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This chapter is from the book

Desktop Publishing with Scribus

  • Package name: scribus
  • Windows equivalents: Adobe InDesign, Scribus

For more powerful document creation than LibreOffice can allow, Scribus is just the ticket. A desktop publishing application, Scribus is built for designing and laying out documents of various sizes and sorts. As such, it makes a few different assumptions that might catch you up if you are used to using LibreOffice to create your documents.

When you first launch Scribus, it asks you what kind of document you want to create or if you want to open an existing document. Let's create a one-page document and take Scribus for a spin (Figure 6-13).


Figure 6-13 Scribus's opening dialog with lots of options

The first thing to remember about Scribus is that as a desktop publishing program, it is not designed for the direct editing of images and text. You edit and create your images in applications like GIMP or Inkscape and your text in word processors like LibreOffice and then import them.

For starters, let's create a pair of text frames and then import the document Welcome_to_Ubuntu.odt from Example Content. To create a text frame, you need to use the Insert Text Frame tool, which can be found near the middle of the toolbar. After you draw the text frame, you need to add text to it. Right-click on the frame and choose Get Text. A dialog very similar to the Open dialog appears. Choose the Welcome_to_Ubuntu.odt file, and then select OK. You will be asked a few options; for now, accept the defaults. You should see the text appear on the screen (Figure 6-14).


Figure 6-14 The imported text in a frame

But as you can see, the text overflows the frame. In order for the rest of the text to show up, you need to create another text frame and then link the two, allowing the overflow to appear in the second frame. Go up to the toolbar again, select the Insert Text Frame, and draw another frame roughly on the bottom of the page. Then select the first frame and choose the Link Text Frames icon on the toolbar, which looks like two columns with an arrow between them. After you have selected that, click on the second text box and you should see an arrow appear and, more importantly, your text will now flow from one frame to the next (Figure 6-15).


Figure 6-15 Text now flows from frame to frame.

Next let's insert an image at the bottom of the screen. As with text, you need to create an image frame, then add the image to that frame. Draw the image frame below the two text frames, and then right-click and choose Get Image. Just as with the text import, choose your file, this time an image file, in the Open dialog, and it will appear in the frame. Let's choose the Ubuntu logo, under the Logo folder in Example Content. It will appear in your image frame (Figure 6-16).


Figure 6-16 Your document with an image added

Now that you have added some text and an image, let's export to PDF so you can share your creation with the world. On the toolbar near the left-hand edge, you will see the PDF logo, just to the left of the traffic light icon. Select that, and don't worry about the error about the DPI of the image. Select Ignore Errors, and you will see a large dialog with many options for embedding fonts and the like. Don't worry too much about them right now, as the document you have created isn't that complicated. Choose a good name for your document, and then save it to your Documents folder. Now let's take a look at your creation in the Document Viewer. Open the File Manager and load your new document (Figure 6-17).


Figure 6-17 Your document as a PDF

Now let's go back to Scribus and save the image in Scribus's own SLA format so that you can edit it later if you wish. Enter the name you chose for the PDF name and save it in the Documents folder as well. You have now created your first document in Scribus. There is a lot more to explore, so go and try things out. Just remember to save every now and again.

Further Resources

As always, Scribus's own help is a great place to start. The Scribus Web site at www.scribus.net has a help wiki, further documentation, and more. There is also an official book, which isn't out as of this writing but should be very shortly. Information about it can also be found on the Scribus Web site.

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