Microsoft Publisher is often peoples’ go-to program when they want to create brochures and other printed presentations. Unfortunately, many users feel as though its usability could be greatly improved, particularly for beginner designers.
If you find creating printed material with Publisher a little too complex, there are alternatives available that might make your creation process a little easier.
What is Microsoft Publisher?
As the name suggests, Microsoft Publisher is a desktop program that you can use to create things that are meant to be published. Typically, you use it to make things like business cards, greeting cards, and newsletters. For these reasons, it is a better option than anything else in the Microsoft Office Suite.
Here are four great alternatives to Microsoft Publisher if you’re looking to make a switch.
PagePlus Starter Edition
PagePlus Starter Edition is a free alternative that lets you create dynamic marketing materials. It is a phenomenal desktop publishing software. You can make things like stationery, posters, brochures, flyers, newsletters and business cards. With a handy pop-up that lets you pick and choose what you want to create, PagePlus is pretty intuitive for beginners. If you don’t want to start from scratch, the program comes with a good variety of ready-made templates. Even better, PagePlus supports drag and drop design, making it a breeze to move around different content quickly during the creation process.
The Starter Edition of PagePlus is free upon registration on Serif’s website. After registering, you will be sent a product registration key via email, but remember, not all of the pay-for features will be available to you.
If you’re looking for an open-source alternative to Microsoft Publisher, Scribus is one good option. Scribus is a free desktop publishing tool that works cross-platform. This makes it convenient for people who like to hop between multiple computers and operating systems. Scribus offers a lot of great features, such as the ability to export and import PDF documents, as well as drag and drop designs. Formatting can be a little tricky in some instances though, and some scripting knowledge is required to access a few of the features.
Formerly known as OpenOffice.org, Apache OpenOffice is another open-source alternative to Publisher. Instead of one program to make your creations with, OpenOffice comes with five. You can create content as text documents, using the presentation app, or with the drawing program. OpenOffice is a really great way to explore how more than one app within an office suite can create customizable content exactly to your specifications.
If you want every option known to man and one of the most professional publishing tools available, Adobe InDesign is unquestionably the program to go with. It is available on both Windows computers and Mac OS. It is a great design tool that is used by small businesses and even professionals in the newspaper and magazine biz. For the up-and-coming graphic designer, it’s going to be your bread and butter. It comes with extensive tutorials and documentation, as well as great integration with other Adobe products.
If you’re familiar with other Adobe apps, InDesign has a similar interface and should be relatively easy to navigate. There are a few advanced features that are a bit hard to grasp. If this is your first time using an Adobe product though, InDesign might present a rather steep learning curve. Since it’s a part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite, however, this professional app comes with a monthly subscription fee. Also, if you’re looking for a web-based design tool, we would recommend another Adobe product: Adobe XD.
Regardless of which program you use, one of the best things you can do to improve the quality of your work is to learn design. You may just be a few quick tricks away from taking your work from the amateur level to the pro level.