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Best Desktop Publishing Software

by Matt D'AngeloLast Modified: March 26, 2018

Intro
Best Picks
State of the Industry
Pricing
Negotiation Tips
Reviews
Common Desktop Publishing Questions & Answers
Map
Services
Compare Quotes

Intro

Whether for drafting company brochures or printing new business cards, publishing software is an essential tool for many business owners. There's a lot to consider when deciding which program to purchase. For some businesses, page layout software that's focused more on enterprise-level operation and pairing with third-party companies, like printing services, can be the best option. For smaller, at-home projects that need a professional appearance but don't demand control over the publishing intricacies that page layout software provides, desktop publishing software may be a better choice.

Regardless of which is best for your business, it's crucial to consider what features your company needs. While most software includes tools for managing text and building professional documents, individual features vary greatly.

Best Picks

Best Software
Best PC Software
Best Mac Software
Best Support
Adobe InDesign

Best Publishing Software

Adobe InDesign

This publishing software is part of Adobe's Creative Cloud, but you can purchase and download it separately for both home and professional use. The advantage of InDesign is that it can take on nearly any project. It's a versatile design tool with built-in features that allow you to tackle both text- and graphics-heavy projects. One feature lets you save and view recently used fonts so you can easily access them when you need them at different points in the document. Layer tools allow you to edit and adjust pictures to fit your project.

While InDesign is an extremely versatile tool, it doesn't come with any preloaded templates. As it's a member of the Adobe Creative Cloud, there are several online video tutorials to help you figure out how to do exactly what you need to with the program. It also syncs with Adobe's other products, allowing you to manage all your areas of design in one place. There may be a bit of a learning curve for novices, but for professionals, InDesign is a great publishing tool.

PagePlus

Best Publishing Software for PC

PagePlus

PagePlus is effective page layout software for PC. It has a built-in startup assistant to help you learn how to use the software, making it ideal for novices as well as professionals who haven't used the software before. As a drag-and-drop program, it has a lot of great tools to build 3D charts, adjust photos and change text. There are also tools to help you work efficiently with a clean workspace. In the traditional layout menu, each menu opens and closes as you click and move from one menu to the next.

PagePlus also provides ways to fully customize your document without having to deal with intricate design details. The scheme tab, for example, allows you to change the entire color scheme of a document with just a few clicks – it adjusts headers, text, shapes and photos all according to the scheme. There are also several templates for different projects. All of these tools enable easy design and simple drag-and-drop customizing, but it limits the overall customization features you get with a program like InDesign. This tool, while the best for PC users, is great for new designers as well.

iWork

Best Publishing Software for Mac

iWork

This program combines the functionality of a word processor with the graphic elements of design programs to create a great option for Mac users. iWork features templates for things like cards, letters, programs and resumes, all of which you can customize to fit your project's needs. It comes with a photo and image editor, so you can easily import photos and align them with text. Because iWork is both a word processor and a graphic design program, you get the best of both worlds as a designer.

You can easily add things like borders, drop shadows or reflections to shadows while also adjusting formatting and fonts or adding text boxes. This makes it ideal page layout and desktop publishing software for Mac users. There are also several different sharing and printing options from the program. iWork makes it easy to upload your documents and share them via iCloud, email or PDF. It's also easy to adjust grayscale before printing. As a program developed by Apple, iWork is ideal for Mac users.

QuarkXPress - Desktop Publishing

Best Software Publishing Support

QuarkXPress - Desktop Publishing

QuarkXPress is available for both Mac and Windows with extensive support to guide you through the program. It provides a YouTube channel on how to use the program. This makes learning to use QuarkXPress simple and easy. QuarkXPress also has a forum with a knowledgebase for users to tap into. You can speak directly via phone or live chat with a customer service representative to talk through a question or issue.

QuarkXPress also offers powerful design tools for publishing. You can change colors and text, add layers, and import and adjust images. It features digital publishing, so you can publish a project directly to the web or a mobile site. It also has extensive page layout features, so building magazines, newspapers or other publications is easy. QuarkXPress' design and page layout tools make it great publishing software, and its forum and YouTube channel make it easy to learn how to use.

State of the Industry

Publishing software allows your business to produce professional-grade documents at a fraction of the cost of commercial printing. Restaurants that need to print menus, businesses looking to produce an e-book or a writer looking to self-publish a novel can all benefit from either desktop publishing or page layout software.

Publishing content in a professional manner establishes a good face for your business. A publishing system that is flexible and has a lot of features allows you to adjust your print materials to fit your business, regardless of how its style or feel changes over time. Most software comes with the ability to edit and filter images, create elegant text styles, or layer elements to create visual effects. With the proper support systems, workers can learn how to effectively and efficiently create documents and edit content.

Besides presenting your company in a professional manner, publishing software can also serve as a more efficient way to create content. Every business owner has used a word processor like Microsoft Word, but those same projects may be better off in publishing software like InDesign. A typical example is flyers. It's easy to hop on a word processor and create a flyer for your business. But with publishing software, you can use more features and create a better, attention-grabbing flyer for your business.

Pricing

The page layout software will likely be more expensive than the desktop publishing software because of the multitude of features. While you can purchase some of these programs for a one-time fee, others are available on a subscription basis. Depending on the magnitude of your project and how long you'll need to use the software, it may be worth it to either invest in a service for a one-time fee or opt for a subscription-based service. The advantage to subscription services is that they often provide update options, so you will always have the latest software.

Editor's Note: Looking for website design services? We can help you choose the one that’s right for you. Use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

Negotiation Tips

There are a few important features to look for when considering publishing software. Besides the different sharing and publishing options, publishing software should come with a full selection of tools for design and page layout.

  • Layout tools – Make sure you find a program that is user friendly and fits your skills as a designer. Some programs can have a steep learning curve, so it's important to find one with layout and organization tools that are easy to pick up. For more experienced designers, the ability to do things like group objects and arrange layers can be a crucial aspect of a program. Also, you should be able to do things like quickly reconfigure paragraphs and toggle the snap-to-grid alignment.
  • Design tools – Just about all of these programs should have tools to adjust graphics, add filters to photos or edit images. The best programs, however, allow you to go even further by designing things like smartphone apps, e-books and QR codes.
  • Text options – You should be able to do things like create drop caps, type text along a customized path and treat letters as individual shapes. Some programs even allow you to create visual effects. While text options are important, they take a back seat to layout and graphic tools for these programs.

Reviews

Below are all of our reviews for desktop publishing software and related categories. Our coverage includes reviews of the best desktop publishing software, page layout software and Mac publishing software. See all our reviews below. 

Common Desktop Publishing Software Questions & Answers

Have a desktop publishing software question of your own?

InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop are the defacto standards for desktop publishing. But having the software and learning to use it doesn't make a professional desktop publisher, designer or photographer. You have to know some of the principles of what makes a good page, and how to incorporate copy and graphics effectively. Having an inherent sense of what a balanced, visually appealing page is, is important. InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop are great tools. But they're just that —...

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If you are laying out a project for print you need to use a combination of software. Adobe CC includes InDesign. InDesign on its own is a okay program. It works best with Photoshop and Illustrator. It is a layout program. Illustrator is great for vector graphics and a specific kind of illustration. Logos and branding work great in Illustrator. Photoshop is for photo retouching and getting creative with pixel based images. Photoshop is also a illustration tool. Now when you have your...

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When I was starting up my business I invested a bit of money with a graphic designer to create my logo and some graphics elements that I used for both my business cards and website. Then, for my business cards, I printed them using Vista Print but with my custom graphics (cost is reasonable and I was able to create the business card myself quite easily, even though I'm not a designer). I'd say it depends on your what your business is, but for me, as a marketing and PR agency, the investment in...

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I look for relationship, reliability, flexibility, and timeliness to delivery - long before price. Cheapest price does not always mean business. What are your core values, what is important to you to provide to your customers, etc...I ask this because, for example...as a consultant, coach - with tons of us out there, I could deliver on my core values and go inexpensive..but that is devaluing my work, and customers will see that - therefore it works against me - it certainly doesn't work for...

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I like to highlight this: 1. Clarify startup business ideas - to sell 3D printers or to use 3D printers to provide services or to rent 3D printers or to run other business but using 3D printers to enhance the results. 2. I suppose you wanted to use 3D printers to provide services - this is the most capital intensive model. Different targeted customers required different types of 3D printers and material investment will be onerous if the mixture of customers are not correct. 3. 3D business...

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Map

Adobe InDesign
345 Park Avenue
San Jose, CA
Adobe InDesign
Lucidpress
10355 South Jordan Gateway
South Jordan, UT
Lucidpress
Printworks
300 North LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL
Printworks
iWork
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA
iWork
The Print Shop Professional
30 union Wharf
Boston, MA
The Print Shop Professional
Adobe FrameMaker
345 Park Avenue
San Jose, CA
Adobe FrameMaker
Adobe InDesign
345 Park Avenue
San Jose, CA
Adobe InDesign
QuarkXPress - Desktop Publishing
1225 17thStreet
Denver, CO
QuarkXPress - Desktop Publishing
PagePlus
12 Wilford Industrial Estate
Nottingham,
PagePlus
Publisher
7000 State Hwy 161
Irving, TX
Publisher
CorelDraw
1600 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, ON
CorelDraw
PageStream - Desktop Publishing
320 Summer Street
Boston, MA
PageStream - Desktop Publishing
Creator Professional
1720 West Detweiller Drive
Peoria, IL
Creator Professional
PageFocus Pro
11038 167thCourt NE
Redmond, WA
PageFocus Pro
Swift Publisher
300 North LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL
Swift Publisher
PrintMaster
9700 w 76TH Street
Eden Prairie, MN
PrintMaster

Services

List of 19Best Desktop Publishing Software

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