Advanced Drop Caps

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Initials are the first letter of a text which are bigger than the rest of the text. In old books, they are often colorful and artistic paintings. See Wikipedia for some nice examples.

Scribus has a built-in function to achieve this effect: in paragraph style, the option "Drop caps" creates a big letter in the front of a text:


The following method is alittle bit more flexible and allows some more effects:

  1. Create a textframe and load your text. Adjust the font, size etc. as they fit your needs.
  2. Delete the first letter of your text.
This article is part of the Tips & Tricks series.
Installation Usage PDF issues Other
  1. Create a new textframe (we call this frame "initial") and type the letter you have deleted in the other frame.
  2. Set the size of textframe "initial" to a high value. Remember,it just contains one letter!
  3. Change the textframe "initial" with "Item / Convert to" into outlines. If necessary, the initial's size can now be changed like a graphic
  4. In the properties dialog, on the "Shape"-tab, enable "Text Flows around Frame" and then "Use Bounding Box" on the initial frame.
  5. Now, just move the initial frame so, that it's position is in the upper left corner of the original textframe. The text in the frame will flow around it.


The standard version. The text is set in Linux Libertine, 12 pt. The initial uses the same font, but 50 pt.


A second initial after the first one, some color changes, and a shadow is ready


Filled with a color gradient


Last, but not least: the outlines can be converted to an image frame. See also How to fill a Scribus text with an image

(c) Thomas Zastrow, 2007 The content of this page is licenced under the Free Documentation Licence.