[scribus] Text Column Styles

Nik Trevallyn-Jones scribus at babel.homelinux.net
Mon Jul 4 05:14:30 UTC 2011

Hi All,

It's been a while since I posted to the Scribus mailing list, and in 
that time I, and those to whom I recommend scribus, have been (very) 
happily Scribusing away :o)

One issue that I repeatedly come across is that of consistent frame size 
and position settings.

Whenever a new frame is created, a number of settings have to be 
manually set - and often to predetermined 'correct' values. It would be 
really helpful if this information could be entered once, and then 
easily reused by reference.

So I am wondering if there is a feature in Scribus already that I have 
simply missed, or should I be submitting a feature request?

As an example, for a newsletter project that I have been involved with, 
we have determined that for the A4 pages we use, most frames (and almost 
*all* text frames) should have widths in multiples of 65mm - which 
comprises 60mm for the text, and 5mm for the gap between the text and 
the left and right borders (ie, two 2.5mm gaps); and therefore 
multi-column frames should have the column gap set to 5mm.
And from this along with desired gaps to page edges, comes the 'correct' 
X-pos settings for most frames: 7.5mm, 72.5mm, or 137.5mm (this gives us 
a total gap of 10mm from page edge to left edge of the text).

Hence for any frame (text or image) a single-column frame should be 
65mm, a double-column frame should be 130mm, and a triple-column frame 
should be 195mm; and should have its X-pos set to one of 7.5mm, 72.5mm 
or 137.5mm.

I had the newsletter author trained to (mostly) set the frame widths and 
positions correctly, resulting in nicely consistent pages.
Now two new volunteers have come in to produce the newsletter, and I am 
finding it very difficult to get them to set the column properties in 
any way consistently.

Obviously what would be really useful is some feature that allows me to 
set this information into the newsletter template in some way, so the 
authors are relieved of having to:

a) remember to manually set the correct width and position of each new 
frame as they create it
b) remember what the actual settings should be:
     i) frame width;
     ii) text gap settings;
     iii) column gap setting for multi-column frames;
     iv) x-pos to be the 'correct' (and difficult-to-remember) value.

I have looked for something like 'Frame Style' or 'Column Style' and not 
found anything. I have also looked for a 'Default Page setup', and in 
'Document setup' but found nothing really that seems to help.

So far the only thing I *have* found is that I can set the default 
column gap in the 'Document Setup | Tools" tab.

I *could* also place a full-height, three-column text frame on all of 
the master pages, but while that would help with text columns, it would 
create almost as many new problems as it would solve.

So, have I missed some (newer) feature here?
I have most of my experience with the 1.3 series - is there something in 
1.4 or even 1.5 that I could use?

If there is nothing currently that helps, then what do people see as the 
'most appropriate' way to implement such a feature?

S1. Implement a new 'Column' style.
    * Multiple Column styles could be created using the style editor;
    * One of these styles could be designated as the 'default' - per 
document, per master page, or both;
    * The user can apply any Column style to any frame;
    * Settings would include width, x-pos, text gaps, column gap, etc.

S2. Implement a new 'Frame' style.
    * Multiple Frame styles could be created using the style editor;
    * One of these styles could be designated as the 'default' - per 
document, per master page, or both;
    * The user can apply any Frame style to any frame;
    * settings available in these would include most of the properties 
for a Frame;
       - including parameters that are specific to particular types of 
frame - ie a Frame style could have settings for both text frames and 
image frames.

S3. Implement a new 'Page Style'
    * Multiple Page styles could be created using the style editor;
    * One of these styles could be designated as the 'default' - per 
document, per master page, or both;
    * The user can apply any Page style to any page;
    * Settings would include layout information such as standard frame 
x-pos, width, as well as other page-oriented parameters.

S4. Add additional settings to the 'Document Setup' data.
    * The settings are only per-document.

 From the above, my preferred implementation is the Frame style - it is 
the most flexible and powerful, and is the best fit to scribus' current 
model (reusable settings for various things defined in 'styles').

The next best would probably be the Column style - it is basically a 
cut-down Frame style with just a subset of properties for basic width 
and positioning of any frame.

After that comes the Page style - this also fits well into Scribus' 
current model, but I'm not sure what other settings would be useful in a 
page style (over and above what would be in a Frame style).
In addition, a page style would seem to be too coarse a tool - how would 
one create a frame that did not comply with the page settings? For 
example, an image frame centred between two text frames.

Least appealing is the Document Setup option, since it can only set 
values per document.

Of course, a combination of more than one of the solutions could be 
implemented, with Frame style plus additional Document Setup parameters 
being a great option.

What do others think?

Thanks in advance for any and all responses,


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