Windows 10. I'm mostly going to be doing pamphlets (think playbills) and large-format posters. In-line text editing just isn't cutting it these days.

Bonus points for open source, extra bonus points for release on both Windows and Linux, and SUPER extra bonus points for simple integrated vector drawing. Native SVG support would be excellent for putting together large-format projects (raster scaling :P) and things with lots of infographics.

I'm ditching Publisher because my license for it is through an organization that I'll be departing fairly soon, and I'm not in a position to pay for a new one. For the same reason, I'd prefer to stay away from a subscription model. I could commit to a one-time purchase in the ballpark of $30US, if it came to that. I highly value configurability and active development, so open-source applications are always preferable, but that's not an especially high priority in this situation.

Thanks much.


1 Answer 1


Two classical open source options are Inkscape and Scribus. I've used both to make pamphlets etc., and both run on Windows, Linux, and macOS.

Inkscape is a versatile vector graphics editor. It is fairly easy to get started with, but has a lot of advanced features. You have all basic shapes, polygons, line and fill styles, basic text, layers, effects like blur, and so on.

Scribus is a desktop publishing program. Its benefit over Inkscape is that it handles text paragraphs better, for example you can connect text blocks with each other and have text flow around objects, like in Publisher. The downside in my opinion is that the interface is a bit less intuitive, if you only use it occasionally.

  • 1
    Thank you, jdm. I think Scribus is going to be the better option, but I might go ahead and try Inkscape as a standalone illustration tool. Is the Scribus interface really that esoteric? I'm fairly used to less-than-convenient GUIs, and I can see myself using this one frequently enough to get used to it, but it would be nice to have an idea of what the learning curve is like.
    – Moonjail
    Commented Dec 13, 2017 at 8:04
  • 1
    @Moonjail I think Scribus is fine. Mostly it is point and click like every other vector graphics program. However I remember spending a lot of time trying to find out how to do something really simple, like changing the text color (just an example). Once you found the right palette, it is easy.
    – jdm
    Commented Dec 13, 2017 at 8:34

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