Free Desktop Publishing Software for Windows

These free software programs have powerful publishing capabilities

Many of the free desktop publishing software downloads are specialty utilities. They are fine for a specific job—such as labels or business cards—but they aren't full-featured page design tools. However, a few free programs for Windows have powerful publishing capabilities, including page layout, vector graphics, and image editing programs.



Henrik "HerHde" Hüttemann / [CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Scribus is free desktop publishing software with many of the features of pro packages. Scribus offers CMYK support, font embedding and subsetting, 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, and pull-down menus—and without the hefty price tag. As great as free is, this might not be the software you want if you have no prior experience with desktop publishing software and don't want to devote time to mastering the learning curve. 

After you download the free Scribus software, check out these Scribus Tutorials.



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. It's a graphics program that is more flexible than a bitmap photo program for doing many desktop publishing page layout tasks.

After you download Inkscape, learn to use it for desktop publishing with these Inkscape tutorials.



The GNU Image Management Program (GIMP) is a popular free open source alternative to Photoshop and other photo editing software. GIMP is a bitmap photo editor, so it doesn't work well for text-intensive design or anything with multiple pages, but it's a great free addition to your desktop publishing software collection.