I'm not very well-versed with commercial graphic design tools and only know the basic things with open source tools.

I've had someone create a brochure for me and they've sent me the PDF and an indd file. They used InDesign. The tool I'm using, Scribus, can't handle indd files, so I'm wondering which file type the creator should export for me to be able to import it in Scribus.

The supported file types for imports of Scribus are listed here..

I want to be able to make minor adjustments, like change a text field. The few on the brochure are vector graphics I think.

What export file type from InDesign offers the best compatibility with Scribus?

1 Answer 1


Scribus 1.4.x (the one mentioned in the wiki article you're linking) has no way to exchange content with InDesign (in the way you're aiming to).

Scribus 1.6 (the next future stable version) will have some ways, but I'm not sure that you will be really able to go back and forth between InDesign and Scribus.

The features are already in the Scribus 1.5.x development version and you can you can currently "import" IDML and IDMS files from InDesign.

The quality of the import is rather good but not perfect yet:

  • We need more test files that fail to fix the importer.
  • Scribus and InDesign do not have exactly the same features set, so it's not always possible to import every item in the InDesign file.

You can get the latest Scribus 1.5.x in many ways:

Test it and see if it fits your needs.

Exporting to IDML is not there yet, but if there is interest for it, somebody sponsors it (and eventually somebody else programs it) it should not be that hard to create an exporter from the Scribus native format to IDML.

  • Thank you for the information. So there no file type both tools support that can be edited? The more you know... thank you
    – SaAtomic
    Aug 3, 2017 at 13:18
  • 1
    Yes, ID can readn and write IDML and Scribus can read it. Also, both can read and write PDF. But Scribus will outline the whole text when importing from PDF. So, you cannot really go back and forth. And, as said, it might not that hard to program an IDML exporter from Scribus, but somebody has to do it... Then, you could exchange files between both, as long as you stick to the features that both can understand.
    – a.l.e
    Aug 3, 2017 at 13:45

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