InDesign vs. Publisher – Which is The Best?

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Most people prefer InDesign as it goes with the business standard. However, it is comparatively difficult to use.

Microsoft Publisher, on the other hand, is easy and simple to use, which is why most people use Microsoft Office.

InDesign has dominated the publishing world since its creation. However, this program comes with a price, in spite of whether you are an individual creating novels or a graphic designer. The free trial of Adobe InDesign lasts for 30 calendar days.

Microsoft Publisher was released in 1991 with a 1.0 version. The latest version is 16.0, which was released on September 24, 2018. Microsoft Publisher enjoys very little share in the publishing world.

The whole publishing world is mainly dominated by ‘QuarkXpress’ and ‘Adobe InDesign.’ Microsoft Publisher is for those individuals or companies who have a low budget and acquire no professional graphics skills.

Another reason is Microsoft Publisher is easy to use, and multiple templates are already available in it. It also has several specifications, such as a mail-merge tool, importing online photos, saving high-resolution files, and a personalization tool.

InDesign vs. Publisher is an ongoing discussion in the world of publishing. If you are looking for a PC publishing solution, these two are clear-cut choices.

The following article is divided into three parts to give you a better understanding of InDesign vs. Publisher.

Part 1: Comparison between InDesign vs. Publisher

Before concluding which software is better, you need to have a clear knowledge of both; InDesign vs. Publisher.

Let’s begin with InDesign. It permits you to create and publish multiple kinds of documents for digital as well as print media. InDesign is the leading page design software.

This software can be used to make flyers, brochures, eBooks, PDFs, presentations, and newspapers. The only drawback of using InDesign is that you have to pay for a monthly subscription.

Microsoft Publisher is not as costly as InDesign. It was designed for people who are not experienced in graphic design. It is meant to design simple and easy projects using Microsoft Office templates.

This software is used by companies that have a low budget. It has a similar menu and functions as Microsoft Office Word.

PS: If you would like to know how to insert images in InDesign and resize an image in InDesign, this is just for you.

Difference between InDesign and Publisher

1. Printing: InDesign vs. Publisher

InDesign can be used for producing laser or inkjet printouts. Microsoft Publisher can do the same but at a relatively lower price. Clients who have a budget do not ask for offset printing. For carrying out simple tasks, Microsoft Publisher is enough.

2. Operating System: InDesign vs. Publisher

If you are on an Apple or Linux OS, then Adobe InDesign is the best choice for you. InDesign is comparatively difficult to use but gives multiple exporting options. People who publish eBooks should use InDesign as formatting can be applied automatically on saving the file.

On the other hand, if you are using a Windows desktop, then Microsoft Publisher is a good choice for you. This tool is much easier to use than Adobe InDesign. Microsoft Publisher offers multiple templates to make your work quicker.

3. Multiple output formats: InDesign vs. Publisher

InDesign provides you with several output options, which allow you to generate instant publishable documents or other files with different formats. You can export the files as PDFs or select a different eBook format.

This gives liberty to the users to make anything from a magazine to a newsletter. Microsoft Publisher does not give many options. You can export files as PDFs, but there is no format for eBooks directly from this software.

Microsoft Publisher provides users with lots of templates to make their work quick and easy. These templates permit users to combine their publication document with a mail marketing directory with ease. Master pages are supported by Publisher too.

Microsoft Publisher can export files in PDF format and give you various choices for business printing. However, as stated earlier, there are no options for the eBook format on Microsoft Publisher.

4. Accessibility and Use: InDesign vs. Publisher

All Operating Systems (OS) support InDesign. You can get InDesign as a part of the Creative Cloud (CC) subscription or a single app. However, Creative Cloud will give you several benefits, such as premium fonts, cloud storage of up to 20GB, and a portfolio website of your own.

Individual access begins at $19.99 each month. The whole CC is accessible for $4.99 each month for an individual. Meanwhile, Adobe offers discounts for teachers, students, universities, and schools.

InDesign business pricing begins from $29.99 each month. Microsoft Publisher is comparatively more widespread. Users usually have full Microsoft Office, including Publisher, whereas InDesign is not free software.

For business use, Publisher access begins at $12.50 each month. You can purchase Publisher straightaway on Microsoft Store.

5. Precision: InDesign vs. Publisher

The biggest benefit of InDesign is precision. It allows precision up to 0.001 degrees. InDesign permits you to create an index and table of contents. They update automatically whenever you compose any changes to any file.

Microsoft Publisher is comparatively not precise. If you are aware of Microsoft Office products, then Publisher will be easy to use.

Part 2: Use PDFelement to edit Publisher and InDesign files

Both InDesign nor Microsoft Publisher are primarily not PDF software tools. Both software can export files to PDF formats, but they come with their restrictions. If you want to create professional-looking PDF files, you need powerful and strong PDF software. PDFelement is one such software.

PDFelement is a strong tool that works smoothly with PDF files. It gives you the liberty to create professional-looking PDF forms and documents. It is an easy and cheap alternative to Adobe Acrobat. You can convert Publisher to InDesign or export Publisher to InDesign using PDFelement.

PS: here are the best InDesign Alternatives.

Features of PDFelement:

  • Secure PDF files with a password
  • Conversion of PDF files to other formats
  • Open, markup, and print PDF files
  • Extract PDF forms data and export in CSV format
  • Edit images and text in PDF document
  • Add tools like comments and notes in PDF files
  • Insert page elements and page numbers

Steps to edit and convert PDF documents to other file formats:

Step 1: Import the desired file

Import the files into PDFelement by dragging and dropping or using the ‘Open File‘ option.

open pdf

Step 2: How to edit PDF

Click on the Edit button to edit the text. You can also edit an image by clicking on the edit option. Select the text you want to edit, and then choose any one mode, “Line mode” or “Paragraph mode.”

The Line mode allows you to edit the text line by line, and the Paragraph mode selects the desired paragraph for editing.

Step 3: Conversion of PDF into other formats

Click on ‘Home‘ and select the ‘To Other‘ option to convert a PDF file into any other format. You will see a dialog box; choose the format you want to convert your file with the output location.

output format

After the conversion process, go to the output folder and open your converted file.

Part 3: Learn to convert Publisher to InDesign

Microsoft Publisher and Adobe InDesign are used to create projects such as magazines, flyers, brochures, and newsletters.

InDesign is not capable of saving a file in ‘.pub format.’ If you want to work in both of the software, learn how to convert Microsoft Publisher to Adobe InDesign or vice-versa.

Convert InDesign to Publisher

1. Open the InDesign document that you want to convert. Choose the ‘Save As’ option from the File menu. A dialog box will appear, choose select ‘PDF’ in the file type and click on ‘Save.’

2. Open Adobe Acrobat and select ‘Open’ from the File menu. Find the converted PDF in the file list, and then select ‘Open.’

3. Choose ‘Export’ in Acrobat from the File menu. Click on ‘Word Document’ in the File type section. Select an export destination and then click on ‘Save.’ Close Adobe Acrobat.

4. Open Microsoft Publisher, and click on ‘New’ from the File menu to create a new document.

5. Lastly, choose ‘Import Word Document’ from the File menu in Publisher. Find your converted Word document, and select ‘OK.’ Your file will be converted to ‘.pub’ format.

Convert Publisher to InDesign

There are two methods to convert files from Microsoft Publisher to Adobe InDesign. You will need a paid plug-in for this conversion.

1. Pub2ID: Pub2ID is designed by ‘Markzware.’ It provides a fast and efficient conversion from Publisher to InDesign. The conversion process has to make sure that all the elements are preserved in InDesign, which includes links, fonts, layers, and more. This plug-in is available for $199, and it is used by graphic design professionals who like to save time.

2. PDF2ID: As you can easily export Publisher files (.pub) to PDF format, use the PDF2ID plug-in to bridge the gap. There are three versions of this plug-in; Lite ($99), Standard ($199), and Professional ($299). The Lite plug-in has enough functionality for an average user. PDF2ID can re-produce each PDF characteristic in InDesign, which includes graphic layouts, text boxes, and tables.


Choosing between InDesign and Publisher depends on your specific needs and level of expertise. If you are a professional graphic designer or require advanced design capabilities, InDesign offers a comprehensive suite of tools and flexibility.

On the other hand, if you are a small business owner or an individual looking for a user-friendly solution with basic design features, Publisher can be a suitable choice.


1. Can InDesign and Publisher files be converted into each other’s formats?

No, InDesign and Publisher use different file formats and do not provide direct conversion options. However, there are third-party tools available that can assist in converting files between these two formats.

2. Which software is more suitable for professional graphic designers?

InDesign is the preferred choice for professional graphic designers due to its extensive features and advanced design capabilities.

3. Can InDesign and Publisher be used for creating e-books?

Yes, both InDesign and Publisher can be used for creating e-books. InDesign offers more advanced options for complex layouts and interactive elements, while Publisher provides simpler tools for basic e-book designs.

4. Is InDesign or Publisher better for small businesses?

Publisher is often more suitable for small businesses due to its user-friendly interface and cost-effective one-time purchase option.

5. Can I try both InDesign and Publisher before purchasing?

Yes, Adobe offers a trial version of InDesign as part of its Creative Cloud subscription, allowing users to test the software before committing. Microsoft also provides trial versions of the Office suite, which includes Publisher.


Skilled software testing specialist with expertise in comparisons and research, passionate about blogging, reviews, and creating video tutorials.

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