For several years, I was a proficient user of Pagemaker, having responsibility for a number of different desktop-publishing projects for clients.
I no longer do much of that for work, but still have a volunteer commitment or two that requires it. Â Unfortunately, when I lost my hard drive last year, I never was able to find my PageMaker CD. Â It’s an older version (6.5), but it did what I needed done. Â So last year, my volunteer publications were constructed on my OLD laptop (now relegated to the youngest child). Â Unfortunately, over this past Summer, it required a total reformat, so my only surviving copy of PageMaker was lost.
This week, it’s again time to put together an orchestra program… and I had no software. Â I can’t justify $499 for something that I’m going to use four times per year (and donating my services at that), so I set out to see if there’s a comparable open-source package.
Scribus is it. Â Although different from PageMaker, it has all the same functionality, and even seems a bit less finicky about working with imported images. Â For example, PageMaker wouldn’t directly import from Photoshop (even though both are Adobe products); Scribus does.
Although it took me a little trial-and-error to figure out how to do the things that I’d learned over the years with Pagemaker, for the most part, it was a seamless transition. Â If I’d had the time to actually order the manual before embarking on my first publication, it might have gone even more smoothly!
One of the attractive features of open-source software is the availability of a broad support community, rather than just a manufacturer’s site with paid support options. Â There are wikis and message boards with more experienced users, so answers are just a few clicks away in most cases.
If you need to do professional-looking desktop publishing, I highly recommend Scribus. Â And no one even paid me to say it (though the software was free, as it is for everyone).