Pro version.

You can store your files and edit them via a browser. Its interface is similar to a word processor, WYSIWYG and InDesign. If you are a beginner or need such software for small tasks, it will be perfect for you.

lucidpress desktop publishing software interface

6. QuarkXPress

Powerful and functional
  • Many features
  • Supports files from InDesign
  • Pricey

Verdict: This is a great alternative to Adobe InDesign and one of the best desktop publishing software.

It provides plenty of features that InDesign also has and even supports its files. In terms of quality, QuarkXPress offers more advanced functionality.

The main advantage of this software is that it boasts OpenType controls, supports Colour Fonts in SVG, SBIX and COLR formats, and helps users create stunning publications. It may seem a bit pricey, but unlike its competitor, it has no rolling subscription, and the cost is stated for a perpetual license for Windows or macOS.

quarkxpress desktop publishing software interface

7. Xara Page & Layout Designer

Robust spell checker
  • User-friendly interface
  • Inexpensive
  • A limited number of features

Verdict: This is the best desktop publishing software for beginners as it’s a lot easier to use than the other options on this list.

It doesn’t offer a crazy amount of features and has a plain but interesting interface. Also, it’s quite cheap compared to other options, but it still has very decent functionality.

With its tools, you will create great-looking publications. If you doubt whether it’s for you, try using its free trial version first.

xara page & layout designer desktop publishing software interface