[Scribus] The layout of books or large documents with Scribus

Axel Bojer axelb
Fri Jan 12 00:28:52 CET 2007


I am currently struggeling with a book theh I am trying to set up nicely 
with Scribus. After having made the switch to Scribus for Broschures and 
  a magazine I am now experiencing all kinds of drawbacks with the book 
I am working on. In the hope of getting some good tips I am now making 
this summary. Perhaps it could be used in the online manual or as a 
separate tip page, I have not seen one that goes in depth about this. At 
least it would be welcomed if users experiencing--or working--with other 
big documents in Scribus could share their experiences.

I am aware of some bug reports (of wich I can not remember the numbers) 
that adresses some of, or all, the problems I am mentioning.

0. Before I start my summary of what works and what not:
I am using Scribus built from sources on Kubuntu edgy.
Machine: AMD Sempron(tm) Processor 2800+, 2 GB RAM.
My book has approximately 140--150 pages (A5), distributed over linked 
frames, one at each page (except for the first four starter pages).

1. Big documents are said to be a problem, and I see this is true, 
although is has certainly improved since (or something like 
that). I can now scroll my text in the story editor quite normally, I am 
  also able to scroll through my pages in the viewing mode quite 
normally as well as resizing the pages pretty fast -- these three things 
were very slow earlier, so thank you :-)

2. Specific problems:
a) Copying and pasting within the story editor takes forever, even if it 
is only onecharacter, but, strange enough, writing or getting the same 
sign from the "Insert -- Glyph" takes forever, I have not bothered 
waiting long enough (More than 20 min. I think) to see if this is just a 
delay or a crash. If this is not formerly reported I could try to check 
it out.
b) Opening the document takes about 10 minutes or more, opening the 
story editor about the same amount of time, but a single text frame of 
just one page opens instantly. That means it could be solved if the 
document can be separate into *smaller* chained frames. Probably this 
would not make the document open faster, would it? Opening the documnt 
is not that big an issue, I probably only need to do this once a day 
anyway, but:
c) Since I can not have more than *one* story editor window open at the 
same time I have to close the opened one to edit another. That makes me 
have to wait (and makes me think it perhaps is not so bad an idea to 
have it all in the same linked frames--since this leaves me fewer 
d) Swithing the style of more than one (small) paragraph may take 
several minutes. Since I have to make many changes in such a big 
document this is really a drawback. In a smaller document with fewer 
paragraphs linked in one this is insignificant, so for this to be solved 
I could have cut my text into many independently linked frame units. But 
this would give me other problems, se above.
e) It also takes a minute or so to go from one frame to another (in 
*editing* mode), so this is not a particulary efficient way of working, 
except that I then am able to see what it all looks like and spot things 
I may have overseen.

2. Possible solutions
a) Make many small documents, Subdiveded in chapters for instance.
* Advantage: Fast
* Disadvantage: More work, for instance the same style could be 
inconsistent across different parts of the document.
I also don't know if my printer would accept not one pdf file but three 
or four.
* Suggestion: Could it be possible to make a main document, like OOo 
does, and then through the use of sub documents keep the same style 
across them all, load and work faster etc.?? Also then the printer 
wopuld probably want the main doucument to be exported as one single 
pdf-file afterwards, just a thought :-)
b) Make smaller chains of frames (se above)
c) Make just one big chain with all the text in it (se above)

As I see it all of these soulutions are suboptimal at the moment, unless 
I have overseen something, in wich case I would be glad to be told what 
I have missed :-)

Probably there is more to this, but it ought to be possible to work fast 
with big documents too, I hope. OOo can, Pagemaker can (at last faster), 
and I suppose others can too ... If this would be solved it would be a 
big leap forwards as far as I am concerned :-D

Best regards
Axel Bojer

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