[Scribus] How to place text in a box

Chris Bergstresser chris
Mon Mar 24 19:50:08 CET 2008

On Mon, Mar 24, 2008 at 8:48 AM, Gregory Pittman <gpittman at iglou.com> wrote:
>  I presume what you are wanting to do is something like wikis do with
>  code, printing a dotted line box around one or more lines.

   More or less.

>  Set up a style for the font you wish to use for your code, with
>  indentation to set it apart from the rest of the text ... What you
>  will lack with this method are the vertical bars to left and right.
>  I think for a printed output you will find that less is more -- you
>  don't see many computer programming books using these boxes or shading
>  of code text, and I think it's because it takes away from legibility
>  with distracting, non-information page elements.

   Yeah, I thought of this (although I wasn't aware of the inline
graphics, and I kind of doubt there's the appropriate hooks to access
it from the scripting interface--I was thinking of creating a dingbat
font with decorative lines, to make the spacers between paragraphs).
   But, frankly, I need the vertical lines more than the horizontal
ones.  I've avoided explaining the real problem because it's rather
obscure and complicated, but here it is:

   I'm leading a development effort to create a campaign setting and
series of modules for a role-playing game.  People are submitting
content in text files marked up with some rudimentary markup tags for
headers and italics, which are then processed using Python scripts
I've written to do some basic processing (replacing straight quotes
with curly quotes, etc.) and then import the result into Scribus, or
spit out HTML.
   All told, there are going to be somewhere between 500-1000 pages
produced.  Possibly more.  And this being a community-driven project,
each of those pages is likely to get produced several times before it
gets proofed and finalized--and even afterwards, there's likely to be
a second and third version created, as errors get errata'd.  Suffice
to say, the amount of individual attention each page requires has to
be minimal.
   Now, if you're writing a module for a role-playing game, one of the
standard conventions is "box text"--the stuff whoever runs the game is
supposed to read out loud, verbatim, to the players.  One of the great
problems with box text is how to describe a room that has a monster in
it; if you kick down a door and see a slavering werewolf, you're
probably not going to take the time to notice the velvet drapes and
gold filigree lining the walls.  On the other hand, if the floor is
slick with oil and there's a raging fire that's threatening to get out
of hand, you'd probably want to know that before you charge into the
   Our "breakthrough" is to have two *different* sets of box text for
each room--one if you just get a quick glance before the werewolf
tries to bite your face off, and one after you kill the werewolf and
get time to notice the furniture.
    To make things even worse, you can't expect people to explore the
house in the same order.  Some people will go through the front door,
others will break in through a back window.  Some people turn right,
while others turn left.  If you're running a game, you're going to be
flipping back and forth between the map and the room descriptions, and
reading these things completely out of order.
   So: I need something that people can *very quickly* locate and
*very quickly* distinguish from the other thing that looks a lot like
it nearby.  The reason I'd like the ability to create a text header
for the frame isn't to put a title; it's so I can create a font with
an icon to show which is the one to read if you're moving quickly, and
which is the one to read if you're taking your time.  And I really
need people to be able to tell how long each section is at a glance,
as well as clearly separate the two sections of box text from each
   I've been playing around with a couple graphical mockups, and no
matter how I screw around with the margins and the fonts, I can't get
the clear separation I want without some kind of vertical marker at a
minimum.  A box really *does* work best for what I need, as far as I
can tell.

   In short, this isn't just something I thought would be kind of neat
and decided to bug the list about.  I actually do kind of know what
I'm doing, in this case.

-- Chris

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