If you need a free tool for a printed pro­ject, this one’s well-worth a try. Scribus is an

open-source page lay­out app

which claims to of­fer press

ready out­put. Sev­eral small mag­a­zines use it in their pro­duc­tion work­flow and it’s not dif­fi­cult to see why when you look at the avail­able fea­tures. Colour sep­a­ra­tions? Check. Sup­port for CMYK and spot colours? Check? ICC colour pro­files? Plenty of con­trol over PDF out­put? You get the idea.

Scribus uses an open-source file for­mat, which has been up­dated in the latest re­lease, 1.5, and doesn’t sup­port older ver­sions of the app. That’s not a prob­lem if you haven’t used Scribus be­fore. More of an is­sue might be the lack of sup­port for In­De­sign and QuarkXPress files. But don’t let that put you off.

Scribus can open just about any im­age file you’re likely to need, and the latest ver­sion is able to store bitmap im­ages, rather than just link to them.

There’s also a new fea­ture called Sym­bols, which mod­i­fies in­stances of an ob­ject when the master item is mod­i­fied. Ver­sion 1.5 also in­cludes new type fea­tures. As­so­ci­ated li­cens­ing costs means there are no Pan­tone colour pal­ettes in Scribus, but there are over 100 other colour pal­ettes in­clud­ing sev­eral with colour schemes of large or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The in­ter­face, like many open-source tools, takes a bit of get­ting used to, but you’ll find plenty of help and tu­to­ri­als in the Scribus wiki (

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