[scribus] Rotated Text Frames

John Culleton john at wexfordpress.com
Sun Aug 7 14:51:22 UTC 2011

On Sunday, August 07, 2011 08:26:07 am Peter Nermander wrote:
> > Interestingly, Scribus has more features than MS Word, which is 
why I'm
> > using it.  For the type of documents I create, WYSIWYG is 
critical, so I
> > rarely use Story Editor except for tasks which are feasible, 
> > or possible directly in the frame.
> I'm a big fan of Scribus, but really, does it have more features 
than MS
> Word??
> I can list dozens of features that MS Word has but Scribus lacks.
> Automatic foot notes, indices and tables of contens (based on 
> relative positioning of objects, automatically calculated
> fields/references, you can get word to automatically use styles in 
> defined order (like you start with Heading, the next paragraph
> automatically becomes Subheading and the next Body_first and the
> folloing ones become Body) are some examples.
> /Peter
First, it should be noted that I have the latest versions of Scribus, 
TeX, Gimp, Inkscape and Libre (formerly Open Office) on my computer.

All free.

To get the equivalent using commercial software I would have to buy
Microsoft Office, Illustrator, possibly Quark Xpress, InDesign, and 
Distiller. I would also have to work with an inferior (IME) operating 
system, Microsoft Windows. That in turn means I would have to buy and 
update anti malware software. Updates to all these products cost 
money. Chances are I wouldn't own them all. 

You compare Scribus to MSWord. I suggest a better comparision is with 
Quark XPress. If I want to do a book length project with footnotes 
etc. I call on TeX. Scribus is aimed at a different market. For most 
book-length projects it is lacking in features and somewhat clumsy. 
But for cover design, and "coffee table" books it is unmatched. 

Some of your statements need correction. In Scribus you can place 
objects visually or else group them to ensure relative positions. And 
you can place guides or a grid exactly on the page. You can shape 
text to an object or insert it into an object. The list goes on. 

Book covers and color interiors should be done in the CMYK color 
model. MSWord doesn't offer that.

Scribus combines WYSIWYG and the ability to manipulate elements off 
the main page. I can draw a graphic frame, get an illo to occupy it, 
and either make the frame match the illo or the illo match the frame. 
Once I have done the quickie frame creation, I can adjust its exact 
dimensions and its location (and a dozen other parameters) by going 
to the properties menu. 

If I am preparing a cover for, say, LSI, I need to ensure that no 
color including rich black has an ink density more than 240%. This 
requires a special ICC profile. I have such a profile and use it all 
the time. For cover art or a color interior LSI demands that the pdf 
file be in the PDF X/1-a:2001 format. I have on my computer Scribus 
1.5.0 as well as the almost stable 1.4.0. I can design in 1.4.0 for 
safety's sake and then load the file into 1.5.0 and save it in the 
required format. With MSWord you have to buy another program, Acrobat 
Distiller, to render the pdf in X/1-a:2001 format.

MSWord alone cannot meet these mandatory requirements. I don't think 
it can use ICC profiles. It doesn't work in CMYK colors. 

I do not minimize the shortcomings of Scribus in book situations. For 
a book with footnotes etc. I use some form of TeX. TeX and InDesign 
are the only DTP programs that will automatically even margin justify 
an entire paragraph at a time, taking into account all the lines to 
come up with an optimum paragraph layout. TeX also offers 
microtypography which adjusts the width (not kerning but actual 
width) of glyphs to increase grayness and decrease hyphenation. TeX 
also produces very small pdf files relative to the word count of the 

As a professional typesetter and indexer I have never done a book-
length project in a word processor and I never will. 

TeX has an excellent indexing co-program called makeindex. I use it 
all the time for indexing. 

Scribus defines pages in advance, as does InDesign. MSWord paginates 
on the fly, and the same doc file will paginate differently on 
computers with different default settings or different versions of 

I don't expect Scribus to do everything. But for certain projects it 
is the quickest to use and produces the best end product. You see, I 
can choose any of a number of programs. I have them all. I pick the 
best tool for the job at hand. Open Source opens many doors. 
John Culleton

"Death Wore Black" Police procedural: http://www.deathworeblack.com/

"Create Book Covers with Scribus"
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