Scribus is an open source desktop publishing tool that you can use to create your company's brochures, marketing fliers, or any other document that fits the desktop publishing criteria.

Scribus is to Linux what QuarkXPress, Adobe Pagemaker, and Microsoft Publisher is to Windows. Scribus is an open source desktop publishing tool. If you are looking for an open source, cross platform tool to create your company's brochures, marketing fliers, or any other document that fits the desktop publishing criteria, Scribus is your tool.


System Requirements for Version 1.2 and Higher:

  • GNU Compiler Collection (GCC): at least 3.x+ (3.2 is strongly recommended)
  • QT: greater than or equal to 3.1 (3.1.2 or 3.3 strongly recommended)
  • Ghostscript: greater than or equal to 7.07 (8 strongly recommended)
  • Postscript or TrueType fonts
  • libart_lgpl: greater than or equal to 2.3.8 (2.3.16 strongly recommended)
  • Python 2.1+ and development libraries
  • Freetype: greater than or equal to 2.1 (2.1.4+ strongly recommended)
  • LittleCMS Library: greater than or equal to 1.09 (1.13 recommended)
  • ICC Profiles (if using color management)
  • Additional information

Who's it for?

Scribus is for any company that needs print-ready PDF document creation and needs to be able to create/edit these documents on numerous platforms. Scribus does this with a much shallower learning curve than its proprietary cousins.

What problem does it solve?

Scribus solves the problem of being able to create professional-quality documents (fliers, brochures, marketing tools, etc) without having to break the software budget on more expensive applications like Adobe Pagemaker or QuarkXPress.

Standout features

The single most impressive feature of Scribus is that it can create professional-quality documents on par with its costlier competition while remaining a free application. But Scribus doesn't stop there when it comes to standout features:

  • Print-ready document creation
  • Supports nearly all image formats
  • Level 3 Postscript printing
  • CMYK and ICC color management support
  • Layer support
  • PDFs can be encrypted
  • Interactive PDF creation
  • Template support
  • Import SVG and EPS/PS documents
  • Scrapbook where often-used elements can be placed for quick access

What's wrong?

The biggest drawback of Scribus is actually intentional. Scribus can not import other, proprietary documents created by applications such as Adobe Pagemaker, QuarkXPress, and Microsoft Publisher. Desktop publishing files are some of the most complex files you can create on a PC, therefore, the Scribus team decided import filters would consume more resources than they wanted to allocate.

In addition to the resource consideration, the developers are also restricted by the fact that some of the formats are patented and proprietary and import filters cannot legally be created.

The decision to not dedicate man hours to the creation of whatever legal import filters for proprietary formats they could make, relieved the developers from having to reverse engineer those formats. Instead these resources could be focused on creating the highest quality application the developers could make.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

The bottom line for Scribus speaks directly to the bottom line for business. Instead of eating up your software budget on multiple instances of costly, proprietary applications, businesses can save money and deploy Scribus for free. Not only will you save money, you will save education time as well, because Scribus is much easier to use than most of its competition.

User rating

Have you deployed Scribus in your organization? Have you used Scribus personally? How would you rate your experience? Rate this product and compare your results to other TechRepublic members.


Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.


I found Scribus easy to use but as I have no real experience of Publisher, I have not had to "unlearn" another way of working. I have used this software on both Linux and Windows, it runs well on either platform. One feature I find useful with Scribus is the ability to use PDF pages as images in a document. A work I have used this feature to insert data sheets and technical details from part manufacturer's downloaded product data sheets into Operating Manuals for equipment the company I work for manufactures. I have used Scribus using only a few of its features. As with any software to use all the possible applications and uses of this product and become an "expert user" I would need to invest some time into learning the tools and features better to get all the maximum use and productivity possible with Scribus. With this knowledge I think Scribus would be up to the job for industrial strength DTP with it being able to produce a "print ready product" more so than Publisher, more in the same vein as Page Maker or Quark Express.


Been using Publisher since it was numbered sequentially (Publisher 5, I believe my introduction was), and I find that learning Scribus not so easy for someone who has to un-learn the old way before learning the new way. This is especially true if one has to also maintain familiarity with the "old" such as at work.


I was disappointed to find that it appears that this only runs on Linux. With the use of OO.o we find that we could move away from M$ except that we can't find a replacement for Publisher. In education the push is to produce projects that reflect what might be expected in the real world thus we tend to use Publisher to produce brochures and flyers. We are not willing (yet) to leave the Windows environment for desktop management but if we could find a replacement for all of the modules of the Office suite chances are we would go open source for productivity tools.


You had me right up to the mention of MS Publisher. How'd that get in there? --Allen


that these are not MS developers so everything is different. if you "know" publisher, you will be lost. I like scribus but everyone I try to convert is too lazy to learn anything new :-/


kferraro, I can assure you from experience that Scribus runs in Windows XP and Vista. I am not certain from experience that it runs in other Windows environments, but I believe it does.

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