Free Desktop Publishing Software for Mac

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

All Mac computers ship with the publishing application Pages installed as part of the iWork suite. Many of the other free desktop publishing software programs available for the Mac are specialty utilities. They are fine for a specific job—such as labels or business cards—but they aren't all-around page design tools. However, there are a few free programs with full desktop publishing capabilities.

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Pages

Apple's Pages, which ships with all Macs, is a powerful word processor that can be used as document publishing program. Pages comes with a selection of templates that make documents look professionally designed right away. You can also start with a blank slate and 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. If you need basic business documents, envelopes and business cards, this program can handle them easily. 

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Scribus

Scribus logo
scribus.net

Scribus is open source desktop publishing software that is available for several platforms, including Mac. 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. It has the features of the pro packages, but it's free. 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.

 

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Apache OpenOffice Productivity Suite

Apache OpenOffice Logo
Apache OpenOffice Logo

Not just as good as, some say it's 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 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.

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Publisher Lite

Publisher Light 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.

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Inkscape

Inkscape screenshot from Inkscape.org
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.