Cheap desktop publishing program?
March 7, 2011 6:18 PM   Subscribe

Best publishing software for club newsletter?

I was commissioned to start working on the monthly newsletter for my ski club. It's about 10 to 15 pages, which is mostly e-mailed to about 200 members. The club seems like it may be willing to spring for some inexpensive desktop publishing software. (under $100)
I was asked to do this since I am a journalist by trade, but on the writing and editing side. While I asked my co-workers who work on the pagination side for some tips, they only know the expensive, professional programs like Indesign (which we use at our publication) One suggested Print Shop, but he never used it himself.
I will also need to print the newsletter as a PDF, so that would also be helpful. While some basic photo editing software would be a nice addition, it is not mandatory. Does anyone have any good suggestions?
posted by greatalleycat to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Publisher, while loathed by many, seems to fit the bill.
posted by msbutah at 6:31 PM on March 7, 2011

My organization publishes a similar news letter and we use Publisher. Its the easy option. It does exceed the $100 budget but most people have it on a work computer.
posted by ihadapony at 6:36 PM on March 7, 2011

Publisher should be fine if the output is a digital file, but many printers (the tradesmen, not the machines) won't take Publisher files.
posted by lekvar at 7:09 PM on March 7, 2011

I would suggest Scribus. It's open-source so it won't need any budget, and very user-friendly. It is also a cross-platform application.
posted by schade at 7:17 PM on March 7, 2011

Publisher is not great, but it will fit the bill. If you need to print to PDF, you can use CutePDF.
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:29 PM on March 7, 2011

sonic meat machine, Publisher exports PDFs natively and surprisingly well.
posted by lekvar at 8:02 PM on March 7, 2011

Ah – my mistake. I've mostly used Publisher in conjunction with Acrobat, so I assumed you needed a distiller to generate PDFs.
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:23 PM on March 7, 2011

My vote would be to track down an older version of InDesign on eBay or Craigslist; you aren't going to need anything more than maybe InDesign CS1 for a newsletter. Any version of InDesign can save to PDF, with all of your fonts and graphics nicely embedded, ready for print.

I find the way that Publisher deals with pagination, layouts, and styles to be utterly maddening, but that might be coming from programs like InDesign (or, hell, even PageMaker).
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 10:25 PM on March 7, 2011

It's not that well known here in the US, but PagePlus by Serif would be a good choice for this. The software is fairly easy to use, and at $99 isn't a bad deal. Other than that, seconding Scribus.
posted by ralan at 3:52 AM on March 8, 2011

There is a pretty cool free open source layout editor called Scribus which I have used for my own amateur projects.
posted by forkisbetter at 8:29 AM on March 8, 2011

Scribus looks pretty robust. Acrobat standard is $140, and it might be able to handle most of what you need to do.

I agree with ivan, I think your best bet is going to be finding a used copy of Indesign.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:25 AM on March 8, 2011

Seconding PagePlus from Serif. I've used it for newsletters and book publishing. It handles as well as Quark XPress or InDesign. You might be able to find an older but still excellent version for cheap or nothing if you search online.
posted by bryon at 9:34 AM on March 8, 2011

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