[scribus] how does scribus do justification?

John Culleton john at wexfordpress.com
Thu Jan 28 18:36:36 CET 2010

On Tuesday 26 January 2010 21:22:43 EilertO at aol.com wrote:
> In a message dated 1/26/10 5:49:01 PM, john at wexfordpress.com writes:
> > TeX and InDesign justify a paragraph at a time instead of a line at a
> > time.
> > This is the best justification. The famous MSWord gap toothed look is
> > eliminated. TeX also optionally allows for tiny adjustment to letter
> > widths
> > which is much less noticeable than kerning.  TeX and InDesign also allow
> > for
> > optical alignment (also called hanging punctuation) where certain small
> > characters are allowed to protrude into the margin thus giving the
> > optical illusion of a more solid block of text.
> Hello, John,   thanks for the insights.
> I have been told that importing a Word doc into InDesign can be a pain,
> with great loss of formating, so although that option might be available
> somewhere, I am discouraged from doing it.
> One question:   If justification is on a paragraph by paragraph basis, how
> is it possible that all paragraphs share the same common right margin
> position?   In my simplistic way (read: uninformed) it sounds like each
> paragraph could have a different width???   This is probably not true, but
> help me!!!! ;-)
> Eilert

The width of the print block is set globally up front e.g:
\hsize 4.2 in

All paragraphs will be this width unless it is changed later on. The program 
gathers text until it reaches a paragraph break, usually \par or else just a 
blank line. Then this text is justified, with the last line ragged right of 
course, and the quality of the justification stored. 

The first pass on each paragraph is done without hyphenation. If the quality 
number is within tolerance it goes on to the next paragraph. If not it is 
rejustified using hyphenation. 

For each pass all spaces between words are considered and the arrangement that 
gives the lowest number of "demerits" is chosen. This is called paragraph at a 
time justification. 

Scribus, MSWord etc. only try to set one line at a time without regard to what 
goes on in previous or following lines in the paragraph. 

TeX is a very sophisticated typesetting system. For example there is one 
setting you can change which ensures that the last line of each paragraph is 
at least a certain length.  That way you can cover the indent of the next 

You can ask that very small letters, usually punctuation, can protrude into 
the margin a bit thus giving the illusion of a more perfect right and left 
edge. There are close to 1,000 commands in TeX or so I estimate.  But in 
general it operates OK from the default settings. 
John Culleton
"Create Book Covers with Scribus"
Printable E-book 38 pages $5.95

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