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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Looking for Advice on Adobe Indesign Alternatives...



+Zach Glazar laid out Swords & Wizardry Light.

+James Spahn laid out Swords & Wizardry Continual Light.

I'm looking to take over layout duties with the Torchlight Zine.

I've heard nothing but good about Indesign - except for its pricing. I think I'd be paying for more horsepower than I need and certainly for more than I'll make my money back on. While you don't publish RPG material to become rich, you don't want to become poor ;)

Scribus gets some good talk and it is Mac friendly although I tend to find open source software to lack a certain depth of documentation. The price is certainly right.

LucidPress looks very interesting. Online app accessible from all devices, you OS is irrelevant. Starts at $5.95 a month with a yearly sub.

I'm sure there are many others.

I'm looking for inexpensive publishing software with a small learning curve, preferably for OSX (although I can boot into Windows, I'd rather not). It will mostly be used for laying out zines of about 16 or so digest sized pages and occasional adventures about the same size.

If you have advice, I am all ears. I'm also all noob ;)

16 comments:

  1. I do my layout with in LaTeX. Free, but all markup, no GUI

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    1. That takes me back:-) Does it still have problems with illustrations drifting to the end of a chapter?

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    2. A little, but you learn how to stop that. You can stop putting them inside floats, for example. There are also packages to help deal with that.

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  2. Since you're on a Mac, does Pages work for you? It has a smaller learning curve than Scribus.

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  3. I just use Word (but I'm on a PC) for my 'zine, the Frontier Explorer (http://frontierexplorer.org). If the layout is simple and not overly complicated, a good word processor may be all you need.

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  4. Hey Tenkar, I've never been able to afford Illustrator or InDesign. I've been using and laying all my products out with Adobe Pagemaker 7. The software is no longer supported, but you can probably find it on line from a reseller fairly cheaply, and it works decently with Windows 10. Compared to PDFs created with InDesign or later, my stuff is fairly simplistic, but it's legible and clean.

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  5. Scribus has a huge amount of documentation available online

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  6. I've been using Scribes and found that it works very well. Being entirely untrained I have been able to pick up enough through online tutorials. Also check OBS under the "Publisher tools" for walkthroughs.

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  7. Like sycarion, Pages would be my first consideration. I really like InDesign (older version that still works fine), but I understand the reluctance under the current exploitive licensing model.

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    1. Thanks, Dale. I have a Mac at work, so I have to support it from time to time.

      Ultimately, though, I'm a Linux nerd, so my second vote would be Scribus as I learned it from online tutorials.

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  8. Given your parameters, you should definitely use Mac Pages. I've used that in the distant past to lay out whole 32-page books and comic books, so ideal for a fanzine. Plus you probably already have it.

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  9. Depending on your willingness to work with something suboptimal but pretty darn user-friendly if you have it and have some experience with it, at 16 pages you could probably get away with using PowerPoint.

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  10. I'll offer another mention for Pages. I've used it to make a few little zines from time to time, and it suits me fine for making things that are mostly words supported by a few illustrations here and there. I've never really tried anything too flashy, and an image going across a two-page spread can kind of be a trick to implement flawlessly, but it can output something tidy & tasteful, and export directly to PDF format too. When it comes to actually printing things, I use a program from the App Store called Create Booklet ($10) to reorder the PDF to a "ready to fold" layout that I can print at home, or take to the copy shop.

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  11. I would hit up eBay for an older used copy of InDesign. I would look for the CS5 version, but you may be able to go back earlier. Google to find out what is compatible with your Mac OS version. Also, if you are a Mac user, Apple's Pages might be suitable--though Pages and the other Apple apps are way more sensitive to app versioning and OS versions.

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  12. You can download Adobe CS2 for free from thier website. Older version of InDesign (and Photoshop, Illustrator, etc) but fully functional.

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  13. I'm a visual person, so I lay out everything page by page in a free photoshop equivalent and then use a free pdf joiner to finish everything. It's probably not as intuitive a process but it works well for me.

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