[Scribus] Setting a thesis in Scribus (ver. dev)

Nik scribus
Wed Jul 12 04:03:08 CEST 2006

Hi Marek,

I don't actually agree with a previous post that Scribus is not the 
appropriate tool for you.

I use Scribus for typical DTP tasks such as newsletters, etc, as well as 
more document-oriented tasks such as white papers and business plans, 
and find scribus both powerful and easy to use for these tasks.

One point: the 1.3.x versions of Scribus are development, and hence 
probably less stable than you might want. The most recent 1.2 version is 
currently a better choice for 'production' work. I currently use 
for all my regular work, and use 1.3.x occasionally for specific 
printing tasks (eg, greyscale PDF production). You might find you are 
happier using 1.2.4.x for the moment, until the current development 
(1.3.x) has been stabilised into a release (which will then be called 

Basic workflow: Scribus, as with most DTP products, focuses on the 
layout of the content, not with the creation of the content itself. The 
recommended approach, and certainly the one that works best for me, is 
to create the content with some editor - I use OpenOffice, but you can 
also use any text editor to create pure text as well. To give you the 
best flexibility, break the text of your thesis into multiple documents, 
so you have a separate document for each section or chapter. Keep 
anything which isn't part of the main text flow separate, if possible. 
Hence, all diagrams, pictures *and* tables should be stored in separate, 
individual files/documents. This gives you the best flexibility in 
placing the content in your final document.

You then use Scribus to 'assemble' the component content into a final 

As you have seen, scribus controls the document layout explicitly with 
frames, rather than implicitly with content-oriented formatting, such as 
anchors etc (such as found in many word processors). This is, in my 
opinion, scribus' biggest advantage over word processors.

So, to layout the text for one of the sections or chapters of your 
thesis, you would:

* create a text frame in scribus on the page where you want the section 
or chapter to begin;
* right-click in the text frame, and select 'get text';
* select the document which contains that content;
* if the content is too big to fit in a single frame (usually the case 
with chapters of a larger document), then go to the next page, create a 
text frame there, and then 'link' the previous frame with the new frame, 
and the text will automatically 'flow' from the first to the second frame.

**Note: It is best *not* to create links between different chapters. It 
is much better to keep each section or chapter independent - meaning 
that changes in the layout of one section or chapter don't flow over 
into following sections or chapters.

One of the major benefits of using OpenOffice as your content editor is 
that scribus can import text styles as it imports the text.

> So far, I'm getting acquainted with Scribus. It seems fit as far as I see  
> it, but I have a few questions regarding workflow:
> 2. It seems to support styles (defined from scratch). Does it support:
> a) creating table of contents based on headings (as in word processors);
> b) creating indices (regardless of what it is based on -- automatic,  
> manual, assisted);

I'm not sure what you are referring to here - are these indices such as 
created by numbered bullets? In which case, I believe the answer is 
'no'. In my experience, bullets are best handled by creating a specific 
'bullet-point' style in scribus. If I am importing from OpenOffice, I 
create bullet-point styles in my OpenOffice document, and avoid the 
bullet features completely. When I then import into scribus, the 
bullet-point styles are imported as well, and the bullets are 
automatically formatted as I want.

> c) anchoring images to paragraphs, keywords, etc.;

No, scribus positions everything by frames. In my experience, this is 
much more accurate and simple than content-based layout. (see note above 
regarding keeping chapters independent).)

> d) styles definitions such as 'begin on next page' (couldn't find such  
> setting, probably have to go with manual?)

No, just adjust the top and/or bottom limits of the frame to get the 
text aligned as you wish. Of course, each separate document (for each 
section or chapter) is easily started on a new page.

> f) live pagination (based on headings) and page numbering (within  
> sections).

No, with scribus you control pagination using frames. This means you 
don't have to remember to embed special things in the text to ensure 
correct formatting.

Scribus can generate page numbers. I don't believe you can easily 
re-start page numbering mid-document, so if you want to start each 
section with page 1, you would need to do page numbers manually, or have 
a separate document for each section, and then merge the result (eg, 
create PDF, and merge the PDFs).

> 3. It's very similar to Corel in regard to handling text frames. Working  
> with Corel's text frames is mostly manual labor, though. What about widow  
> and orphan control, for one? What about more advanced features (such as  
> controlling widows and orphans unless two lines of text are the only ones  
> on the page, in which case resort to tightening text in that and/or  
> preceding paragraph(s), for example)?

I do all this type of thing by simply adjusting the bottom edge of 
individual text frames. If there is a single line at the bottom of a 
frame, then raising the bottom edge of the frame will cause that line to 
flow into the next frame.

> Or would you rather advise me to prepare the body of the text in OOo,  
> export it to PDF and open in Scribus to make final adjustments?

I would certainly advise you to create your text in OpenOffice, but 
instead of exporting to PDF, I would import that text directly into 
scribus. And remember that the more you can separate your text into 
different documents, the more control you will have over the final layout.

> Sorry if I'm asking about basics, but I either couldn't find the functions  
> or couldn't get them to work properly.

No need to apologise. Everyone who is used to a word-processor finds the 
layout concepts of DTP such as scribus different. The best way to learn 
is to try, and to ask when things aren't clear. If you have't already 
tried it, you would probably find that the tutorial on scribus is a good 
way to get a handle on the new workflow.

Hope this helps.


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