[Scribus] no rich text

Terry Hancock hancock
Wed Apr 21 17:16:23 CEST 2004

On Tuesday 20 April 2004 10:12 pm, bart at solozone.com wrote:
> My understanding is that rich text, so-called, is actually
> a moving target. Micro-Soft changes this whenever it
> wants. Some programs, I think abi, have rtf-- old style
> and rtf -current or some such idea. Word Perfect has
> several import filters which differ as to the actual
> format. I believe this is rather well known. Where is the
> official manual?

Microsoft was being somewhat arrogant co-opting the generic 
term "rich text" for their "Rich Text Format"=RTF.  If I 
mean the latter, I always say "RTF" for this reason.

The original English meaning of the expression "rich text" 
is text containing common typographical conventions: bold, 
underline, italic and different sized fonts.  HTML, TeX, 
Word DOC, Word Perfect WPD, Abi Word ABW etc files can all 
be considered "rich text" formats.  This is typographers'
jargon, not Microsoft's trademark.

I was laboring under the impression that Scribus would only 
allow you the most primitive form of this by allowing 
paragraph styles to be set, but not words or characters. If 
this were indeed true, it would've been seriously 

This impression was false, I now realize, although it may be 
significant that the "paragraph styles" feature creates a 
red-herring for the new user:  Scribus (1.2cvs - 2004-3/17) 
creates the impression to the new user that "Styles" are 
THE way to control text properties.  Had they not been 
there, I'm sure I would've poked around until I found the 
"Edit Contents of Frame" feature.  But since I thought I 
had found the way to edit text properties, I hit a 

It's not incredibly obvious -- the "Edit Contents of Frame" 
tool won't work until you have the frame selected, and when 
the frame is selected, the "Show Properties" dialog affects 
the whole frame.  So the only way to get there is:

1) Select the text frame with the "Select Items" tool.
2) Right click and select "Show Properties...".
3) Switch to the "Edit Contents of Frame" tool.
4) *NOW* selecting text is possible and the show properties 
dialog will affect ONLY that text.

If you instead go straight to Show Properties, you affect 
all of the text.  The "Select Items" tool won't allow you 
to select the text, so you have the expectation that it's 
not possible to do that.

Furthermore, when the purpose of the dialog changes from 
"whole text frame" to "selected text only", there is NO 
CHANGE in the dialog box to draw your eye to this.  This 
creates the impression that the dialog will do exactly the 
same thing it did before, even though the semantics are 
different as a result of changing tools.

(i.e. make it more obvious to the new user)

I'm not sure, but one simple idea is to make the dialog box 
title more descriptive. Instead of a single "Properties", 
it could say "Frame Properties" and then switch to 
"Selected Text Properties".  When this changes, the 
movement will catch the user's eye to indicate that a 
change has happened.  (I'm pretty confident that the user 
will try switching tools -- but if nothing happens on 
screen, the user will expect nothing to have changed about 
the way the dialog box works).

Another way to deal with it is to have a quick start 
tutorial that shows some of these features. I have read 
some (not all, I admit) of the online documentation. It is 
organized "by menu" as a *reference*, not "by task" as a 
*tutorial* (or a "How-To").  When I'm a little more 
familiar with the program, I might be able to write such a 

[Oh and BTW, I joined the list, so no need to CC me, as
someone did earlier]


Terry Hancock ( hancock at anansispaceworks.com )
Anansi Spaceworks  http://www.anansispaceworks.com

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