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InDesign is used professionally for everything from creating stationary, flyers, annual reports, calendars and posters to professional magazines, online interactive digital publications and e-books. The introduction of a huge number of royalty free professional images in Adobe Stock means anyone can now produce professional looking publications without the need for a big design or imaging department. Adobe has simplified InDesign a lot to appeal to a wider market and there are also plenty of easy to follow InDesign video tutorials to help you get to grips with the software.
You can now easily create multi-column text blocks, apply font styles or changes and wrap text around objects in a few clicks. For starters, you can of course import high quality vector graphics from other Adobe apps such as Illustrator and Photoshop in a few clicks. But what allows you to get really creative with InDesign is undoubtedly Adobe Stock which integrates into all of its Creative Cloud software. Adobe Stock is a huge repository of millions of royalty free stock images and videos including those in 4K quality. These are instantly accessible and searchable via the CC Libraries menu along the right hand side of InDesign.
This means you can find and import high quality professional images and multimedia for virtually any subject which saves both time and money in sourcing images for your publication. For a limited time you can get 10 images for free with a free trial of Adobe Stock. You get 20GB of online storage space for publication and file storage with your Creative Cloud subscription and publishing to it is as simple as clicking the Publish Online button at the top of the interface.
Anyone can then view your finished publications online either via a public link or embedded in a website on any device without the need for extra plugins or a Creative Cloud account. Another plus of InDesign Creative Cloud integration is that you can start designing or creating publications on your iPad and then continue working on it on your Mac. Alternatively, you can create publications or designs on your Mac and make last-minute edits or corrections on your iPad on the move. Overall, InDesign for Mac is the ultimate desktop publishing software for Mac due to its range of features, general ease of use for a professional DTP software on Mac and ability to publish to all formats.
The integration with Adobe Stock allows you to produce truly professional results without the need for expensive and time-consuming photography. You can also download a free trial of InDesign to try it first. Adobe products are professional design tools and certainly require a lot of graphics processing power to run well.
Swift Publisher is made by Belight Software who are also the team behind Printworks see app number 5 and one of the best home design software for Mac , Live Home 3D full review here.
Swift Publisher is ideal for producing booklets, bulletins, flyers or brochures and makes rearranging elements such as images, tables and text very easy. Swift Publisher has professional looking templates which you can customize anyway you want and help you create layouts quickly. There are also more advanced touches like the possibility to define bleeds and configure correct DPI for print publishing. There are also lots of easy to follow video tutorials to get you started with Swift Publisher although we found you still sometimes have to Google certain functions to work out how to do them.
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We noticed stability can be an occasional issue when working with lots of images but for pamphlets, flyers and straightforward publications, it works very well. You can find full details on Swift Publisher pricing here. You can also try Swift Publisher for free to judge for yourself first. Pages is now available as a standalone app though and is capable of both word processing and desktop publishing.
With lots of professional looking templates and layouts, you can create some really professional results using Pages. Pages does have its drawbacks though. Lucidpress is an easy to use online desktop publishing software with over 3 million users according to the developer Lucid Software. Lucidpress is extremely user friendly and helps you to create extremely professional looking print and digital publications including magazines, newsletters, posters, flyers, reports, digital magazines and more. Lucidpress allows you to easily drag and drop elements, import text from Google Docs, add tables, buttons and insert interactive media such as YouTube videos.
One of the most striking things about Lucidpress is the huge range of professional looking templates ranging from posters and invitations to gift certificates and business cards. Templates are optimized for high quality dpi printing although this is only available in the Professional and Team Plans of Lucidpress.
Free and Basic plans will also display on digital devices at dpi but paper printing will be limited to dpi. All Lucid products are highly focused on team collaboration and Lucidpress is especially ideal for those working in an editorial team. The Pro and Team Plans of Lucidpress support anything from 2 to , users working at the same time and allow you to see who is working on what, leave comments and chat in real time to other members. Editors can manage permissions of other users to limit commenting, editing or viewing.
You can also see revision history so you can see who made changes and undo any unwanted changes instantly. When it comes to sharing documents, Lucidpress is integrated with services such as Dropbox, Flickr and Facebook so that you can easily import images and graphics from them and also publish directly from Lucidpress to them.
Finally one unique aspect to Lucidpress is internal analytics. The Pro and Team plans of Lucidpress track how people are interacting with your publication and give you an fascinating oversight as to how users scroll, click and interact with your publications.
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The basic single user version of Lucidpress is completely free to use but is limited to 3 pages and 25MB of storage. Lucidpress often offers some pretty big discounts too if you subscribe annually rather than monthly. Printworks is a more recent product from Belight Software, the makers of Swift Publisher see review above. While Swift Publisher is more focused on page layouts, Printworks is designed for desktop publishing tasks of all kinds from brochures and calendars to CD labels and business cards.
There are over free templates to choose from including bi-fold and tri-fold brochures, address labels plus there are additional free Printworks templates here. Printworks feels a bit like a more basic but user friendly version of QuarkXpress see review later with useful two-page spread views, master pages for repeat content and unlimited layers. Publisher Plus has a more familiar Windows feel to it and is as a result now one of the most popular equivalents to Microsoft Publisher available.
However, there are a few disadvantages to be aware of. That said, if you compare it side-by-side with MS Publisher, Publisher Plus actually has more features although it should be stressed, only if you upgrade from Lite to the full version of Publisher Plus. Your best bet is probably to try to Publisher Lite from the Mac App Store for free first and then upgrade to Publisher Plus if you like it.
If cloud solutions like Lucidpress or professional publishing software such as InDesign are not your thing, iStudio Publisher is an excellent desktop alternative. Creating brochures and documents is very easy — you can simply drag and drop images and text boxes into a page and export the final product to PDF. For those that need to send the document to professional printers, iStudio Publisher also gives you the ability to work with colors in different colorspaces such as RGB and CMYK. If you want to create interactive documents on your Mac, then FlippingBook might be for you.
FlippingBook can be used for creating interactive documents, books, magazines, catalogs or brochures. The page flip effect in particular looks really cool and feels like browsing a genuine print publication on your Mac or iOS device. FlippingBook automatically optimizes all publications to display as well on desktop as they do on mobile devices and you can even embed them into blogs and websites.
You can add other useful elements like a table of contents, embed videos in documents and even pop-up images on pages.go site
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All pages and publications can be branded with your own logo or background and you can choose to host your publications on your own server or with FlippingBook Cloud. Note that although you can use FlippingBook online, there is also a FlippingBook desktop client for Windows although none for Mac as yet.
Scribus is a powerful professional free open source desktop publishing application which can do pretty much everything that Microsoft Publisher can and more. It has plenty of templates to choose from including for brochures, newsletters and posters.
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The main toolbar across the top of Scribus provides all of the main functions and there is a sliderule along the margins to help you be exact with your designs and layouts. As is typical with open source software however, you have to feel your way around Scirbus to get used to it.
Note that you also need to install Ghostscript on your Mac in order for it to work.
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There is no official developer support either although there is a Scribus community forum where you may find answers to your problems. If you want a free DTP software though, and have time study the manual, Scribus is a very powerful publishing program for absolutely nothing. No review of desktop publishing software on Mac would be complete without a mention of QuarkXPress.