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I have the job of designing an example announcement for my wedding. I have an ideas in mind, it should be very difficult. I need to know what types of programs, or even specifics open source/free software can do:

  • Scale pictures up and down in size (like Microsoft Word)
  • Place a text box "superimposed(?)" on top of a picture (text who's text box just slightly changes the tone of the background pictures, making it look a little "foggy" or of lighter tone
  • Place a normal textbox
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    it should be very difficult? – Huey Jun 25 '15 at 4:45
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It sounds like you need some "desktop publishing" (DTP) software. It is generally better suited to this sort of task than word processing software, ie it is easier to position images or text precisely where you want them, and you can put objects on different layers etc.

Specifically, I recommend Scribus. It is free and open source, and available for Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X.

It has the features that you require:

  • Insert images, and position them where you want, and resize them
  • Add text boxes, also position them where you want.
  • Adjust the level of these text boxes, to make it display on top of a background image.
  • Can give them a background colour, and adjust the transparency if you want the image below to be visible.
  • Also add other shapes, ie circles, squares, arrows etc, or draw a polygon. Again, can adjust the colours, transparency etc.
  • Export as PDF, EPS or SVG formats or an image, which could be printed as required.
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Since the task will only need one or two pages but perhaps some more special effects, I'd recommend InkScape.

  • It is free and open source
  • It supports multi line text (see section "Text support")
  • It can import bitmaps (see section "Object creation")
  • It supports layers (see section "Object manipulation") allowing you to superimpose things
  • It supports transparency (see section "Rendering") to just slightly change the color
  • It can scale everything (see section "Object manipulation") due to the nature of vector graphics

I confirm it works fine on Windows and probably does on Linux as well.

Please expect it to be a graphics program not a text editor. It does not perform as well in text editing as Word does but offers great flexibility.

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From your description of what you want word would work. Now granted, if you don't already own word then this answers fails your first requirement of needing to be free. Basically in word you would set up your template and then do a mail merge. If you don't want to absorb the cost of printing, print the invites to PDFs and have a local print company do it for you. You'll get better quality anyway. As for an alternative to word that does what you need I think king soft office can do what you need, and it is free.

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LibreOffice Impress

Though primarily used for presentations, I've used it to design posters and I think it would be adequate for drafting your wedding card design.

Features based on your criteria:

  • Insert, scale, and crop images
  • Placing textboxes with custom depth, background color, and transparency. For a "foggy" effect, you could place a white rectangle above the text with 40% transparency.
  • Normal text fields (without background) are also pretty straightforward to create

Of course if you have MS PowerPoint, you can use that too. LibreOffice Impress is the free alternative

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I would suggest using LirbeOffice Writer, a part of the Libre Office Suite.

  • Free
  • Add Images and resize them
  • Text Box with a foggy look - I just used 50% transparent grey background in the text box formatting.
  • Normal text box - of course
  • You can output to PDF, (for sending to a professional printers or for dispatching by email), including doing "mail merge" by setting an address data source.
  • Runs on Windows 7/8, Max OS-X, Linux, etc.
  • Does loads more.

Just to prove that it can be done: enter image description here

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