The Best Mac Desktop Publishing Software to Buy

Desktop Publishing Software Titles for the Mac

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InDesign and QuarkXPress may get the most attention from Mac designers, but there are hundreds of programs used in desktop publishing. This list focuses on the Mac programs that best fit the page layout category for professional, business and consumer use, as well as specialty programs for business cards, greeting cards and more. Some are generally classified as office suites or graphics software, but they are all used for a variety of page layout tasks by professional graphic designers, businesses or consumers. 

Adobe Illustrator CC

Illustrator CC is graphics software for vector drawing. Illustrator can also be used for some page layout tasks such as business cards and ads. This industry-stardard professional graphics app is used to create logos, icons and complex illustrations for print, web and video. It is available for Mac as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription service.

Illustrator CC 2017 is available for Mac as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription service. A free trial is available

Also see: More Vector Illustration Software for Mac 


    Adobe InDesign

    InDesign is the successor to PageMaker, the original desktop publishing software program. It is a page layout software program that has overtaken QuarkXPress as the most popular professional page layout software available.

    InDesign CC 2017 is available for Mac as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription service. A free trial is available.

    Adobe Photoshop

    The most widely used professional image-editing program is packed with features. Photoshop is a prerequisite for most professional design employment. Use Photoshop to create and enhance photos, mobile app, web designs and 3D artwork.

    Photoshop CC 2017 is available as part of Adobe's Creative Cloud subscription service. A free trial is available.

    If your image-editing demands are light, you may be able to get by with Photoshop Elements, an Adobe product that is similar to but less expensive than the full version of Photoshop.

    Apple iWork Pages

    Pages, the word processing component of the Apple iWork suite, combines both word processing documents and page layout (including some graphics tools) in one program—with different templates and windows depending on the type of document. It can also handle Microsoft Word files.

    Pages ships with new Macs and is a free download from the Mac App Store for most Mac users. A Pages mobile app is also available for Mac mobile devices. 

    Pages for iCloud can be accessed online free by you and your team to work in collaboration on the same document. A free iCloud account is required for access.

    BeLight Software: Printfolio

    Use BeLight's Printfolio creativity suite and the included templates and graphics to create DVD labels, business cards, labels, newsletters and other projects. It includes Business Card Composer and Swift Publisher, both also sold separately.

    BeLight Software: Business Card Composer

    Part of BeLight's PrintFolio, this component just for business cards is also sold separately. It comes with image-editing tools, several printing options, and thousands of images covering many occupations and types of businesses. Business Card Composer includes 24,000 clip art images, 740 professional designs and a hundred additional fonts. 

    BeLight Software: Swift Publisher

    Swift Publisher is a standalone program for page layout for the Mac.  It is also a component of BeLight's Printfolio. It is useful for newsletters, flyers, brochures, and other home, organization and small business needs. 


    Chronos: iScrapbook

    IScrapbook supports both 8.5"x11" and 12"x12" formats or custom templates, offers direct access to your iPhoto albums, and comes with its own collection of 40,000+ photos and clip art images. Some of the photo editing and layout tools include cropping, brightness/contrast/sharpness controls, transparency, shadows, layers, masks and one-click special effects.


    Encore: Scrapbook Boutique

    This basic scrapbooking program lets you start from scratch or build from a template. The Scrapbook Boutique software contains themes for weddings, family, baby, kids, holidays, vacations, seasons and many more occasions. Layout and photo-editing tools are included.


    Encore: The Print Shop for Mac

    This consumer level software comes with helpful wizards and templates to jump-start the design process, and it includes photo editing, drawing and text tools that make it a good all-in-one package for simple desktop publishing and print creativity.

    Encore: PrintMaster

    Prior to the 2.0 series, this was Windows-only software. The new PrintMaster 2.0 series opened up this popular consumer creativity brand to Mac users. PrintMaster comes with plenty of templates, graphics, and fonts.


    GIMP (

    GIMP is free, open source software that provides the tools to work with high-quality images. This software can handle retouching, restoring and creative composites. It is considered one of the best free options to Photoshop.

    Hallmark Card Studio

    The Mac edition of Hallmark Card Studio is optimized for OS X 10.7 and higher. The software includes more than 7,500 Hallmark cards and projects and 10,000 clip art images. It includes a special Sentiments section for people who are looking for just the right thing to say.


    Inkscape (

    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. 


    MemoryMixer is a top-rated PC and Mac digital scrapbooking software title. You can use its InstaMix feature to arrange elements on the page for you. Use the templates or arrange everything from scratch. Print up to full 8.5" x 11" (landscape) or 12" x 12" (square) pages, create a CD or make albums with hundreds of pages.

    Microsoft Office for Mac

    This industry-standard software packages comes in an Office 365 subscription for computers, tablets and phones. Programs share the same file formats with Windows users, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel and other components. 


    Ohanaware: Funtastic Photos

    Funtastic Photos is Mac-only software for photo editing, photo mosaics and photo sharing. It​ also lets you create greeting cards. If you were a user of Script Software's Easy Card (no longer under development), Funtastic Photos is recommended as a sidegrade. 

    A free trial to Funtastic Photos is available.

    OpenOffice (

    Some say Apache Open Office is better than Microsoft Office. Get fully integrated word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing and database tools in this open source software. 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 OpenOffice. 


    Desktop publishing and page layout for multiple platforms, PageStream is a feature-rich page layout program. Use the software to interactively design your pages as they will appear in the final product. Includes drawing tools.

    PageStream is from Grasshopper LLC.

    Print Explosion

    Print Explosion offers creativity and home publishing for the Mac with templates, graphics and fonts to create greeting cards, banners, signs and similar projects. Print Explosion includes thousands of designs, 5,000 photos, 2,500 fine art images and 500 TrueType fonts.

    Print Explosion Deluxe for Mac is from Nova Development.


    In the late '80s and '90s, Quark usurped the desktop publishing community's first love, PageMaker, with QuarkXPress. Once the undisputed king of desktop publishing software applications for both Mac and Windows users, Quark's premiere product—QuarkXPress—is still a powerhouse publishing platform.

    RagTime is a frame-based page layout for professional business publishing.  It supports Apple's Retina displays and FileMaker Pro. It has been updated for MacOS Sierra.


    Scribus (

    Probably the premiere free desktop publishing software application, Scribus has the features of the pro packages, but it's free. Scribus offers CMYK support, font embedding and sub-setting, PDF creation, EPS import/export, basic drawing tools and other professional level features. It 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. 



    Stone Design: Create

    Create is a page layout, graphics and web design suite for the Mac. It offers multiple master layers, text flow across blocks and pages, text wraps, automatic page numbers, text styles and spell check. It also supports PDF import and export, is a full-featured illustration program for great graphics, and you can publish your project to the web. 

    Story Rock: My Memories Suite

    Use My Memories Suite 7 to build scrapbook albums from scratch or with the many templates. The online Design Shop offers many more templates and papers. For both Mac and Windows platforms, the newest features include the ability to drag and drop photos and papers directly onto pages and the ability to zoom in for precise positioning.