Scribus is a free, cross-platform, and open-source DTP (Desktop publishing) application. It can be used for many purposes, such as creating newsletters, posters, interactive PDF presentations, forms, business cards, brochures, books, or even comic strips.
You probably know about quite a few of the desktop-publishing (DTP) applications that have been evolving (or popping up) over the years, but do you know about Scribus. It’s one of those apps that has been flying under the radar since the first release in 2003, and it keeps getting better.
It’s one of the most versatile cross-platform compatible DTP applications with native versions available for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Unix, Linux, Haiku, OS/2 and beyond. But, what’s perhaps most important to note is that this application was released under the GNU General Public License as free software. There are lots of programs available for free out but rarely do I see one that’s as fully functional and powerful in the world of desktop publishing.
That may be partly because it’s hard to break into a realm where Adobe and Microsoft are such massive (and even overpowering) players, but that doesn’t stop the Scribus team from producing a potent desktop publishing tool.
A Bit of Perspective
I’ve used most of the alternatives over the years. I even used Scribus back in 2009. I tend to use the tools that are right for the project that I’m working on, but when I recently reinstalled Scribus, I was (and continue to be) pleasantly surprised. Over more than 13 years of continual development, the application has evolved into a tool that has the kind of power and reliability that I need for my projects, with impressive color management and typesetting options. While Pantone doesn’t come “with” the product, there are also solutions for that compatibility/integration as well.
If you’ve used other desktop publishing programs in the past, you know that the standard functionality includes the ability to create business cards, brochures, newsletters, posters, and books. This functionality has become increasingly important in the current era of easily accessible professional quality. You can’t afford to put out a shoddy product. I know that I can’t afford it, at least.
Whether you’re creating a product for your personal use, your company, or for a client, the results must be up-to-par at a basic level. If you want to convert prospects, keep your clients, and wow your audience, your output must be professional and amazing. (In many cases, your livelihood is predicated on a professional quality product.)
Scribus gives you the power to create all the standard publications and promotional material like all the other solutions out there. But I encourage you to take a step back and look at the price tag (or instead, the absence thereof). It’s a diamond in the rough.
A Future of Possibilities
One additional benefit that I’ve discovered in my current experience with Scribus is the ability to create animated presentations and forms in PDF. The flexibility and power of the very latest iterations of the application are further extended by the templates available, as well as the broad and growing base of support forums and peer-assistance resources.
So, I can start fast with a template to deliver on tight deadlines, but if (and when) I have more complex and specific requirements, I can start from scratch and customize the product to fit my needs and those of my client.
But, as I said, I have only recently been reintroduced to the product. I’m impressed, and I plan to continue to use Scribus, but I’m further empowered and excited when I read the reviews from other professionals and amateurs who have been using this application.
I think it benefits us all to further delve into a wealth of resources and knowledge that continues to evolve to support the needs of us, the actual users. I’ve found those resources and base of specific instructions and details to be useful so far. Scribus feels familiar, easy to use, and it promises more possibilities as I continue to dig in and “play” further.
That means more to me than probably anything else. I want to be able to easily find other users who are at my level of experience with the product, but I also need to tap into power users, so I can continue to improve. It’s all right there, easily accessible, with plenty of room to grow and evolve in the months and years to come. It feels like the perfect desktop publishing solution.