11 Best Ways to Use InDesign for Linux

Publicists and Linux layout specialists have been waiting for the Adobe InDesign Linux version for a long time to join the professional preparation of printed materials and digital publications. Even if you are willing to pay regularly for use, the application is simply unavailable for the Linux platform.

In this article, I will tell you about the best desktop publishing software that can replace InDesign for Linux. Besides, I will explain how to use InDesign with an emulator.

InDesign Linux: 11 Best Software

Linux is more efficient and secure. Also, it is often more compatible with hardware and resource management, which is useful when working with large collaborative projects. For InDesign Server, porting to Linux would make a lot of sense since IDS runs in a server environment.

This would simplify installation and speed up integration and implementation of IDS in cloud environments.

1. Adobe InDesign through Wine

adobe indesign for linux interface

Adobe has never released the Linux version for its software, even if you are ready to buy InDesign. You will need to use a third-party interface, such as the Wine emulator or VM. With some effort, it is possible to run Adobe InDesign Linux via Wine just like any other Linux program.

The Wine script creates a partition in your system to emulate Windows. You can install Windows via Wine using the program’s .exe installer. Versions up to InDesign CS6 are stable since the next releases don’t have a well-debugged installer and extended test results.

2. Scribus

scribus for linux interface

Installation for Debian/Fedora/Gentoo:

  • apt-get install scribus
  • yum install scribus
  • emerge scribus

If you are searching for a free and open-source Adobe InDesign replacement, check out Scribus. This desktop publishing tool (DTP) offers a similar interface and is surprisingly universal. It is designed for flexible layout and prepress preparation of files.

Scribus is capable of creating animated and interactive PDF presentations and forms. Examples of usage include publishing books, newspapers, magazines, posters and packaging materials.

The program comes with templates for business cards, brochures, newsletters, including support for almost 200 color palettes (OpenType, CMYK colors, spot colors, ICC color management), as well as color blindness emulation and rendering of LaTeX or Lilypond markup languages. Vector tools let users work with shapes, lines, colors, gradients and patterns with all the advantages. The variety of tools and features makes the program a serious rival for Adobe InDesign in Scribus vs InDesign stand-off.

3. VivaDesigner

vivadesigner for linux interface

Installation via the Terminal:

  • dpkg -i program_name.rpm - to install a deb package
  • tar -xvzf program_name.tgz - to install a tgz package

This low-cost, high-performance DTP program is extremely robust and not difficult to use for typesetting and layout. With innovative concepts, users can significantly improve their workflow and document management.

With VivaDesigner, it is possible to simplify and significantly improve all collaboration between end customers, corporations and their employees, as well as agencies, service providers, printers and editors.

VivaDesigner offers most of all the functions of InDesign, meets all the requirements of printers, is capable of reading and writing InDesign files based on IDML. It is a rare application that is available for any browser without any installation for the client. Users can buy or rent it, and there are even demo and free versions.

4. Laidout

laidout for linux interface

Installation for Debian/Fedora:

  • apt-get install g++ pkg-config libpng12-dev libreadline-dev libx11-dev libxext-dev libxi-dev libxft-dev libcups2-dev libimlib2-dev libfontconfig-dev libfreetype6-dev libssl-dev xutils-dev libcairo2-dev libharfbuzz-dev libsqlite3-dev libgraphicsmagick++1-dev mesa-common-dev libglu1-mesa-dev libftgl-dev zlib1g-dev
  • sudo dnf install -y cairo-devel cups-devel fontconfig-devel ftgl-devel glibc-headers harfbuzz-devel imlib2-devel lcms-devel libpng-devel libX11-devel libXext-devel libXft-devel libXi-devel mesa-libGL-devel mesa-libGLU-devel openssl-devel readline-devel sqlite-devel xorg-x11-proto-devel zlib-devel GraphicsMagick-c++-devel libstdc++-devel freetype-devel imake

Laidout is InDesign free desktop alternative for multi-page, cut-out and folded booklets, with page sizes that don’t have to be rectangular. The entire page view may be rotated to any angle. Algorithms and deformation curves are implemented.

Open-source code of Laidout exports to Postscript, PDF, PNG, SVG, SLA (Scribus only, images and groups) and PP (Passepartout, images and groups only).

5. PageStream

pagestream for linux interface

Installing PageStream on Linux:

  • Linux per user preferences are stored in /home/{username}/.PageStream5/ where {username} is the name you logged into Linux under
  • The main preferences file is called PageStream5.prefs

Pagestream is a commercial professional proprietary desktop publishing program for Linux and Amiga. It was originally released under the name Publishing Partner in 1986. The program is suitable for all levels of publishing, from simple newsletters to color advertisements and technical books. With PageStream, you can create letters, colorful school papers, presentations, business cards, and any other types of documents.

This InDesign Linux replacement may be used to set the type of drawing objects and placing graphics. It has extremely accurate typography, professional printing and a rich range of features. PageStream differs from other DTP programs as it offers most of the drawing functions of an illustrative program, some unique features (Precision Typography), and an excellent customizable interface.

6. Pagination

pagination for linux interface

Pagination lets users connect data from any source via custom InDesign layouts and automatically create beautiful catalogs and price lists, PDF and InDesign documents from Excel, CSV, MySQL, XML, or export from corporate databases. Users can access it from any device, browser or OS, anywhere and at any time.

Its speed and ease of use have made Pagination one of the world’s most well-known tools used by marketing teams and advertising agencies to develop their own publishing projects. It is typically used for creating catalogs, price lists, circulars, product lists, and reference lists for all types of documents whose information is stored in a database or in multiple tables.

7. BroadVision QuickSilver

 broadvision quicksilver for linux interface

BroadVision QuickSilver is one of the most robust tools meant for creating and managing documents. It lets companies create and publish large and complex documents in almost any language and format.

Besides, it is possible to create extensive documents using Unicode authoring and publish them in multiple output formats (including XML, HTML, PDF and Postscript), as well as automatically deliver them as personalized content to the BroadVision portal.

With this Adobe InDesign Linux alternative, users can collect publications from a variety of text, graphics and database sources, including Microsoft Word, AutoCAD, Microsoft Excel and Oracle. Regardless of the requirements for your publications, QuickSilver significantly expands the capabilities of traditional Interleaf technology and is fully compatible with Interleaf 6 and 7, Fluida and WordPress.

8. LyX

lyx for linux interface

Installation for Debian/Ubuntu:

apt-get install lyx

  1. sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lyx-devel/release (add the PPA for the 'release', i.e. stable, compilation)
  2. sudo apt-get update (update so that apt is aware of the new PPA)
  3. sudo apt-get install lyx (install from the PPA)
  4. lyx (run LyX)

LyX is a document handler released under a free and open-source license, which based on the approach to the structure of your documents (WYSIWYM). LyX combines the power and flexibility of LaTeX with the ease of use of a graphical interface. This leads to support for creating mathematical content (via the integrated equation editor) and structured documents: academic articles, theses and textbooks. Basic scientific research results (bibliography, index creation) are included as standard ones.

This Linux InDesign alternative may be used to create a novel, theater play or movie script. Many ready-made, well-designed document layouts are built-in. Users no longer need to bother with the formatting attributes’ details of the font or the page margins. On screen, LyX looks like any word processor. Its printed output is a printable PDF file with lots of cross-references.

9. LaTeX

latex for linux interface

LaTeX is a free, top-grade and multi-language typesetting system that boasts features designed for the production of technical and scientific documentation. LaTeX is the de facto standard for transferring and publishing scientific documents.

Examples of LaTeX’s applications are the layout of journal articles, technical reports, books and slide presentations; control of large documents containing sections, cross-references, tables and figures with automatic generation of bibliographies and indexes; typing complex mathematical formulas.

10. Photopea

photopea for linux interface

Photopea is a free and open-source graphic editor for dealing with vector and bitmap graphics at a professional level. It is equally suitable for complicated procedures, such as web page design, illustration creation, image editing and text styling.

Photopea offers two types of text style parameters. The first one is the character style (including the size of the colored text), which varies from character to character. The second one is the paragraph style (including text field and alignment) that is common to the entire paragraph.

Working in sRGB Color Space, support for SVG format and a robust text tool make this software suitable for creating publications and preparing files for printing.

11. LucidPress

lucidpress for linux interface

Lucidpress is an intuitive web-based drag-and-drop tool that lets users create content for digital printing, including flyers, brochures, business cards, invitations, newsletters, magazines and photo books. Aimed at people with minimal skills or experience in DTP, it comes with both free and paid templates.

This InDesign Linux alternative is integrated with Google Docs, YouTube, Dropbox, Flickr, Facebook, Unsplash and other tools to enable users to import existing content.

It is possible to publish ready-made projects on the Internet, embed them in emails or web pages, send them to social networks and upload them as printable files. Lucidpress isn’t a complicated tool – it offers a quick and effortless way to create a basic print or digital design.


Eva Williams

Hi there, I'm Eva Williams - a professional blogger, read more

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