1. Download Free Desktop Publishing Software
A lot of desktop publishing software is quite expensive -- hundreds of dollars for a single program. But there are a few free options worth exploring, including Scribus open source software. The truly free programs may not have quite all the same features or they may not be the industry standards, but they'll get the job done and save you money upfront.
2. Buy Less Expensive Desktop Publishing Software
If you want the features found in programs like Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress at a fraction of the cost, consider Serif PagePlus for your print desktop publishing. Readers chose it as the best for graphic design, business use, and personal projects in the 2010 About.com Reader's Choice Awards. Other inexpensive options include Microsoft Publisher for Windows and Swift Publisher or Desktop Publisher Pro for Mac users.
4. Buy Software Suites and Bundles
Adobe Creative Suite may cost a thousand dollars plus some but purchasing all the programs in the suite individually could cost hundreds more. Suites are a sweet deal if they contain all the page layout, image editing, illustration, and other types of software that you'll be using on a regular basis. In addition to Adobe Creative Suite (Mac & Windows), the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite (Windows) gives you basic page layout capabilities (using CorelDRAW) and some powerful programs for working with all kinds of graphics. Check out your favorite publisher for bundles and special deals.
- Adobe Creative Suite Windows: Design Premium (Buy Direct) | Design Standard (Buy Direct) | Master Collection (Buy Direct)
- Adobe Creative Suite Mac: Design Premium (Buy Direct) | Design Standard (Buy Direct) | Master Collection (Buy Direct)
- Canvas 11, all-in-one graphics & publishing for Windows (Compare Prices)
- CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X5 Full (Buy Direct) | Upgrade (Buy Direct) | Full/Upgrade/All Versions (Compare Prices)
- Create, a page layout, graphics, web suite for Mac (Company Store)
- Printfolio, Mac suite of page layout, photo editing, business tools (Compare Prices)
5. Buy Older Versions of Desktop Publishing Software
The most current version may not be all that much different from the previous version. Consider buying less expensive older versions. For example, PrintMaster Platinum 18 has a few more templates and graphics, a new Scrapbook creator, and is updated for Windows Vista, but if you're still on XP and mostly do greeting cards and fliers, then version 17 or earlier may be just fine for you. Many Adobe users stay one or two Creative Suite versions behind. Once you've established that you've got a program you really like, you can upgrade it. Time it right and you could end up spending less than those folks who buy the new version as soon as it hits the shelf.
This might seem like an odd thing to read on a site about desktop publishing, but sometimes you don't need desktop publishing software to produce a nice flier, brochure, or business card. Look to the software you already own, such as a word processing program. Many word processing packages, such as Microsoft Word, (even older versions) come with lots of templates, fonts, and clip art to help you produce perfectly fine letterhead, labels, postcards, and other typical desktop publishing documents for desktop printing. Mac users can use the Pages word processing component of iWork for many desktop publishing documents. And if you need only specific types of documents, consider specialty programs that do just calendars or business cards. They are often much less expensive.