Template construction

Tool: 

Our goal

We want to create pages with the following look (styles and terms are superimposed in red color):

The completed page in Scribus.

Installing fonts

The layout is going to use the DejaVu font family, distributed under a free license. Download the fonts (use "TrueType fonts packed as zip archive") and install them by:

  • Extract the ZIP archive (right-click the downloaded file and select Extract Here from the menu).
  • The archive extracts into a folder. Enter the "ttf" directory in this folder.
  • Double-click each font-file in turn to show it and click the Install font button.

Read more about other ways of installing fonts in Ubuntu.

Template measurements

Our book is going to be pocket sized (5x8 inches, 13x20 centimeters).

The original example was a book published by the Blurb print-on-demand service. They have a book-size calculator which gives the values for the Scribus setup.

No printing press (or printer) prints all the way to the edge of the paper. If you want images and color blocks to extend all the way to the edge of the paper, the solution is to use a sheet of paper larger than the final result, print beoynd the margins, and then cut down the paper to the final size. The distance printed outside the final edge is called "bleed".

Figure explaining what bleed is.

Standard value for "bleed" is often 5 mm but Blurb want 3,17 mm's.

Scribus setup

Start up Scribus and create a new document (File > New):

  • Document layout: Double sided
  • Size: Custom
  • Orientation: Portrait
  • Width: 127mm
  • Height: 203,21mm
  • First page is: Right page
  • Number of pages: 1
  • Default unit: Millimeters
  • Automatic text frames: Unchecked
  • Show document settings after creation: Unchecked
  • Margin guides:
    • Inside: 18 mm
    • Outside: 12 mm
    • Top: 15 mm
    • Bottom: 14 mm
  • Bleeds: 3,17 mm

The "New Document" Scribus dialog.

The "New Document" Scribus dialog.

The next step is to set up Scribus for this project (File > Document setup):

  • Hyphenator tab
    • Language: English (or whatever language you work in)
  • Fonts tab
    • DejaVu fonts: make sure Subset is unchecked (this step is necessary to be able to embed the fonts into the final PDF; note that “subset” in Scribus case really means outlining and we don't want that).

The Document Setup > Fonts tab.

The Document Setup > Fonts tab. Make sure that Subset is unchecked.

Master pages

To keep the look of the pages consistent, Scribus has a template function called “Master pages”. All elements (text, images, guide lines) placed on these pages appear on all the pages that use them. They are therefore useful for guidelines (which wont print), page numbers, headers and footers (which will print).

Select Edit > Master Pages and the Edit Master Pages dialog appears. Click "Normal Left". The Scribus main window now shows the master page for a left page.

Select Page > Manage guides. A Guide Manager window appears. Click the Single tab. We want to insert one vertical guide (lines that won't print but will aid us when positioning elements on the page) so click the Add button and enter the following value: 6.35 mm. Added two horizontal guides (for the page header and the line number) at 6.35 mm and  196.86 mm.

The Guide Manager window.

The Guide Manager window.

Check Lock guides so you won't accidentaly move them and clos the Guide Manager window.

Repeat the procedure for "Normal Right". Select Page > Manage guides and click the Single tab. Click Add and enter the following values: 120.65 mm (127 - 6.35 mm). Finally add the two horizontal guides (for the page header and the line number) at 6.35 mm and  196.86 mm.

Check Lock guides and clos the Guide Manager window.

Close the Edit Master Pages window.

Baseline grid

The baseline grid is a set of horizontal lines, one for each text line, that is used to align the body text. Chose File > Document setup, click on the Guides icon and enter the following values:

  • Show baseline grid: Checked
  • Baseline grid: 12 pt (the same as the linespacing of the Text body paragraph style which we will soon define)
  • Baseline Offset: 15 mm (the same as the top margin of the template, makes sure that the baseline is relative to the area where the text will go)

Click the OK button to close the Document setup.

Check the menu items Page > Snap to guides and View > Show Baseline Grid.

Styles

Styles can be of two kinds: paragraph styles and character styles. A paragraph is all text entered before the user presses the Enter key and a paragraph style applies to all the characters. A character style on the other hand, can be applied to as few as a single character (but is normally used for one or a few words).

Use the following paragraph styles:

  • Heading 2
  • date
  • Text body: first line is indented
  • Text body - first paragraph: first paragraph of body text
  • quote: for quoted paragraphs, first line is indented.
  • quote - first paragraph: first paragraph of quote (not indented)
  • list: for lists of items that are several lines long. One blank line between/before each
  • header: page header (ie title of book)
  • footer: page footer (ie page number)

Character styles:

  • title: Use the title style for titles.
  • title in quote: Use the title style for titles mentioned in quotes.

Bring up the Style Manager (Edit > Styles).

Styles are defined based on each other in a hierarchy. Start by defining the default character style:

Click "Default character style" and click the Edit>> button. Enter the following values: DejaVu Serif, Condensed, 10 pt, Language: English.

Click the <<Done button.

Defining the default character style in the Style Manager.

Defining the default character style in the Style Manager.

Define the "Default paragraph style" (click "Default paragraph style" and click the Edit>> button):

Click the Character style tab and select "Default character style" for the Based on value.

Click the Properties tab.

Below Distances and linespace select Align to baseline grid (Line Spacing Mode). Keep all other default values.

Click the <<Done button.

Defining the default paragraph style in the Style Manager.

Defining the default paragraph style in the Style Manager.

Now define the other paragraph styles based on the following:

  • Text body: Based on: Default Paragraph Style, Alignment: Left justify (fourth icon), First Line Indent: 12 pt (same as the line space).
  • Text body - first paragraph: Based on: Text body, First Line Indent: 0 pt, Space before: 12 pt.
  • Heading 2: Based on: Text body, Space before: 24 pt, Align: Left. Character style: Based on: Default character style, Family: DejaVu Sans, Style: Condensed Bold, Font size: 12 pt.
  • date: Based on: Text body, First Line Indent: 0 pt, Align: Left. Character style: Based on: Condensed italic.
  • header: Based on: Default Paragraph Style, Distances and Alignment: Fixed Linespacing, 12pt, Align: Left. Character style: Based on Default character style, DejaVu Sans, Book, All caps.
  • footer: Based on: Default paragraph style, Distances and Alignment: Fixed Linespacing, 12pt, Align: Center. Character style: Based on: Default character style, DejaVu Sans, Book.
  • quote: Based on: Text body, Align: Left, First line indent: 12 pt. Character style: Condensed Italic.
  • quote - first paragraph: Based on: quote, First line indent: 0 pt.
  • list: Based on: Text body, Align: Left , Left indent + Right indent + Space before: 12 pt.

And the character styles:

  • title: Based on: Default Character Style, Family: DejaVu Serif, Style: Condensed Italic.
  • title in quotes: Based on: Default character style, Style: Condensed.

Close the Style Manager (by clicking the X in the upper left).

Headers and footers

Select Edit > Master Pages. Click "Normal Left" to edit the left master (template page).

Press the F2 key (or select Windows > Properties) to bring up the Properties window (palette). This is very you change positions, line weights, fonts, styles etc.

Press the T key (or click the Insert Image Frame icon in the toolbar or select Insert > Insert Image Frame). Click and drag somewhere on the page to position and change size of a new text frame.

Press the E key (or click the "A" icon in the toolbar) to "enter" the text frame and start entering (and editing) text. Type the text (header) “The Elvis Today Blog Volume 2”.

Select the text, and in the Properties window click Text and Style Settings. Select "header" from the popup. This will apply the "header" paragraph style to the selected text.

Click outside of the text frame to "exit" the text frame and stop entering text.

Entering a header.

Press the C key or click the arrow icon in the toolbar to manipulate the text frame.

Click and drag the text frame to move it. Position it in the upper left corner.

For automatic page numbers in the footer area, create a text frame and use Insert > Character > Page Number. Apply the "footer" paragraph style and align the frame to the guide line.

Do the same thing for the "Normal right" page. As the "header" paragraph style is left aligned, you have to click the "right align" button in the Properties window when the text is selected.

Close the Edit Master Pages window.

Read more about working with text in Scribus.

Save the template

Save the document as “elvistoday_vol2_pages.sla”. This is going to be the template.

Scribus also has a system for document templates but for these tutorials we will not use it.