[scribus] Typesetting of mathematical formula in Scribus

john Culleton John at wexfordpress.com
Sat Nov 16 20:08:15 UTC 2013

On Sat, 16 Nov 2013 23:56:20 +0900
Hans Schmidt <z0idberg at gmx.de> wrote:

> Am 15.11.2013 22:12, schrieb john Culleton:
> > The question is, how does Scribus support the
> > typesetting of mathematical formula. The
> > render icon (looks like a gear wheel) will
> > allow you to create a frame that can be used
> > to access LaTeX.
> I think this is just a workaround and not
> really suited for a good typesetting software.
> I hope that at some point Scribus might support
> native formulas.
> >
> > If you have lots of formulae you might
> > consider typesettng your document in TeX
> > instead. Your choices are pdftlatex (most
> > popular), pdftex (simplest) Context (my
> > choice for nonfiction) and luatex or lualatex
> > (with Context allows widest range of fonts.)
> But the problem is that Latex is, well, not
> really the same as a DTP software. It is good
> if you are writing strictly linear texts
> without any design, but if you want to design
> magazines or some visually more appealing
> books, it is not really suited. Also, imho, Tex
> has some design flaws dating back 30 years and
> is just not modern anymore (especially unicode,
> multilingual support, graphics etc; needing
> packages for almost anything beyond basic
> typesetting).
> Therefore I strongly hope that Scribus will at
> some point in the future be a good alternative
> to Latex for scientific documents, meaning
> writing long documents with mathematical
> formulas. I can imagine that Scribus would also
> offer some markup language like Tex, which can
> then be compiled using the Scribus engine or be
> imported in a Scribus document and doing some
> manual corrections afterwards. For example,
> setting the page settings in the file header
> (where are text frames, where should the page
> numbering go etc), writing the text in
> Latex/html similar style for showing
> paragraphs, font formatting, including
> mathematical formulas, defining picture and
> tabular environments etc. Afterwards, load this
> into Scribus and the page will be set up
> automatically. Similarly, Scribus could offer a
> dual view with source code and preview, showing
> the texts in the source code in a live view.
> Some often used things could be implemented
> with Python scripts or some easier script
> language, therefore offer the same
> functionality as Latex packages do (Although
> Scribus should try to implement as much core
> functunality in Scribus as possible).
> This could then be much more simpler and
> cleaner than Latex Code, but more suited for
> people who want to write in this fashion and
> not in WYSIWYG style.

Note that I prefer either pdftex or Context to
pdflatex. IMO LaTeX gives TeX a bad name, or a
bad taste, for many users. But the Memoir class
of LaTeX is superb for academic works and is
superbly documented. I have used it for
a couple of academic typesetting assignments
with footnotes, epigraphs, indexing etc.

Although the various versions of TeX are not as
handy for creating magazines or coffee table
books compared to Scribus I think you
underestimate the ability of e.g., Context to
format pages. Specifically Context MKIV uses
Unicode as a default and  multilingual support
including right to left languages is available.
The handling of graphics, while not nearly as
handy as Scribus, is available. There are TeX
user groups all over the globe including China. 

The editor texworks comes with the texlive 2013
distribution and allows one to key text and
commands in the left panel, and then with a
click to view the output pdf in the right panel.
This is not true WYSIWYG but it is handier than it
used to be. You suggest something similar for
Scribus. It exists for TeX already.

For getting the flavor of today's TeX
(i.e. Context) I suggest this site:


Some of the general magazines in particular will
show the range of Context. 

The pdf e-book referenced below was done a few
years back in pdftex. I will do its replacement
in Scribus, but I don't expect my work to proceed
as quickly as before. 

John Culleton
Wexford Press
Free list of books for self-publishers:
PDF e-book: "Create Book Covers with Scribus"
available at

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