[Scribus] typographical suggestions

John Christian Stoddart jstypo
Thu Nov 13 18:01:37 CET 2003


First and foremost, I'd like to say that I'm thrilled with the existence
of the scribus project and would like to sincerely thank those making
such a worthwhile endeavour possible.

I have been lurking this list for a while now, as well as checking up on
the contents of the wish list, while experimenting with ever more
complex tasks with scribus (now at version 1.1.2, running in fluxbox
under gentoo linux).

Since I am a typographer by training I thought it might not be untoward 
that I make some suggestions:

Regarding typography and white space:

How are ligatures handled in scribus? Is there auto ligature
substitution? This might be able to be incorporated into a preference
window somewhere and proves useful when using expert fonts.

How are the en and em rule handled? Can I specify them in the text file
(a la TeX)?

Not only is fixed width white space required (thin=punctuation, figure
space=lining numeral width, en=half body width, em=width of body) but a
toggle mechanism to view/not view these and other non-printing
characters, such as word spaces, tabs. Scribus already has a
non-breaking space, which is a good start.

Regarding editing:

It's almost standard, in just about every modern editing or layout
program to be able to select text using the shift-arrows paradigm.
Unfortunately, this doesn't work in scribus.

Of course, search and replace is a lifesaver. Instructions to be able to
do this with python would be highly appreciated.

A suggestion is made in the wish list regarding double, triple and quad
clicking. Perhaps it might be preferable to double click to select a
word, triple click for a line and quad click for a para.

The cursor does not move naturally. When going downwards through text it
shoots off to the end of the line and then as you continue to go down,
jumps past short lines as if they were not there.

Screen refresh seems slow and unresponsive, even on my relatively fast
machine. When arriving at the bottom of the screen, instead of scrolling
downwards automatically, the cursor disappears and reappears only when
scrolling down manually.

Having no undo makes one feel that one is living really close to the

The insert special character box produces barely viewable characters on
my screen, making it close to useless. Could this be made resizeable and
the size of the display characters as well? Unfortunately for me, the
characters also show up as white boxes, despite the font actually having
the character selected.

Regarding sub and superscripts:

Although being far from ideal, it's necessary to have access to
character *width* values, in addition to body size in the Preferences
dialogue box.

Regarding the Properties box:

Under the text "tab", it is preferable to give the user a choice between
absolute and relative units and to properly differentiate between set
(general white space reduction in absolute or relative units) and
kerning (selective reduction).

The ability to create and use styles could be greatly enhanced by
providing a "character" style (a la quark), where only the typographic
attributes are modified.

Regarding tools in general:

A panning tool (or hot key combination, or both!) is indispensable for
dynamic interaction and a relocatable point of origin is of paramount

Sorry to overwhelm you with this long post. These are the first thoughts
I have gathered while using scribus. Once again, thanks for the valuable
efforts you are dedicating to this program.

Best regards,

John Christian Stoddart
Caracas, Venezuela

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