10 Best Open Source Desktop Publishing Software

Desktop publishing was an unknown industry 30 years back. Whenever companies needed a design, they would hire artists who would composite a rough sketch and get the owner’s approval, and then work on the final layout. Design was expensive, so the design stayed the same decades later. The proprietors of desktop publishing companies ruled the kingdom with glee, as they provided exclusive output to posters, logos, and AD agencies.

But with the advent of technology, anybody with a desktop and a creative sense could get into this industry. But demand and supply go hand in hand. Software companies decided to be stingy, and saved the best features for their paid versions, and included a trial version for those who needed to see it and not use it on a daily basis. We present to you a list of the best open source desktop publishing applications available today. With this, you can run a small business without digging deep into your pockets.

Page Layout Software

Scribus

Scribus is one of the best open-source software that is compatible with Mac and Windows. It follows the principle of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). Armed with a word layout software and CMYK palettes, it gives users the chance to explore their creativity without compromising on quality. It comes with predefined templates for brochures, greeting cards, posters, and business cards. A better alternative to Microsoft Publisher, it even supports the creation of PDF and many other popular formats like PSD and AI, both from Adobe. It has a drop-down menu and a floating properties bar, which is easier to input and saves on time. That being said, it can’t support the formats of InDesign and QuarkXpress. Support for importing these formats is worked on in the next version.

Website: Scribus

LyX

Pronounced as ‘Licks’, it’s based on the LaTeX typesetting system. Instead of WYSIWYG, it follows the principle of WYSIWYM (What You See Is What You Mean). What shows up would be an approximation of what we think is the best suitable formatting. It’s a favorite of technical authors and scientists for the mathematical node system of its databases. A formal teaching of the LaTeX markup language would be beneficial for speeding things up. It runs on Linux, Windows. and Mac OS X. LyX can be used either by clicking on the respective menu button or typing commands on the UNIX command line. It has automatic hyphenation with word wrapping. and excellent page layout.

Website: LyX

DocBook

DocBook lets you create documents and publish to a number of formats. including PDF, HTML, PUB, and EPUB. It saves your data in the form of a schema, and distributes the different sections to what constitute to be a chapter in a book. It is extremely favored by authors writing on computer hardware and software. DocBook provides outputs in a number of file formats, including HTML and PDF. This is done by saving the file in a DocBook stylesheet with the XSL format.

Website: DocBook

PDFCreator

DocBook converts documents into a Portable Document Format on the Windows operating system. It gives password protection to encrypt the data, and offers to have a digital signature embedded in the document for copyright purposes. You can save it in file formats other than PDF, like JPG, TIFF, PNG, BCL, BMP, PCX, and RAW.

Website: PDFCreator

LibreOffice

LibreOffice is built on the same programming model as OpenOffice. So what makes it better than MS Word? It has the same features as MS Word, and is completely free. It supports the inclusion of font embedding, which lets you change fonts in the document. It has a word-count ticker which displays the number of words at the bottom of the window. LibreOffice also has many programs similar to MSOffice, like Calc, a spreadsheet program, Impress for presentations, and Draw, which helps in programming by drawing flowcharts and has features suitable for desktop publishing. And best of all, it works on all platforms.

Website: LibreOffice

OpenOffice

OpenOffice is a forked-out version of LibreOffice, programmed by the same developers. It even has similar programs like Calc, Impress, and Draw. It has a new feature called Fontwork, which lets you create text with special features, such as gradient, background fill, shaping and height of the text, similar to WordArt. OpenOffice supports the extension of MS Word, and converts stylized text into WordArt. Versions are available for Windows, Linux, Solaris, and Mac OS X.

Website: OpenOffice

Photoediting Software

GIMP

GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It has improved greatly over the past few years, and can compete with rival software in the image editing arena. Originally written on a UNIX platform, it’s compatible with Windows and Linux. You can use it to retouch old photos, and adjust the composition of new ones. GIMP’s native format is XCF, but it supports JPG, GIF, TIFF, PNG, as well as the file formats of Autodesk Animator and Adobe Photoshop documents. The XCF format helps in retaining the quality of the image.

Website: GIMP

Paint.NET

Paint.NET is a raster graphic editor used for creating and editing realistic photographs. Paint.NET is only available on Windows. It supports plugins for image adjustments that reduce the contrast between adjoining pixels to blend the image seamlessly. New plugins have been introduced to render 2D images into 3D shapes.

Website: Paint.NET

Fatpaint

Fatpaint is an online image editor. It has an online logo maker, supporting the languages of English, Portuguese, and Spanish. It allows the use of a pen tablet to edit an image, as well as search and add images from Wikimedia, Picasa, Flickr, Google, Yahoo, and Bing. It can create photorealistic 3D images. Fatpaint requires Adobe Flash 10 to function on browsers such as IE, Firefox, Chrome, and Opera.

Website: Fatpaint

Vector Graphics Software

Inkscape

Inkscape supports the use of pen tablets, which makes it easier to select menu commands at a touch. It allows the import/export of raster graphics. You can edit paths by positioning the nodes wherever you feel it’s right. Inkscape provides floating tips and hints to use buttons and other commands. They have improved the consistency and usability of the interface by creating visually appealing buttons and floating toolbars that aid in all tasks. It’s primarily responsible for influencing the coding of Xara Xtreme.

Website: Inkscape

These are some of the best open source desktop publishing programs available at the moment. Commercial software providers make you pay a hand and foot for the same tools. So why not give these software a chance. If you already did, tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.

Here 10 Free AI File Viewing Software

Vector files, unlike raster files, are made up of lines. These lines are easy to manipulate and shape to an image of your liking. These files are commonly used for print illustrations and graphics, and their sizes range from KBs to a couple of MBs. Vector graphics are saved in a more popular file format – AI (.ai) .

AI is the proprietary file format of Adobe Illustrator. These are EPS files in disguise, but their portability is poor. What would you do if you have to open an AI file, but the requisite software isn’t available on your computer. Do you ask your operating system to find the appropriate software or do you spend your time rasterizing the image so you can view it better. All it would end up doing is reducing the quality of these images. Before you jump the gun, we give you a list of software most appropriate to view AI files.

AI File Viewing Software

Scribus

Scribus is an open-source software that’s compatible with both Mac and Windows. It supports many vector image formats, including AI. It has enough plugins and extensions to improve the composition of any image.

Website: Scribus

GIMP

GIMP or GNU Image Manipulation software is known as the free-to-use Photoshop software. It works on multiple operating systems – Windows, Linux, Solaris, OS X, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and AmigaOS4, and is also available in multiple languages. Its native format is XCF, but it supports most proprietary formats. Viewing an AI file in this program is a good bet.

Website: GIMP

Inkscape

Inkscape is another great tool for viewing AI files. Being compatible with a broad range of file formats, as well as the new and improved spiro curve tool added to Inkscape, viewing and editing AI files is a cinch. It runs on the operating systems of Windows, OS X, and Linux.

Website: Inkscape

Paint.NET

If AI files aren’t opening, Paint.NET comes to the rescue. This was originally intended to be a replacement for Microsoft Paint. But to run AI files, you need to download and install the ‘Illustrator Encapsulated PostScript’ plugin. It runs on Windows 7 and above, and needs the installation of Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5.

Website: Paint.NET

XnView

XnView is a free-to-use software compatible with Windows, Mac OS X , and Linux. It can open multiple AI files in multiple tabs. It even has a portable version of the software available for cell phones. It can even convert the file into many popular formats, such as JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF, etc.

Website: XnView

Free Ai File Viewer

Free Ai File Viewer is a free-to-download software, that lets you view AI files as well as other popular extensions like JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG, and TIFF. It runs on the operating systems of Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. This software needs Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 installed as a prerequisite.

Website: Free Ai File Viewer

Xara Xtreme

Xara Xtreme has a slick and uncluttered interface, with the menus displayed in floating windows. Although it has become proprietary, a free version is available for Linux. It is based on Xara Xtreme for Windows, now known as Xara Designer Pro. It can be run on Linux using an emulator such as Vine. It has a huge resource library of video tutorials and tips, and an enthusiastic online community for novice users.

Website: Xara Xtreme

FoxPDF Reader

Although a PDF reading software, this one can open images too. It can convert an image into the following formats – TXT, BMP, JPG, JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIF, and TIFF. It can read other formats such as CBR and MOBI, and is available in multiple languages. It runs on the operating systems of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.

Website: FoxPDF Reader

PCX Viewer

PCX Viewer is a modest software that hardly takes up any space on a PC. One of the unique features of this software is that, all the tools are available on the interface. Originally, this software was made to support PCX, a file format used by Paintbrush, and was used before the popularity of other standard formats, such as GIF, PNG, and JPG. Other than AI, it also supports other formats, such as PCX, PSD, TGA, and EPS. It even lets you import the image in other formats. It is supported only by Windows.

Website: PCX Viewer

GSview

GSview is a free-to-download software for viewing AI files. But, you need to install Ghostscript in order to run it. It even has an online help forum for users encountering any problems with the software. Although its main purpose is for printing PDF and PostScript files, it allows users to view AI files, as well as all the associated files in the Adobe suite.

Website: GSview

Although viewing AI files is fine with the above software, you were probably restricted from viewing the contents to protect the author and his work. AI files can be viewed best by using Adobe Illustrator.

Best 8 Free EPS File Viewing Software

If you heard the saying ‘good things come in small packages’, then an EPS file accomplishes the same. Instead of displaying the design outright, it protects the file while being inserted into another document, hence its name ‘Encapsulated Postscript File’.

It is encoded using Postscript. This type of file is used in PDFs to protect the owner of its rights and prevent any infringement issues. An EPS file contains a combination of text, graphica, and images. That being said, EPS is a legacy format, and only used for vector files. So, if you experience trouble opening this particular file, here is a list of free EPS file viewing software.

EPS File Viewing Software

XnViewMP

XnViewMP is the extended version of XnView, and supports up to 500 image formats, but can write 50 formats. It is compatible across all platforms, including Mac OS X and Linux. It charges only if it’s used commercially. It is really a good choice among the lot.

Website: XnViewMP

GIMP

GIMP is an open-source raster editor that is used for retouching and editing photographs. It is available for free, and can open the EPS file format.

Website: GIMP

IrfanView

This software is named after its owner Irfan Skiljan, and works under all versions of Windows, from Windows 95 to Windows 8. It is also compatible with Mac OS X and Linux, and can be run using an emulator like Wine. It can open up to 100 formats, and can most definitely open the EPS file for easy viewing.

Website: IrfanView

Inkscape

Inkscape is a vector-based desktop publishing software that are used to manipulate images. Although its primary format is the Scalable Vector Graphics format, it supports other formats too. It is available for free and across all major platforms.

Website: Inkscape

EPS Viewer

As the name suggests, it’s made for opening the EPS file format. This can also be used to convert files into more popular forms, such as JPG.

Website: EPS Viewer

Scribus

Scribus is another desktop publishing software that lets you view many image formats as well as the EPS file. It also has a portable version used for viewing the EPS file on cell phones. It has its own built-in scripting engine based on Python, and is available for free.

Website: Scribus

GSview

This is a software created to interpret the Adobe software suite and its associated files. Since Adobe was responsible for the EPS file, it can still open this legacy format. And most importantly, this software works on all platforms, including Unix, Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, Atari TOS, and AmigaOS.

Website: GSview

Paint.NET

Another image-editing software that was intended to be a substitute for Microsoft Paint, it ended up being an open-source software, compared to the likes of Adobe Photoshop and CorelDRAW. It’s a lightweight program that supports a number of image formats, and can be used for viewing EPS files too.

Website: Paint.NET

This is a list of free software that can be used to view EPS files. Since EPS is a legacy format, many attempt to use newer software like PDF without knowing any information about the EPS file format. Try any of these and you won’t have to look any further.