Design and Layout Center

Finding the Right Design Software for a School Newspaper

Design Software Needed

An obstacle that many schools face in starting a newspaper or a newspaper club is what design software to get. This can be problematic for low budget schools, but even if a school can afford the higher end desktop publishing software programs, such as InDesign, there are still several issues that need to be addressed.

There are many different kinds of design software available for purchase, and you will need to choose the best one for your school. There are three categories that all of these design software packages fall into.

Cloud Based Designers

Our company (MakeMyNewspaper) decided to move to the Cloud Based Designer, introducing a brand new era of design software. This allows the software to be used in multiple browsers and from different computer devices, in addition to offering such features as online sharing and collaboration.


  • Completely free to use.
  • Much smaller learning curve, not as difficult to begin.
  • Always updated to the latest versions and features.
  • Immediate integration into printers, digital publication, and other online services.
  • Use on every computer with an internet access (including at home).
  • Better collaboration tools.
  • No software to download or install.


  • Not as feature rich (but that is changing fast).
  • Must have an internet connection.

Because of the obvious advantages, we feel this is the future of school newspaper printing and is why we have done down this road versus the other solutions mentioned below. Cost effectiveness, availability of the design software, integration into print companies and other online services for publication are significant advantages for any school or newspaper club.

To explore a cloud based designer, Click Here.

Downloadable Software

This has always been the traditional software that everyone needed. You purchase the software and then you install it on your hard drive, directly onto your computer. Typically, these are programs are sophisticated, such as InDesign, Microsoft Publisher, Serif PagePlus, and others. There are pros and cons to this type of software:


  • It is yours. You don’t have to pay again.
  • Powerful and feature rich.
  • Years of stability and programming behind them.
  • Perfect for the professional designer.


  • You have to pay to get the latest version.
  • Very pricey, not for the low budgets.
  • Must purchase additional licenses to put the program on other computers.
  • Severe learning curve required. (Some programs even have college level courses dedicated to just learn them well.)

For decades, this was the only way to go. For schools, however, this is often problematic as it is expensive just to keep their computers up-to-date, least of all trying to keep the software up-to-date. In addition, the learning curve for many of these software packages is just not a feasible option for middle and elementary schools. Even high schools struggle to keep people trained on this type of software.

Subscription Based Software

In recent years, a new subscription method of paying for software has come on the scene. Generally, it is meant to fight piracy as well as bring in more revenue. The software is tied to the internet and will lock you out if your subscription lapses. They are also calling them “cloud” services, though they are not truly cloud programs. You still have to download and install them.

Microsoft Office has a cloud program for Word, Excel and PowerPoint, but not for their desktop publishing software, Publisher. This may change, but the subscription model is still an option for schools and the newspaper club.


  • No initial, large financial obligation (unless billed yearly).
  • Perfect for the professional designer.
  • Get latest versions and updates at no extra expense.
  • Usually less expensive to get copies on multiple computers.


  • Very pricey over the long run, not for the low budgets.
  • Never really yours. You rent it.
  • Must purchase additional subscriptions for more than one computer or user.
  • Still must download and install software.
  • Severe learning curve required. (Some programs even have college level courses dedicated to just learn them well.)

Free Cloud Designer Templates

Our templates are 100% customizable, super user-friendly, and designed specifically to help you create outstanding school newspapers with our free Cloud Designer. Below are a few of the 100s of templates available to you.