Free Desktop Publishing Software for Mac

Free Doesn't Mean Second Rate. This Mac Software Gets the Job Done.

There are many options available for desktop publishing software, and many of them, though very powerful, also come with a hefty price tag. If you're looking to do some desktop publishing of your own, but you don't want to go all-in on an expensive commercial piece of software, there are great options available on the Mac for free.

Pages on the Mac

Mac computers ship with the word processing application Pages installed, which is part of a suite of desktop publishing and office productivity software from Apple (Numbers and Keynote are Apple's spreadsheet and presentation applications, respectively).

Many other free desktop publishing software programs available for the Mac are specialty utilities. They are fine for a specific job—such as for labels or business cards—but they may not be page design tools that cover all aspects of a publishing project.

There are, however, a few free programs with full desktop publishing capabilities. Here are some of the best choices.

Pages

Apple's Pages word processing app logo
Apple's Pages word processing app.

Apple's Pages, which ships on all Macs, is a powerful word processor that can be used as document publishing program. If you need basic business documents, envelopes and business cards, this program can handle them easily. 

Pages comes with a selection of templates that help you create professional looking documents easy and in a short period of time. You can also work from a blank page, add fonts, personalize text styles, and add graphics and photos to design your document. 

Pages exports to PDF and Microsoft Word formats, and imports Word documents.

Scribus logo
scribus.net

Scribus is open source desktop publishing software that is available for several platforms, including Mac. Scribus offers CMYK color model support, font embedding and sub-setting, PDF creation, EPS import/export, basic drawing tools, and other professional level features.

Scribus works in a fashion similar to Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress with text frames, floating palettes, pull-down menus and has the features of the pro packages—but without the hefty price tag.

However, Scribus may not be the best choice if you don't have the time or interest to devote to overcoming the learning curve associated with high-end professional level software. More »

Apache OpenOffice Logo
Apache OpenOffice Logo

OpenOffice offers fully-integrated word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing and database tools in an open source software suite. Among the many features, you'll find PDF and SWF (Flash) export, increased Microsoft Office format support and multiple languages.

If your desktop publishing needs are basic but you also want a full suite of office tools, try Apache OpenOffice Productivity Suite. However, for more complex desktop publishing tasks you might be better off with Scribus or one of the print creativity titles for the Mac. More »

Publisher Lite logo
Publisher Lite

Publisher Lite from PearlMountain Technology is a free desktop publishing and page layout application for business and home use. Available on the Mac App Store, this free software comes with more than 45 professional templates and hundreds of clipart images and backgrounds. Additional templates for brochures, flyers, newsletters, posters, business cards, invitations, and menus are offered as in-app purchases at an affordable $0.99 each. More »

Inkscape screenshot from Inkscape.org
Inkscape screenshot from Inkscape.org

A popular free, open source vector drawing program, Inkscape uses the scalable vector graphics (SVG) file format. Use Inkscape for creating text and graphics compositions including business cards, book covers, flyers and ads. Inkscape is similar in capabilities to Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw. Although it is a graphic software program, it's quite capable of handling some page layout tasks.

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