[Scribus] frantic noobie questions

Christoph Schäfer christoph-schaefer
Wed Aug 31 20:58:03 CEST 2005

Hi John,

first, let me adress one issue. From your posting I conclude that you 
try using Scribus 1.3.0 for real production purposes. I would recommend 
scribus or the soon-to-come 1.2.3. The developers say that 1.3.0 
is "quite" stable, but if you miss a deadline by using 1.3.0, don't 
blame scribus. is a stable and reliable version.

> 1. Margins.  What confuses me is that the margin setting seem to be
> used in two different paradigms: for some people, the margins are a
> "rule" -- defining a clipping region outside of which nothing is
> printed; for others, the margins are a guideline, and the clipping
> region is the edge of the page.  My inclination would be to use margin
> settings as guidelines for the main body of the material, so I will
> have a headline above the margins.  Is this purely a matter of taste,
> or are there serious traps lurking here?

Actually, there is a lot to say about margins, because it has to deal 
with print space, white space and other parts of a page - layout basics. 
I recommend a good book on typography or page layout. As an alternative, 
please read Niyam Bhushan's tutorial on scribus.org.uk. It was written 
for 1.1.6, but you still can learn a lot from it, including the use of 
margins and guides.

> 3. Tables.  I have lots of tables in which each row is just a single
> line of text entries.  The Scribus table support is not intuitively
> obvious to me, and I wish there were a mini-howto explaining all about
> it.  How do you format text so that it will be read into different
> array entries instead of the first box?  What happens if the desired
> table goes beyond a single page?  The table elements seem to be text
> boxes, so what happens if you want graphics?

The current implementation of tables is a bit clumsy, and it's a bit 
hard to work with them. If you want to create complex tables, I 
recommend the following approach which will get you excellent results:

1. Create a table in OO.o Calc or in Writer.

2. Create a new OO.o drawing. Select all rows and columns of your table 
you want to use in scribus.

3. Copy the selection to the clipboard and paste it into the drawing.

4. Export the selected table (not the whole file) from Draw to SVG.

5. Open the SVG in inkscape and export to EPS (OO.o can export to EPS, 
but there are problems with importing OO.o EPS files into scribus.

6. Import the EPS into scribus.

One thing to add: every single element of a table in scribus is a text 
frame by default. You can change it just as you can turn a text frame 
into an image frame.

> 4. Getting at a PageMaker file.  Even though I have not used
> PageMaker, a mini-howto on migrating from PageMaker to Scribus would
> be very helpful to me in knowing what to ask from my predecessor.
> What software exists that can read a PageMaker file -- for example, is
> there a gratis demo vesion or anything?

Even if PM, QXP or ID files could be imported, I wouldn't do it. Chances 
would be good, that something gets messed up, due to the complexity of 
these files. For converting projects from another programmes, the best 
way is to launch them and write down all important values (page size, 
margins, colours etc.). You can apply these values in scribus later.

> 5. Standardized items.  Let's see if I have this right.  The scrapbook
> is for saving content.

As Howard wrote, it's saving content for reuse in the current or other 

>  The styles are used within the story editor
> for local text formatting, 

Not exactly. Text styles are ideally used for document wide formatting 
(as in OO.o or LaTeX). It is really a convenience. If you only have 
short texts, you can apply formatting in the SE or by using menus.

> and it seems to be a matter of taste
> whether to use the story editor or something else such as the
> OpenOffice word processor -- like in programming with an integrated
> development environment, where using an external editor is reasonable.

I would never ever create long texts in a layout software. That's what 
word processors or text editors are for. Scribus has excellent import 
features for OO.o Writer, OASIS, HTML and plain text.

> Templates are for the structure of a single page or a whole document.
> So I left confused about how to store the structure of just part of a
> page.  

See Howard's reply and Niyam Bhushan's tutorial on this.

> For example, if I develop some table format that I would like
> to reuse, what should I do?

Styles cannot be applied to tables yet. You can, however, work with 
templates for tables in OO.o Calc and export the final table as 
described above.



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