Scribus screen dump.

Scribus is an open source program for professional page layout. It supports color separation including CMYK color handling and PDF creation




Can't handle large document

Scribus can't handle large documents. What is “large”? In our experience edit operations (inserting and deleting characters) were slow, taking a couple of seconds to finish when the document reached about 100 pages. In itself, this leads to problems with consistency, because I had to do changes to the template and text styles in several documents.

The solution is to divide the book into several pieces which are saved as PDF documents and later joined together.

We have successfully edited magazines of 40 pages with text and images in one document.

The solution is described in the layout tutorial.


Bullets and numbered lists are missing in Scribus. Bullets can be handled manually and is an coming feature.

Widow and orphan control

Functions for keeping paragraphs and lines together, keeping characters together and widow/orphan control are used to create good looking page breaks. They are missing in Scribus. It now has to be done manually using Ctrl+Return (Insert > Spaces & Breaks > Frame Break) and by adjusting the letter-spacing. As this is left this to manual adjustment it takes time. On the other hand automatic handling of this still has to be manually checked.

A manual solution is described in the layout tutorial.

Some of this functionality is on the way.

Selection across page borders

It's not possible to select text across page borders (only in the Story Editor). This leads to problems when applying character styles (like “title”) to text panning two pages. But also when adjusting the letter-spacing for handling widow/orphan control.

The solution is often to delete a linebreak between two previous paragraphs making the text jump up one line. Then, after performing the edit, reinserting the linebreak.

Tables are missing

Scribus has a primitive handling of tables: creating a grid of text boxes. For more complex tables, the Scribus wiki recommends the following method:

  1. Create your table in either LibreOffice Writer or Calc.
  2. Copy the table only (in other words, not the whole spreadsheet in Calc) to the clipboard, create a new LibreOffice Draw document, and paste from the clipboard.
  3. Export the selection to SVG.
  4. Open the SVG in Inkscape and save the selection in a EPS document. Note that the table might need some editing in Inkscape, e.g. adjusting rows or columns.
  5. Import the EPS document into Scribus. This can happen either by using File > Import or by creating an image frame and using Get Image from the context menu. The first option will allow you to edit the EPS document as a Scribus vector object.

Feature is on the way.

Drop-shadows are missing

The solution is to create the shadows in GIMP and importing the graphics into Scribus.

Footnotes are missing

Scribus doesn't handle footnotes. Feature is on the way.

ODT (LibreOffice) import doesn't work

There are several problems with the import of text from ODT documents.

The solution is to use copy-paste to insert text into Scribus text frames.

No way to edit clipping paths (or add an offset)

Scribus only reads clipping paths, but you can't edit them. If you are working with GIMP, I suggest exporting the clipping path as an SVG file and import the SVG into Scribus. You can then adjust the imported SVG to your liking and let text flow around it.

Pantone colors

If you need Pantone palettes, get them legally from demo versions of Indesign, Quark Express, CorelDraw etc and convert them using SwatchBooker.