[Scribus] How to place text in a box

Gregory Pittman gpittman
Mon Mar 24 21:12:28 CET 2008

Chris Bergstresser wrote:
>    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
> room.
>    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
> other.
>    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.
Suffice it to say that Scribus at the moment doesn't work in a way that 
naturally lends itself to this kind of layout. All the same, it's an 
intriguing problem to me. I might see what the boundaries are for 
features in text filters. A script reading a text file might have some 
possibilities. 500-1000 pages is a challenge all by itself, which 
hopefully could be carved down to manageable chunks.


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