Does Scribus Open InDesign Files?

Does Scribus Open InDesign Files?

It is one of the most popular publishing applications and a must-have for any professional editor. So, what are you to do if you are an Adobe InDesign user and want to work with vector-based files in Scribus? The good news is, there are a few ways to do so.

Yes, Scribus can open InDesign files, however, it isn’t always a good thing to do. The reason this is a concern is because even though both programs can edit vector-based graphics, they have different features and editing capabilities.

Let’s see if we can find out if Scribus can open InDesign files.

Scribus Files vs InDesign Files

InDesign is a vector-based software, and so is Scribus. The only question that remains is: Which one is capable of doing what?

If you open an InDesign file in your preferred vector-based software, you will notice that everything is still connected and hovered over. That is how an InDesign object is connected and hovered over. However, in a Scribus document, all the connections, paths and objects are drawn using the toolbars and the field-of-view of the document window.

What makes this possible is the fact that both InDesign and Scribus are based on the same software codebase. In other words, the same code runs both programs. So, when you open an InDesign file in a vector-based software, it will see and interact with all the objects and connections the same as if it were a vector-based file.

How to Open InDesign Files in Scribus

To open an InDesign file in Scribus, first look inside the opened file in your preferred program. If the file is a .DXF or .DXF/.DXI file, you will see the same thing that you saw when working with the file in InDesign. Now, look at the bottom-right corner of the opened file in a Scribus document.

There you will see a square icon. This is the file browser. When you click on this icon, a file browser will pop up. From here, you will be able to see all the files and folders inside your computer.

Now, from this file browser, navigate to the directory that contains the .CSX, .CSV or .CSVX files. If you are working in a sketchbook file or a project file, you will see a list of all the files inside this directory. Now, if you click on a file in this list, you will be taken to that file.

Can Scribus Edit InDesign Files?

InDesign is a vector-based software and so is Scribus. They can both edit the design that you are working on.

When you open an InDesign file in a Scribus document, you will notice that you can jump right into the code and edit the text, the connections, the images and so on.

However, while working with the vector-based files from Scribus into InDesign, you won’t be able to edit the text or the shape. You will just have to create a new document and start working on it.

Is Scribus the Same as InDesign?

InDesign and Scribus are different applications with different teams of software developers working on them. So, even though they work with the same codebase, InDesign will have a different set of features, a different set of tools and a different focus.

While you will find a lot of similarities between InDesign and Scribus, it is important to keep in mind that these two applications are not created equally. In fact you might find certain elements work better for you in the InDesign than Scribus and vise versa.

For example, while working with the same non-text elements in InDesign, you will find it much easier to bring shapes to life with strokes while having a hard time doing so with lines in Scribus.

Furthermore, while InDesign lets you work with multiple pages and sections at the same time, Scribus offers you only a single document at a time. So, when you are done with one page, you have to close it and start working on the next page.

What is the Difference between Scribus and InDesign?

The basic differences between InDesign and Scribus are as follows:

  1. InDesign is a vector-based software whereas Scribus is a bitmap-based software.
  2. InDesign supports multiple pages and sections while Scribus only allows you to work on a single page at a time.
  3. InDesign is a commercial software whereas Scribus is a free application.
  4. InDesign has been developed by an international team of software developers whereas Scribus is the work of a single developer.

Furthermore, there are numerous other differences between the two applications that will help you in deciding which one to use for your project.


So, yes you can open InDesign files in Scribus, but it is not a silver bullet. If you are going to use it, make sure you know how it works and why it works the way it does. While this tool can open and edit Adobe Adobe InDesign files, it is not the same software that is used to create these files. Make sure you know what you are doing and why you are doing it that way.