a set of brochures with different designs on them.

Best Adobe InDesign Alternatives in 2023

If you're desktop publishing on a budget or need a cheaper alternative to Adobe InDesign, here's a list of alternative options to help you achieve your goals.

These Adobe InDesign alternatives will give you other ways to design and publish your creations in 2023.

Adobe InDesign is a great software for those who have the time and patience to learn it.

For beginners, there’s a steep learning curve, and don’t mention the subscription fee…

(InDesign is part of Adobe Creative Cloud, which requires a recurring payment.)

Those trying to run InDesign on older computers may find it slow to run, being a resource-intensive application.

Thankfully, there are some great InDesign alternatives I’ve been testing, and most have a free trial.

Spoiler alert: If you’re looking for the best desktop publishing software, you may be disappointed.

I still prefer InDesign to all these alternatives, but it’s hard to argue with software that doesn’t require an ongoing subscription.

Let’s take a closer look at the top Adobe InDesign alternatives of the year.

Best Adobe InDesign Alternatives (Desktop Publishing Software)

1. QuarkXPress

a man is jumping in front of a computer screen on QuarkXPress homepage

  • Powerful layout and design capabilities
  • Extensive typographic control
  • Support for interactive digital publishing
  • Robust prepress and print production features
  • Steep learning curve
  • Higher cost compared to some alternatives

Looking for an Adobe InDesign alternative? QuarkXPress might be just what you need.

QuarkXPress offers a powerful set of design tools and features, making it a top contender in the world of desktop publishing software.

While Adobe InDesign dominates the market, QuarkXPress has its own loyal user base and a reputation for excellence.

With QuarkXPress, you’ll find robust typographic capabilities, precise layout control, and advanced color management options.

One of the major advantages of QuarkXPress is its one-time purchase model, which can save you money in the long run compared to Adobe’s subscription-based pricing.

Personally, I already subscribe to the Adobe All Apps Plan, which includes InDesign and various other Adobe Apps.

However, if you’re on the Photography Plan or have no desire to subscribe to any Adobe plan, being able to buy QuarkXPress outright is hugely attractive.

Additionally, QuarkXPress seamlessly integrates with other design tools and even allows you to import Adobe InDesign files, making the transition smoother for those familiar with InDesign.

However, it’s important to note that QuarkXPress may have a steeper learning curve, especially for beginners. And while it offers powerful features, it may not have the same extensive ecosystem of plugins and resources as Adobe InDesign.

In the end, the choice between QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign depends on your specific needs and preferences. It’s worth giving QuarkXPress a try, especially with its free trial option, to see if it aligns with your design requirements.

2. Affinity Publisher

a screenshot of Affinity Publisher homepage

  • Affordable one-time purchase
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Excellent typographic tools
  • Advanced layout and design features
  • Limited availability of third-party resources
  • Some features may be less robust compared to InDesign

Affinity Publisher is another of the best Adobe Indesign alternatives worth considering.

Affinity Publisher is a professional-grade desktop publishing software that offers a comprehensive set of tools for creating stunning designs and layouts.

With its intuitive interface and powerful features, Affinity Publisher allows users to handle complex projects with ease. It provides precise control over typography, layout, color management, and image editing.

One standout feature of Affinity Publisher is its impressive compatibility with other popular design software. It seamlessly integrates with Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo, allowing for a seamless workflow across the Affinity suite.

Affinity Publisher also supports importing and exporting Adobe InDesign files, making it easier to collaborate with colleagues or clients who use InDesign.

Not only does Affinity Publisher offer a cost-effective one-time purchase option, but it also provides regular updates with new features and improvements at no additional cost.

While it may not have the same extensive ecosystem of plugins and resources as Adobe InDesign, Affinity Publisher continues to gain popularity among designers seeking a reliable and powerful alternative.

Give Affinity Publisher a try with its free trial and see if it meets your design needs and fits seamlessly into your workflow.

3. Scribus (Free InDesign Alternative)

a screen shot of the scribus website.

  • Free InDesign alternative and open-source
  • Wide range of layout and design tools
  • Supports multiple file formats
  • Customizable with various plugins and extensions
  • User interface can be less intuitive
  • Steeper learning curve for beginners

If you’re searching for a free and open-source Adobe InDesign alternative, look no further than Scribus.

Scribus is a desktop publishing software that offers a range of design features and capabilities to create professional layouts and publications.

As an open-source software, Scribus is freely available to download and use, making it an attractive option for those on a budget or who prefer open-source solutions.

With Scribus, you can handle various design tasks, including page layout, typesetting, image editing, and PDF creation.

While it may not have the same polished interface as some commercial software, Scribus still provides a robust set of tools for designing flyers, brochures, newsletters, and more.

One advantage of Scribus is its cross-platform compatibility, as it is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems.

It’s important to note that as an open-source project, Scribus may have a smaller user community and fewer resources compared to commercial software like Adobe InDesign.

Nevertheless, if you’re willing to invest some time in learning the software and exploring its capabilities, Scribus can be a reliable option for creating professional publications without the financial burden.

4. Swift Publisher

a screenshot of Swift Publisher home page

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Affordable pricing
  • Offers a variety of templates and designs
  • Supports multiple file formats
  • Limited advanced features compared to InDesign
  • May not be suitable for complex professional projects

If you’re in search of a user-friendly desktop publishing software that offers a good balance of features and affordability, Swift Publisher is a great Adobe InDesign alternative to consider.

Swift Publisher provides an intuitive interface that allows users to create impressive designs without the steep learning curve often associated with professional publishing software.

With Swift Publisher, you’ll have access to a wide range of templates, graphics, and customizable layouts that can be easily adapted to suit your specific needs.

Whether you’re designing brochures, flyers, newsletters, or business cards, Swift Publisher offers essential tools for text editing, image manipulation, and layout adjustments.

One of the standout features of Swift Publisher is its extensive clipart and image library, which provides a wide variety of high-quality visual assets to enhance your designs.

While Swift Publisher may not have the advanced typographic capabilities or extensive feature set of Adobe InDesign, it offers a cost-effective solution for users who prioritize ease of use and affordability.

With its affordable one-time purchase pricing model, Swift Publisher provides a budget-friendly option for individuals and small businesses seeking professional-quality design software.

5. Microsoft Publisher

a screenshot of Microsoft Publisher homepage

  • Seamless integration with Microsoft Office Suite
  • User-friendly interface
  • Wide range of templates and design options
  • Cost-effective solution for Windows users
  • Limited compatibility with non-Microsoft platforms
  • Less advanced features compared to InDesign

Microsoft Publisher is a desktop publishing software that serves as an alternative to Adobe InDesign, offering a range of design tools and templates to create various printed and digital materials.

With Microsoft Publisher, users can easily create professional-looking publications such as brochures, flyers, newsletters, and business cards.

One advantage of Microsoft Publisher is its integration with other Microsoft Office applications, allowing for seamless importing of content from Word or Excel and convenient sharing of documents.

While it may not offer the same level of advanced features and flexibility as Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Publisher provides a user-friendly interface and intuitive design tools that cater to beginners and non-designers.

Additionally, Microsoft Publisher is widely accessible as part of the Microsoft Office suite, making it a convenient choice for users who already have a Microsoft subscription.

However, it’s important to note that Microsoft Publisher is primarily focused on document layout and design, and may not be suitable for complex publishing projects or high-end graphic design needs.

For individuals and small businesses looking for straightforward and familiar publishing software with basic design capabilities, Microsoft Publisher can be a suitable choice.

6. Marq

a screen shot of Marq homepage

  • Web-based platform accessible from anywhere
  • Easy-to-use interface with a familiar design experience
  • Allows storage and access to brand assets
  • Offers data automation for streamlined workflows
  • Limited tutorials available
  • May have fewer advanced features compared to established software

Marq stands out among web-based design programs and Adobe InDesign alternatives due to its powerful feature set.

It offers features such as storing and downloading custom brand assets into an asset hub for quick access, a browser-based user experience that rivals downloaded software, data automation through Smart Fields, and easy import of content from platforms like Facebook, Unsplash, Dropbox, Google Docs, and YouTube.

Marq’s integration with these services expands its capabilities and provides users with a range of tools to enhance their designs.

With Marq, users can tackle various projects efficiently and effectively, making it a compelling option for those seeking free Adobe InDesign alternatives with a web-based workflow.

7. Canva

Canva home screen stock photos

  • User-friendly interface with drag-and-drop functionality
  • Extensive library of templates, graphics, and images
  • Collaborative features for team projects
  • Web-based platform accessible from anywhere
  • Limited advanced design and layout options
  • Can be restrictive for professional print projects

Canva is a popular web-based design platform that offers a user-friendly interface and a wide range of design templates, making it a notable Adobe InDesign alternative.

With Canva, users can create stunning designs for various purposes, including social media graphics, presentations, posters, flyers, and more. It provides a vast library of pre-designed templates, images, fonts, and illustrations that can be customized to suit individual needs.

One of Canva’s strengths is its simplicity and ease of use, making it accessible to both beginners and experienced designers. Its drag-and-drop interface allows for intuitive design creation without the need for advanced technical skills.

Canva also offers collaboration features, allowing multiple users to work on a design project simultaneously and share feedback or make edits in real-time.

While Canva may not have the same level of advanced features as Adobe InDesign, it provides a robust set of tools for creating visually appealing designs quickly and easily.

Whether you’re a student, entrepreneur, or professional designer, Canva offers a convenient and cost-effective solution for creating beautiful designs without the need for extensive design software knowledge or a high learning curve.

8. SpringPublisher

a screenshot of SpringPublisher page

  • Simple and intuitive interface
  • Offers a variety of templates and design elements
  • Allows customization of templates to suit specific needs
  • Affordable pricing or free version available
  • Limited advanced features compared to professional design software
  • May not be suitable for complex or professional projects

SpringPublisher is a desktop publishing software that serves as an alternative to Adobe InDesign, offering users a straightforward and user-friendly platform for designing various printed materials.

With SpringPublisher, you can create flyers, business cards, letterheads, and other promotional materials using its pre-designed templates and customization options.

While it may not have the same extensive feature set as Adobe InDesign, SpringPublisher provides essential tools for text editing, image manipulation, and layout adjustments.

It also allows for easy importing of external images and supports popular image formats.

SpringPublisher is particularly suitable for users who prioritize simplicity and ease of use over advanced design capabilities.

It offers a cost-effective solution for individuals and small businesses looking to create professional-looking designs without the need for complex software or extensive design knowledge.

9. Xara Page & Layout Designer

a screenshot of Xara Page & Layout Designer homepage

  • Powerful layout and design capabilities
  • Wide range of professional design tools and features
  • Supports both print and digital designs
  • User-friendly interface with intuitive controls
  • May have a steeper learning curve for beginners
  • Limited availability compared to more widely recognized software

Xara Page & Layout Designer is a desktop publishing software that serves as an alternative to Adobe InDesign, offering a comprehensive set of tools for designing professional-quality documents.

With Xara Page & Layout Designer, users can create various printed materials like brochures, magazines, flyers, and business cards using its user-friendly interface and intuitive design tools.

It stands out for its powerful graphics engine, providing smooth rendering and high-quality output, along with advanced image editing capabilities for photo retouching, transparency effects, and blending modes.

The software offers customizable templates, grid-based designs, and text flow control for precise positioning and arrangement of elements.

Xara Page & Layout Designer caters to both beginners and experienced designers, providing a robust feature set at an affordable price.

It is a suitable choice for professional designers and small businesses seeking a powerful desktop publishing software alternative.

10. VivaDesigner

a screenshot of VivaDesigner homepage

  • Comprehensive set of design tools for layout and publishing
  • Advanced typographic features and support for multiple languages
  • Offers preflight and PDF export capabilities
  • Affordable pricing compared to some other professional design software
  • Steeper learning curve for beginners
  • Limited third-party integrations and plugins available
  • Smaller user community compared to more widely used software

VivaDesigner is a desktop publishing software that offers a feature-rich platform for designing professional documents, serving as an alternative to Adobe InDesign.

With VivaDesigner, users can create a wide range of publications, including brochures, magazines, books, and newsletters, utilizing its extensive set of layout and design tools.

The software provides a user-friendly interface with drag-and-drop functionality, making it accessible to both beginners and experienced designers.

VivaDesigner boasts advanced typography capabilities, including support for OpenType fonts, text wrapping, and style management, enabling precise control over text formatting.

It also offers robust image editing features, such as image cropping, color correction, and filters, allowing users to enhance visual elements in their designs.

Furthermore, VivaDesigner supports collaborative workflows, facilitating seamless collaboration between team members through its built-in commenting and review features.

While it may not have the same market recognition as Adobe InDesign, VivaDesigner provides a comprehensive suite of tools for professional document design at a competitive price point.

FAQs about Indesign Alternatives

  • What is the Apple equivalent of InDesign?

The Apple equivalent of InDesign is Apple Pages. While it may not have the exact same feature set as InDesign, Pages offers robust layout and design capabilities for creating professional documents on Apple devices.

  • What is the Microsoft equivalent of InDesign?

The Microsoft equivalent of InDesign is Microsoft Publisher. Publisher provides similar functionality to InDesign and is often used for creating brochures, flyers, and other marketing materials on Windows platforms.

  • What is the cheapest way to use InDesign?

The cheapest way to use InDesign is through an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Adobe offers various pricing plans, including a single-app subscription for InDesign, which provides access to the latest version of the software at a lower cost compared to the full Creative Cloud suite.

  • Can you use Photoshop like InDesign?

While Photoshop and InDesign are both Adobe Creative Cloud applications, they serve different purposes. Photoshop is primarily for image editing and manipulation, while InDesign focuses on layout and design for publications. While there may be some overlapping features, it is generally recommended to use InDesign for complex page layouts and designs.

  • How much is InDesign a month?

The cost of InDesign depends on the subscription plan you choose. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, a single-app subscription for InDesign starts at around $20.99 per month for an annual commitment. Adobe offers different pricing tiers based on your needs and preferences.

  • Is there an InDesign alternative for iPad?

Yes, there are InDesign alternatives available for iPad, such as Affinity Publisher and Adobe Comp. These apps offer similar functionality to InDesign and are optimized for the iPad’s touch interface, allowing users to create and design documents on the go.

Shotkit Founder, Editor, Writer & Reviewer

Mark Condon is a British wedding photographer and editor of Shotkit. When he’s not taking photos or reviewing the latest camera gear and software, Mark can be found cycling around the northern rivers.

Leave a Comment



Enter your email to be sent
today's Welcome Gift:
19 Photography Tools

🔥 Popular NOW:

Shotkit may earn a commission on affiliate links. Learn more.