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Can anyone recommend software that's not so detailed for making simple flyers, invites, etc.?
There are several software packages available that allow you to make simple flyers and such. This is presuming you are not sending the files out to commercial printers for duplication, but you will be printing the projects in house.
http://www.avanquest.com My Software Print design software
Microsoft Power Point
The avanquest also has the print artist gold and Hallmark card studio, so you may have seen their software before.
Now if you are going to send the project out after you have designed the piece, you really need to be talking to your printer to see what file formats they accept. We've had printers set up templates for us for Quark and Indesign so the flyers could be made with out being experts in those packages.
Scribus ( http://www.scribus.net ) is an open-source publisher alternative. I haven't used it in some time, but I don't remember it being too difficult to learn- I was making pages in an hour or two. If you're looking for something even simpler, I'm afraid I don't have any recommendations- I know a few of my clients get by just fine using Word since they know how to maneuver around its quirks already.
Technical Support Specialist
I started out using Word and switched to Open Office. I found some extensions for Open Office that had templates for fliers, and other business documents. this worked OK but I still couldn't manage to get that professional look to my graphics that I wanted.
A Friend of mine suggested using GIMP as a graphics editor and although I found it a bit complex at first, through a couple of tutorials I found on-line I found it to be a very powerful graphics program. Not being a graphics artist I am impressed with some of the documents I've been able to create using Open Office and the GIMP. you can download GIMP here http://www.gimp.org/downloads/.
I now use GIMP to create most of my web graphics, banners, posters, buttons, etc, as well. I don't know how I manged before! I'm also getting better at the whole design thing too. Getting back to my artistic roots has been fun.
Jeffrey B. Kill
Yeah, Scribus seems to be an excellent free alternative to MS Publisher, that many people enjoy using. I'd look into that software for sure. Plus it's not hard to learn to use it.
The only thing to keep in mind is that Publisher files can't be opened in Scribus.
Here's a short review of the latest version of Scribus.
Yann Toledano, Digital Marketing Strategist YTConsulting.com
Host, Web Building Forum, TechSoup.org Twitter: @webmanyann
I tried Scribus too and found it somewhat lacking. The new version looks better though. Since Scribus isnt compatible with Publisher, what Open Source alternative is?
There is no software on the market that is compatible with Publisher. The best thing you can do is export from a .PUB file to .DOC, but you need publisher to do this and you will lose a TON of formatting.
Scribus is probably less like Publisher, and more like PageMaker / InDesign / Quark Express.
Unfortunately there isn't an "Open Source Publisher" out there, presumably because there is far less demand these days for printed materials which are sort of going the way of the buffalo. More people are using the web to get their information out to people so I think printing just seems archaic to developers.
I use OpenOffice Draw for desktop publishing. It's not exactly what it was designed for, but it does a good job, and can export directly to PDF. I've also used Scribus and Inkscape for some things too.
I find that Scribus does better when more text is involved, and OpenOffice Draw does better when more objects are involved. I think Scribus has a steeper learning curve, likely due to the fact that it's a more professional tool and a lot of the terminology used is printing industry specific.