Lucidpress Is A Collaborative Web-Based Alternative To Adobe InDesign

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The web’s got more than its share of task management and social media apps, as well as cloud services, image editors, video converters and password managers. And then there’s an emerging market for feature-rich office tools that, one day, may even make people forget about the good ol’ MS Office. One genre of such office tools are layout and designing tools for publishing, and your notions of using a web-based tool for this purpose may be redefined permanently, thanks to LucidChart’s brand new web-based application called Lucidpress. The feature-set and collaboration options offered by Lucidpress are simply beyond anything that has come to the web app market in this genre yet, and that too at zero price. Read on for our full review.

Lucidpress

Lucidpress is basically an online, feature-laden print and digital media creation suite that lets you design all sorts of documents such as newsletters, flyers, photo and video presentations, magazines and so on, entirely through its web interface. The service even lets you import your images and text from cloud storage such as Dropbox, Google Drive and more, and add your fonts to the mix.

Getting started is fairly quick and hassle-free. You do need to create an account first before you begin working on your project, but the sign-up process can be really fast with your Google or Yahoo account. You may also alternatively sign up with your email address.

Registration _ Lucidpress

The service’s dashboard area is pretty great; it’s simple, user-friendly and intuitive. To begin with a new document, click the Create button on the left.

Dashboard

Lucidpress then brings up a category selection window, which lets you choose the type of template you want to begin with. You can either choose a blank canvas, or go with the preconfigured layouts for a headstard, all of which are split into multiple categories. After selecting your desired item, simply click ‘Create New’.

Categories

Once in the main editing workspace, you’ll get to proceed the way you would in any page layout program. There’s every tool you’d expect to tweak the layout and formatting of your documents, including text spacing options, font size and adjustments, image uploader, shapes and color options, and more. You can also toggle between multiple modes of your document via the four different navigation buttons at the bottom: Layout, Interaction, Comment, and Preview.

Bringing in content is very easy as well, both from your local storage as well as Google Drive, Dropbox, Flickr, Facebook, and Google Image Search, which allow you to add images and all sort of supported content to your designs. Everything that you add can be positioned and formatted the way you want. In other words, Lucidpress gives you complete control and flexibility over your layouts.

Editing

The interactive mode is quite handy, and allows you to embed interactive elements into your document such as external links that may point to additional information. Your finished project can be published online, printed, or saved as image file.

Interaction

Overall, Lucidpress is an awesome online app that comes with a plethora of layout and design options to play with. The impressive toolset it provides for document creation is simply brilliant, and the collaboration options make it easy for a team to work on the same document together, complete with real-time commenting. In short, if you want to create any rich layout document, Lucidpress gives you a definitive solution for free.

Visit Lucidpress

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  • Nice web app, but as with most of these sorts of things, as soon as the bugs are worked-out it won’t be free anymore; or, as in the case of LucidPress’s sibling, LucidChart, the free version will become limited, and only the commericial/fee-based versions will unlock most or all features. Worse, when they *DO* start charging, it’s not one-time but, rather, monthly.

    LucidChart’s fee structure
    https://www.lucidchart.com/users/registerLevel

    So we all need to be careful about getting too excited about such tools; and we need to not rely/depend on them… at least not until and unless their makers confirm that they will be free, forever. Based on LucidChart, I’d say that that’s unlikely.

    Just sayin’.

    __________________________________
    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

    • That’s true. However, even if such tools do start offering paid plans for certain features (since they do have to make money in some manner in order to sustain themselves), they still end up costing way less than licenses for the desktop apps they aim to replace.

      Considering the convenience of being able to use the service on any device compared to the cost of individual licenses of those desktop packages for each of your computers, the difference becomes even more pronounced. That’s why for the users who don’t need some of the very advanced features offered by those desktop apps, these web app subscriptions can (and usually do) translate into substantial savings at the end of the day.

      Also, having paid plans makes them more reliable. After all, a service that has a sustainable business model based on user subscriptions is more likely to continue staying in business than one that’s monetizing behind the scenes with user data, which isn’t even proving to be substantial enough for the likes of twitter to cover all their operating costs. (Twitter hasn’t made any profit in the past three years, and suffered a loss of nearly $70 million in the first half of 2013 alone.)

      • HAROON Q. RAJA WROTE: … even if such tools do start offering paid plans for certain features (since they do have to make money in some manner in order to sustain themselves)…

        MY RESPONSE: Agreed. That said, there are many magnificent services which have existed almost since the beginning of the Worldwide Web component of the Internet was first released to the public in 1994, and have never cost end-users a penny. It’s difficult, I realize; and I do not begrudge web-app makers the right to somehow financially self-sustain. Sadly, most of them, now, so strip the free version of features that it’s as if, as a practical matter, there were no free version at all; and so I’m simply warning users of that possible eventuality.

        HAROON Q. RAJA WROTE: …they still end up costing way less than licenses for the desktop apps they aim to replace.

        MY RESPONSE: Not true, in most cases. At, say, for example, $9.95 per month, a typical web-app, in less than two years, has likely already cost the subscriber about what it would have cost to one-time-purchase the app, were it available on the desktop. Subscriptions are never-ending, and after two to three years, begin so grossly overcharging for the app that it borders on criminality, in my opinion. Software-as-a-Service (SAS) would be considerably more credible if it had a maximum-three-year $9.95/month subscription plan, followed-up by a very small annual maintenance fee… say, for example, something like $19.95-per-year to keep the account active, and to pay for ongoing support. Never-ending subscriptions, though, are repugnant.

        HAROON Q. RAJA WROTE: Considering the convenience of being able to use the service on any device compared to the cost of individual licenses of those desktop packages for each of your computers, the difference becomes even more pronounced.

        MY RESPONSE: Many desktop software licensing schemes have allowed installation on multiple devices for many years; and nearly all of them, now, are changing to accommodate a given user’s both desktop or notebook computer, and also a tablet and/or smartphone. They know that they must, in order to be competitive with the cloud; and so they’re all rushing to do it. Fear not: It’s not really a barrier.

        HAROON Q. RAJA WROTE: That’s why for the users who don’t need some of the very advanced features offered by those desktop apps, these web app subscriptions can (and usually do) translate into substantial savings at the end of the day.

        MY RESPONSE: Well, I’ve just effectively argued against the math; and your observing that most of the SAS apps are often feature-crippled compared with their desktop contemporaries just exacerbates said math, in my opinion. Add to that that SAS apps usually happen in the browser, with all, in terms of inherent user interface deficits and impediments that that entails, and SAS starts looking bad, indeed. The user interface issue is usually mitigated only by an app, rather than in-browser use; and if said app is little more than a framing of web pages, then it, too, suffers from similar deficits and impediments.

        HAROON Q. RAJA WROTE: Also, having paid plans makes them more reliable.

        MY RESPONSE: No, it is not “paid plans” that makes software more reliable. Rather, it is payment, period… the pound of silver, in whatever form. It need not be — and I’m clearly arguing, here, that it should not ethically be — ongoing, never-ending subscriptions. One-time payment, with, possibly and optionally for the user, moderate ongoing annual maintenance, is more than adequate… preferred, even.

        HAROON Q. RAJA WROTE: After all, a service that has a sustainable business model based on user subscriptions is more likely to continue staying in business than one that’s monetizing behind the scenes with user data…

        MY RESPONSE: Those are not the only two options, and shame on you for framing it all as if they were. There is also the one-time licesning option, with, again, an optional annual maintenance of some kind. That model has worked since desktop computer software first came about in the 1980s (remember, I was in this industry back then); and even before that with mini- and mainframe computers… for which I was also around. Ongoing, never-ending subscription is the same mentality as leasing an automobile instead of financing and buying one. The math on that never works-out, either… trust me. You’ve clearly bought-in to that mentality, to the peril of those who fall victim to it and your kind of thinking.

        HAROON Q. RAJA WROTE: …which isn’t even proving to be substantial enough for the likes of twitter to cover all their operating costs. (Twitter hasn’t made any profit in the past three years, and suffered a loss of nearly $70 million in the first half of 2013 alone.)

        MY RESPONSE: Oh, puh-leeze! Twitter is about to launch perhaps the most lucrative and successful — more so even than Facebook’s, I’ll wager — IPO in dot com history. Please don’t pee on our collective leg and then tell us it’s raining. Amazon, at least on paper, has NEVER earned a profit…

        SEE | http://bit.ly/15OKb5p

        …and its founder and CEO just took all the money he’s allegedly never earned from it and bought the Washington damned Post!

        SEE | http://bit.ly/15OKnBs

        Please. Spare me your whining. Ongoing, never-ending fees for services favors the rich and opportunistic, and drives people into unsustainable lifestyles, bereft of ownership.

        My warning to readers in my initial post, here, stands.

        __________________________________
        Gregg L. DesElms
        Napa, California USA
        gregg at greggdeselms dot com

    • Ariel Blasi

      It already started to charge a fee on Lucidpress!
      Basic $8/mo Pro $16/mo Team $40/mo