[Scribus] Scribus Tips- PDF Embed, Opentype, SC/OSF, FontForge

Tom Gleason theorysavage
Tue Feb 6 23:01:21 CET 2007

A lot of online magazines are apparently having trouble with Scribus's lack of embedding options for OpenType. If you have to outline the font, it becomes kind of worthless for onscreen viewing.

In addition, some people have expressed the desire to use Smallcaps and OldStyle Figures in an easier way than choosing them from the palette.

Until these features become available in Scribus, and I assume that they still aren't, there are a couple ways to workaround them using FontForge, (which is like an opensource Fontographer with OpenType support): You could use any font editor, sure, but I just wanted to point out FontForge, since it is free and opensource.

I assume you own, as you need to have if you are going to do any good typography, one or two full featured fonts that you know how to use well. If you don't know how to use a full-featured typeface, please read Robert Bringhurst's The Elements of Typographic Style, and you will understand what it's all about. 

-If you have to do a lot of SC titling or if there are a lot of words made of caps in your text, and would rather type or import and then simply choose "smallcaps" rather than choose individual glyphs, you can make a new font (for example. SabonSCoF), which includes small caps and oldstyle figures. Don't use fake small caps if you have real ones; it won't look good. 

-You might also want to paste the old style figures into where the "aligning" figures are in the original font file, and generate a new file. Old Style figures are the numbers that go above and below the baseline, which should be used in text, much more often than the lining figures, which should be used in charts or . You could also use that opportunity to switch to typographer's quotes instead of inches, because I don't think Scribus has auto typographers' quotes, and you might want to type " instead of choosing glyphs. 

-Ligatures can be Search/Replaced, but if you're not doing ragged right, you may want to double check hyphenation.

-Finally, Online Magazines depend on NOT having their type outlined, which renders poorly in most viewers and is also not efficient when Acrobat Reader has to do a lot of smoothing for you. FontForge can be used to convert your Opentype fonts into embeddable TTFs. You may lose some of the extended character set in doing this, but you will have everything you need and you will have your small caps in a separate file, where you could put other glyphs you need as well. Just make sure to get rid of all the traces of OpenType, because otherwise Scribus will still think it is OpenType and refuse to embed it.

If some professional designer/typographer has any problems with these solutions, if there is some unseen problem with these workarounds, please inform me. I know it involves creating some screwy font files, but I think it should work, nevertheless. 

It's not like the font files need to be kept pure for anyone but you and your job; nobody is allowed to take them anyway, usually. I don't know of any good full featured fonts that are open. Maybe we should make some.

Otherwise, at the moment it seems to be solving a lot of my problems in trying to make full use of my .otf Sabon with Scribus in PCLinuxOS. I'm challenging myself to work in Linux, not really because I dislike Adobe or even Windows, but because its a great way to learn.

Tom Gleason

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