For someone who has worked in the professional publishing industry, I rely on InDesign and Photoshop for creating professional documents, even if they're as simple as a business card. Sometimes I don't have the luxury of working with these expensive programs, however, so I look for alternatives that can get the job done. I'm familiar with GIMP and Photoshop, and in a pinch I can use GIMP, but I prefer Photoshop because of a decade of experience with it.

I've used Quark and InDesign (and PageMaker before that), and consider InDesign the tool of choice for page layout.

I recently ran across an open source product called Scribus and wondered if anyone with Quark or InDesign experience has tested this, and can put forth a list of what it does and does not do by contrast.

Is Scribus a worthy alternative to InDesign/Quark?


7 Answers 7


I used Scribus recently on a personal project. For an OS GD app, it's quite impressive. I'd definitely put it above PageMaker in terms of usability and features. that said, it's far from finished and does have some annoying quirks (such as you can't undo text edits).

InDesign is pretty high end, but for personal, smaller project, Scribus might be just fine.


Being an 'all DTP tools minitechnicus' it was easy for me . I mean, it took a very little amount of time to accommodate well with Scribus.

My tool of choice for years was PageMaker then InDesign - I know QuarkXpress also - but I feel that Scribus is no more no less than just ok.

Far from perfection but ok - you can do your job.

Sure, many things could be improved. Vector tools do pretty well but usability is the weak point. Too many steps for simple operations - but the result looks perfect.

Sometime Scribus seems to be a bit slow (under 32 bit architectures) - but on 64 bit architecture the speed is quite good. Color workflow / Raw text workflow / Usability / you name it. Yes, they should improve all over the place, but finally - I can do what I want using Scribus.

The best point: they continue to improve.


I am not a designer but I have worked in publishing and seen the wonders of Quark. Scribus is a stone knife that may one day evolve into an electronic publishing.

But for now it is maddeningly non-intuitive. My one suggestion to its developers is:

Try to anticipate the basic objectives of the entry level user. For example if someone wants to put words over a photograph. How would they achieve this in the minimal number of steps.


Scribus is promising but I haven't found it to be comparable to InDesign or other page layout programs. Perhaps I'm missing something in the export options, but it seems to be quite difficult to find the right menus in order to produce a high resolution, print-ready file. Perhaps if I used it more often I would find it to be more useful, but going from InDesign to Scribus is quite disappointing (more so than going from Photoshop to GNU Gimp).


As the publisher of a church monthly "newsletter" (actually a 32-page booklet), I can't afford Quark or Indesign. Of several low-cost DSP programs, Scribus has been the best. But presently, a new update has made it very frustrating. One has to set a default font for the entire document, and then fight for every other font he wants to use.

But they'll get that right sooner or later, and then try some new technique, and we'll be off again. But with the budget I have to work with, I'll stick with Scribus. It's worlds better than anything I've tried before.


In my mind Scribus isn't good enough, yet. I've been using InDesign for the last 7 years. And for the last year I've been diving into Scribus for private projects.

What I find is that Scribus lacks some funcionality that I find essential, like being able to preview when creating styles. And create and manage tables.

But I hope those who work on developing Scribus, also tackles these issues. I'm no programmer, so I can't contribute, other than to tell what I like and what I'd like to get better.


I have actually have used PowerPoint to create a small booklet as the slides can be saved as individual images, its really nice to move the graphics and the textboxes around. I have tried Scribus a while ago, it just seemed off and not as intuitive as I would have liked. The size of the slides can be set up under.. Design and then page setup.

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