Adobe InDesign is a powerful and widely-used software tool for creating professional layouts and designs.
However, it may not be the best fit for everyone, and there are many alternative software options available for designers to consider.
In this article, I will be exploring the top 9 InDesign alternatives for Professional Designers and highlighting their key features, pros and cons, and how they compare to InDesign in terms of layout and design capabilities.
Whether you are a beginner looking for a more affordable option or a seasoned professional seeking new software to add to your toolkit, this list has something for everyone.
So without further ado, let’s dive into the best InDesign alternatives.
What Is Adobe InDesign?
InDesign is a byproduct of adobe creative cloud and it is available for both macOS and windows. According to some reliable websites, adobe has crossed 30 million subscribers. This means there are plenty of people who are accustomed to InDesign.
People who work with book publishing, brochure creation, newspapers, and magazines are the most benefited through InDesign. Undoubtedly it is one of the best software to design covers for your book, magazine, etc. let’s visualize why people use InDesign in the first place.
Adobe InDesign Highlights
|Customizable well-designed interface||Cannot use InDesign solely|
|Great quality for interactive documents||There are some complex features|
|It is easy to share, cooperate work with the team||Sometimes displays low-res images for better performance|
|You can switch between layouts easily|
|It has a great online support community|
|Easy to bridge with other adobe products|
|The price is comparatively low|
Adobe InDesign Pricing and Fee
InDesign comes with an adobe package. so, you can both buy InDesign in a single package or within the adobe package. However, InDesign comes with a free trial of 30 days with the adobe package. You can choose the package that best meets your demand.
|Single package||$31.4 monthly billed$20.99/monthly (an annual subscription is required). The fee applies if canceled after 14 days$239.88/Yearly, No refund 7-day free trial||Only the applicationBehanceAdobe creative community1000+ fontsCreative cloud libraries1000+ royalty-free icons, graphics, patterns, backgrounds||A minimum 4Gb ram is required for this. (16GB ram for the best performance)32-bit video card|
|Students & Teachers||Starting at $19.99/Monthly(Creative cloud all app) 7-day free trial||The application & creative cloud all apps 100GB20+ desktop apps, mobile appBehanceAdobe creative community1000+ fontsCreative cloud libraries1000+ royalty-free icons, graphics, patterns, backgrounds||A minimum 4Gb ram is required for this. (16GB ram for the best performance)32-bit video card requires a valid ID for an educational discount|
|Business & Teams||Starting at $84.99/Monthly(Creative cloud all app) 7-day free trial||Step-by-step tutorialsAdobe express, portfolio, Fonts, Behance, creative cloud library access to the latest features of creative cloud apps||A minimum 4Gb ram is required for this. (16GB ram for the best performance)32-bit video card|
Why Do You Need an Adobe InDesign Alternative?
InDesign right now is the leading app to create book covers, flyers, magazines, etc. because of its layouts. However, despite being the top in this industry InDesign has some limitations. Reasons why you should go for an InDesign alternative.
- Pricing: InDesign takes $20.99 every month. Which is one of the most significant factors. Specially for individuals, and small businesses $20 every month is a big deal.
- Edit Equations: Even though InDesign helps with almost all the solutions related to visualization, it cannot help you with mathematical equations. It is pretty tough to edit and create mathematical equations in InDesign.
- Distance text: It is a hassle to balance the distance between texts on InDesign. So, you may have a super creative flyer maker, but may not be able to adjust the title text according to your imagination. You wouldn’t like that much, would you?
- Complicating: Indesign is not an application that you can train a coworker within 2-3 weeks. It is not that simple. Beginner friendly system is what the InDesign users complain about.
Adobe InDesign Alternatives
Here is a descriptive analysis of the best design alternatives. Read carefully to choose the best one according to your needs.
- Canva – Best for an all-in-one solution.
- QuarkXPress – Best for professionals, Complex and critical visualization.
- Marq (Formerly Lucidpress) – Best for beginners.
- Microsoft Publisher- Best for professionals
- Affinity Publisher – Best for tight budgets and professionals.
- Desygner – Best for easy to use.
- Polotno Studio – Best free software with many premium features.
- Vistacreate – Best for digital marketers.
- Scribus – InDesign free alternative for macOS.
Canva is a total design tool for people with no design skills. Canva is extremely beginning friendly, as you can just drag & drop and create your covers, flyers, etc. there are hundreds of templates, layouts presets on canvas. Canva can be the best alternative to InDesign as it also comes at a far cheaper price.
Canva comes with a website, a desktop version app, and a mobile version app.
|Extremely beginner-friendly||Canva free has limited templates|
|Canva provides all types of templates from social media to book covers to magazines.||It is not possible to move one design to another|
|Canva provides a professional look with stock images and templates||You cannot create your design with your creativity|
Even if there are some drawbacks with Canva, the paid versions solve almost all of them. Most importantly it comes at a cheaper price. Let us see the pricing model of Canva
Canva Pricing and Fee
|Canva free||$0||1 million+ stock photos, graphics1000+ fonts8000+ free templates|
|Canva Pro||$54.99||4+ million stock photos, graphics1000+ free fonts60000+ free templates & more|
|Canva for teams||$84.90||Everything from Canva proSOISO 27001 certification24/7 customer support|
QuarkXPress is design software that is used for creating complex page layouts. QuarkXPress is the pioneer and first mover in the design industry. It runs both on macOS and windows.
QuarkXPress was first released in 1987 and dominated the market for 13 years. Now the usage of QuarkXPress is slowly decreasing with the upcoming alternatives.
Many people moved completely to InDesign. However, QuarkXPress can also be an alternative to InDesign if you do not think about the money. Why? Because it was expensive.
QuarkXPress Pricing and Fee
|Prepaid annual subscription||$259/annually||SoftwareUpgradesUpdates & technical support|
|Perpetual license||$699, one-time purchase||Software, upgrades|
Marq is a web-based design tool. The best perks of Marq are it provides real-time collaboration. This means anyone from any part of the world can work together with anyone.
Marq started its journey in 2012, formerly known as lucid press. It is a go-to tool for busy people. The drag & drop system aligned with a collaborative layout has gained massive popularity.
Marq Pricing and Features
|Marq free||$0/monthly||1 user, 25 MB storage, basic templates, social media share, 3 projects maximum|
|Marq pro||$10/Monthly||1 user, 2GB storage, unlimited storage, premium template library, stock vectors, photos|
|Marq team||$12/Monthly||3-9 users, 2GB storage per user, Group management, Import from InDesign, Brand templates|
Microsoft Office is a desktop-only publication software that comes with an office 360 subscription.
It gained attention when Microsoft launched its office 360 package. However, it is a go-to use for busy business people. For people who don’t like to hassle, or spend time in the details, this is for them.
Microsoft Publisher Pricing and Fee
Let’s see the price variations and why they can be a good choice for you.
|Home||$99.99/yearly 9.99/Monthly||1-6 people, 1 TB storage for each person, Works on Windows, macOS, and Android, 5 devices simultaneously, Special safety in the family feature, All office 360 applications|
|Business||$6/monthly||Web & mobile version only, 1TB storage per person, Business class email, Chat, call Upton 300 attendees|
Related: 9 Masterclass Alternatives To Level Up Your Skills | 2023
If you want a publishing application that is a one-time purchase and has credibility then this is it. Affinity publisher has become the best Mac app of the year.
Affinity is extremely smooth and it provides an immersive experience with social media templates, Website mock-ups, etc.
Affinity Publisher Pricing and Fee
|macOS||$40.99||General UI, DTP essentials, New document dialog redesign|
|Windows||$40.99||Import/export/packaging, All new Layers panel, Artistic and frame text|
|iPad||$11.99||Pressure-sensitive graphics tablet and pen, Force Touch and regular Trackpad, Magic Trackpad and Magic Trackpad 2, Dictation offered by OS X|
|Affinity V2 Universal License||$99.99||High DPI support across multiple monitors, Uses Microsoft Concurrency Runtime to fully utilize/scale across modern CPUs, Wacom (and other WinTab devices) support|
This is an app that is also used by millions of people in their day-to-day life. It will help you to create social media posts, cards, flyers, etc. A perfect InDesign alternative to use.
It is one of the fastest-growing companies in the world. This might be the mightiest InDesign alternative available on the market currently. The target customers of Desygner are freelancers, small enterprises, etc.
Desygner Pricing and Fee
|Free||$0||1000+ free templates, 1M+ free images & iconsImport & edit PDFs up to 10 pages, Use on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android, Print globally and deliver locally|
|Pro+||$9.95/Monthly||All the free version features, Access to 10 Billion+ Google images, All premium templates unlocked, Shutterstock images unlocked Setting up own brand identity, Uploaded images, fonts, Priority support & no ads|
|Business||$19.95/ Monthly||Create brand templates for your team, Set up multiple brand kits & libraries, and template collections, Get print discounts, Get your unique workspace domain, Restrict what users can do with templatesInvite guests to your team, Share digital assets throughout the organization, Find your designs through search easily, 24/7 business support|
|Enterprise||Custom||Includes all business plan features, Control team member tasks, Advanced audit trails, You can import templates from other software like adobe, You can request and manage creative tasks, You will get a personal account manager|
Polotno Studio is a highly creative graphic design solution for marketers. That will help with graphics, visualization, etc. it is a web-based application that mixes photos, illustrations, and texts together to build thumbnails, presentations, YouTube previews, etc. It offers a free version for non-commercial or development usage only.
However, it does not offer collaboration in the free plans. So, one person at a time. You cannot work with your team inside the Polotno studio while you are using the free version.
Polotno Studio is a great alternatives to adobe InDesign. You can use most of the InDesign features completely free in Polotno Studio.
Polotno Studio Pricing and Fee
|Non-commercial||$0.00/ month||All core polotno features include, No “Remove Image Background” support, For non-commercial or development usage only|
|Small team||$187.00/ month||One domain, up to 300 daily users, No watermarks and backlinks|
|Enterprise||$385.00/ month||15000 Cloud Rendering API calls per month, High priority features request and support, Unlimited domains and daily users|
|Custom solution||$10000.00/One-time||Full access to the customization source code, 1-year bug-free, Guarantee, Contracting work with Polotno developers|
|Ultimate source||$5000.00/ month||Full access to the source code of Polotno editor, and all pro features.|
- Built-in templates
- Image Editor
- Premium icons
- Transparent tools
- Text editor
- Convert into pdf and download
Vistacreate is my next fee InDesign Alternatives. It is similar to Canva which is free to use. It was mainly created for marketing professionals, bloggers, and small business owners who need content for daily use without any budget.
Vistacreate is cloud-based SaaS software that is simple and beginner friendly. They offer a ton of things and features completely free, however, they have a premium version for professional marketers.
This is why it has become the emerging favorite presentation software in 2022.
Vistacreate Pricing and Fee
|Starter||$0.00/m||$0.00/y||1M+ photos, videos, and vectors, 100K+ design templates, Free fonts, music, animations, backgrounds, and objects, 10 GB storage for files and projects, Direct posting to Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest|
|Pro||$13.00/m||$10.00/y||The whole Starter pack, plus:70M+ photos, videos, and vectors, Unlimited Brand Kits, Unlimited storage, Unlimited Brand Kits, Version History|
- Free to use: As VistaCreate is free, many people who are not willing to spend money on design choose this.
- Drag & drop system: It is also an extremely beginner-friendly tool. This is another reason for being one of the best free InDesign alternatives
- Collaboration tools: you can collaborate with your team and work together on VistaCreate. How does that sound, for a free application?
Scribus is an open-source free desktop publishing software. Yes, it’s free. You can do almost everything that adobe InDesign can do. If you are looking for an InDesign free alternative then Scribus could be the best choice.
One of the best features of Scribus is it helps to manage content across many operating systems such as macOS, Linux, Solaris, etc.
Apart from this Scribus is functional and has many professional marks, like CYMK support, PDF export function, and wonderful image packing.
Scribus Pricing and Fee
Scribus is open-source software, Anyone can use this designing tool for free. Scribus is best for macOS.
- Color correction
- Automate workflow
- View files in XML format.
However, this is a free-to-use application. So, anyone can use it without worrying about Money.
I assume you got a complete idea about InDesign alternatives. I have tested and used almost every graphics-related software and found this as the very best.
Even though there are many InDesign alternatives, don’t get puzzled. You can choose according to your needs, there is both free and paid software to help you out.
If you feel like InDesign is not the best option for you, don’t hesitate to test these out. You will feel much more confident in choosing the best software.
FAQs on Alternatives to InDesign