When it comes to free, open-source desktop publishing (DTP) there’s little as capable, as fully-featured, or as widely used in professional settings as Scribus.

Now a brand new stable release of this powerful page-making tool is available, the first since 2019.

Scribus 1.6.0 ships with “thousands of enhancements and fixes across all areas of the program”, with its development team noting it’s more featured, faster, and more stable than all versions prior.

Used to create everything from newsletters to books, Scribus provides scores of features commonly found in paid-for, proprietary DTP software, allowing users to design and create complex layouts, manipulate text, insert images, manage colours, and export documents for free.

Scribus 1.6.0 includes:

  • Revamped UI with new icons and light/dark mode support
  • Improvements to canvas rendering on high-density displays
  • Various scripting engine improvements
  • New PDF-based output preview
  • New ‘Weld’ feature combines objects without being ‘grouped’
  • Symbol clone feature (similar to Adobe Illustrator)
  • Canvas typing and text rendering is “a lot faster”
  • Picture Browse plugin for graphics asset management
  • Now supports advanced gradient types, including mesh gradients
  • Configurable image cache to reduce memory usage
  • Bitmap images now stored in Scribus’ native file format
  • Scores of new or improved import filters
  • Enhanced support for Adobe Illustrator files
  • PDF/X-4 & PDF 1.6 export support in the PDF exporter
  • Newly written printing engine (PostScript still available)

Scribus 1.6.0 also includes experimental features for inserting foot and end notes, text variables, and cross-references; supports vertical text justification, and OpenType ligatures and alternate glyphs; and adds settings to apply background colour(s) to selected text(s).

As a DTP app, the ability to open/import files made in other DTP apps is important, with Scribus 1.6.0 able to open/import the following:

  • Adobe InDesign XML (IDML)
  • Adobe InDesign Snippets (IDMS)
  • Adobe PageMaker (P65, PMD)
  • Apple iWorks Pages
  • Microsoft Publisher (PUB)
  • QuarkXPress Tags (XTG)
  • VIVA Designer XML
  • XARA Page & Layout Designer (XAR)
  • ZonerDraw vectors (experimental)
  • QuarkXPress documents (experimental)

The above lists and excerpts are far from exhaustive, so for more details read through the official changelog for Scribus 1.6.0 as well as the individual changelogs for the many 1.5.x series development releases issued in advanced of the new stable edition.

Get Scribus 1.6.0

Scribus is free, open-source software available for Windows, macOS (including Apple Silicon), as well as Linux.

Linux users can download a distro-agnostic AppImage of the latest release from the official Scribus SourceForge page.

An Ubuntu PPA is linked on the Scribus website, containing both stable and development versions, but this hasn’t been updated since 2022. This may (presumably) change shortly since it’s explicitly listed on the download page under the upcoming 1.7.x development heading.