How does Scribus work and what do you need to know to get started?

It takes approx. 3 minutes to read this article

Scribus is free software for typesetting documents such as newspapers, magazines, books or brochures. It is an ideal tool for individuals as well as for small and large publishers.

Developed by professionals in the printing and typography industry, Scribus offers a wide range of possibilities for professional typesetting and pre-press preparation. It can successfully replace paid products such as Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress.

Scribus – what possibilities does it offer?

Besides its modern and user-friendly interface Scribus supports all the features of professional publishing systems. The program is compatible with virtually all operating systems and different versions of Windows. Projects created in Scribus are fully print-ready. In addition, the program has many additional features to improve print quality. Let’s take a look at some of the most important ones.

Page Layout

Here you can use a number of preset templates for single, double and multi-page sheets taking into account different paper formats, enter your own data, enable right and left page splitting for publications, and create master pages applicable to multiple sheets at once.

Working with graphics

The program supports CMYK layout and allows you to work with vector graphics (Bézier curves, primitives, freehand drawing) and raster graphics (image insertion, scaling, basic editing and color correction). For fans of more advanced vector drawing, there is an option to import and export files to svg.

Working with text

This is the area where Scribus offers the most possibilities:

  • full Unicode support with all special characters, changed text direction and even Arabic ligature;
  • insert text blocks of various shapes, round off corners, rotate and transform;
  • combine individual blocks for smooth text transitions between them;
  • selection of fonts, kerning, spacing in all directions, custom font proportions;
  • create ready-made styles with all possible parameters and apply them with one click to selected parts of the text.

Getting started with the program

The first time you start the program, a new document setup window appears. They concern only the current project. By default, the general program settings are taken, which can be changed.

In the Document layout window you can choose the type of document, depending on what you want to create. If it is just a summary, the Single Page option is sufficient. If it is a multi-page document, you can choose from the options: Double Sided, 3-fold, 4-fold. The key word here is “fold”, which tells you how many times the page of your document will be folded.

You can also set the other parameters of your document in this window. In the Page Size section, you specify the dimensions of the page: sheet format (A1, A2, A3, A4); page orientation. When you make a selection, the width and height fields will automatically set the dimensions corresponding to the given format. In the Options section, you can set the units of measurement and the number of pages created (you can also change this later)

When you have set all the options, click OK. A new document will be created and you will see a control panel divided into four sections: File, Edit, Item, PDF Item.

Scribus is very intuitive and exploring all its features is a pleasure, even for first time DTP users. It is worth mentioning that the application is open source, which means that its code is fully customizable.

Main photo: MichaelGaida/

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