Adobe's switch to software as a service has sent budget-minded creative professionals looking for alternatives to the Creative Cloud apps that don't cost them a monthly fee.
Adobe didn't hit a home run with the first version of InDesign, but steadily improved it and integrated it so thoroughly with other Adobe products that it eventually became indispensable. More recently, the 10.1 release makes tweaks that even further, incorporating InDesign-style Dynamic Guides (like Smart Guides), 8000 percent zoom, layout export, a reimplemented and greatly improved Books feature, and HTML 5 animation support. Unfortunately, all that power comes with a price, and a hefty one at that: $849, a lot more than budget-conscious creatives will be willing to pay, especially those that still have a negative connotation of Quark.
Looking over Swift Publisher, I don't liken it to an InDesign competitor as much as a more sophisticated version of an tool like Print Explosion or The Print Shop — and that's squarely its market: for consumers looking for a way to make really pretty layouts for their projects. Having said that, Pages' price for new Mac owners is certainly right — it's free with the purchase of a new computer, after all. But if you're a long-time Pages user, you're probably still suffering with some of the missing features and functionality from previous versions.
It's been a few years since MultiAd has done anything significant to Creator, but it's still an alternative that some may want to consider. Creator is available in two trim levels - Creator Express, a consumer-friendly version available for download in the Mac App Store, and Creator Professional, which is available for purchase directly from MultiAd. None of these options really fit the bill for what I was looking for — an inexpensive alternative to InDesign that's powerful enough for a creative professional to get by. Mikah talks Instagram's new look, Serenity suggests some weekend binges, Rene goes over our music listening workflows, and Georgia gets us to answer all your questions! If you are a fan of Broadway shows and like to keep up with the latest and greatest, you'll be excited to see the new Broadway Channel that is available on the Apple TV. With this Markzware Pub2ID video demonstration, though, you can see how quickly you can convert Publisher to Adobe InDesign files.
It started life itself as a market disruptor — Adobe introduced InDesign as an alternative to QuarkXPress at a time when Quark ruled the desktop publishing market. Now InDesign is the market behemoth, and at least for some, Adobe has become the evil empire they're trying to get away from.
And if you're a Creative Suite user, you can "upgrade" to Creative Cloud for $29.99 per month for your first year. If you've exhausted what the older version of Pages can do for you — or if you're horrified by what happened to it in 2013 – give iStudio a try. It'll be interesting to see what they do with iStudio Publisher — certainly one to keep your eye on.

In fairness, developer Belight Software isn't trying to copy InDesign feature for feature, or even attempting to make a professional page layout app.
You can use it to print flyers, newsletters, brochures, calendars and other content either freeforming them from scratch or using built-in templates and clip art. Pages took a big step backwards last year when Apple reworked the Mac versions of its iWork apps to work in lockstep with their iOS counterparts.
What's more, it does have a powerful set of page layout features that make it powerful if you're patient enough to use it right.
Either that, or you're still using the older iWork '09-era version that Apple leaves behind when it upgrades.
Professional adds a slew of important features like Pantone color library support, file conversion (including InDesign Interchange), trapping and more. It seems that we've come along way with image editing and illustration alternatives to Adobe products, but page layout still needs work. Built right into the Safari browser on iPhone and iPad, Reading Lists let you save any articles you stumble across while browsing the web so you can go back and read them at your convenience. Because of unwise management, hostile customer service, and other foibles, Quark was utterly loathed by many of the businesses and users that depended on its software. Last year's version 10 release saw a thorough under-the-hood and feature-rich modernization, with 50 feature enhancements, a throughly optimized graphics engine, improved interface elements and much more. But they have succeeded in creating a surprisingly powerful, lightweight page layout app with a lot of cool features at a very low price.
And of all the apps, Pages took the biggest hit in terms of interface and functionality; changes I don't see it getting back any time soon. It supports different export options, text on a path, automatic CMYK-RG conversions and full support of OpenType fonts. Their built-in tools, shapes, text boxes, swatches, objects and text styles all behave in a similar way, making their conversions much more predictable. Need more document conversion tools for graphic arts publishers and creative professionals?
As Markzware makes clear though, even an approximate conversion is a great deal less time consuming than recreating a document from scratch. The purpose of this article is to give an idea of what to expect from a standard conversion, with screenshots of the results you'll end up with. Once activated, a new Markzware menu item will appear alongside the existing InDesign menu items. If you nudge a box which is being affected by the Text Wrap values of another element, the box will move around whilst leaving the text inside where it is.

If there are raster images (photos or similar) then the PDF file could be rasterized in Photoshop and saved as TIFF or Photoshop EPS files. Make sure they're CMYK if the document's going to end up being professionally printed. As you'll see in the example advert above, the only absentee (apart from text formatting) is the starburst from the top left corner.
This has disappeared because it was an 'Autoshape' some of which are unsupported by Pub2ID. There are two ways to recreate this.
The most accurate method would be to extract the starburst from the accompanying PDF file which can be opened in Illustrator. Copy the starburst into a new Illustrator file (as explained above) and save it as an EPS which can be imported into InDesign.
You'll notice that generally the text box positions are correct, but the text within has shifted position.
The photo in this case (rather shockingly) turned out to be an Index Color Mode, 72DPI extremely low resolution image, completely unsuitable for press.
Double-click each one to convert it to CMYK. The reason for including the example below was to demonstrate how some of the Publisher features such as 'Wordart' are handled in the conversion. As you can see, some of the Autoshapes convert correctly and some (like our friend the starburst) do not. This can be recovered either by recreating it as closely as possible using the Illustrator 3D tools, or by importing a PDF version of the document (if supplied) into Illustrator. To achieve the latter, copy the vector information and paste it into a new Illustrator file (the Wordart is conveniently converted to outlines when you open the file). This can then be imported as an EPS into InDesign. Other items, like the Design Gallery Objects, vary in their faithfulness to the original. Although we probably won't use it much (fortunately we don't get sent too many MS Publisher files) when we do need it, it'll save a great deal of time. At the very least it'll import ungarbled text into a new document to save OCR time-wasting or re-typing.

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