Bold / italic font issues

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This article is part of the Ongoing Discussions series.
Installation Usability MacOS Fonts Other

This page started more or less as a discussion of whether Scribus should support false (ie. automatically-generated) bold / italics where no proper bold / italic font is available. That discussion is now here.

There is an ongoing issue regarding the handling of bold / italics in Scribus. At the moment I'm really just using this as a scratchpad, I don't claim to have any well-developed solutions at the moment. For brevity I'm just going to talk about bold, but I think all the same issues apply to italics.


  • Bolding text is presently very fiddly. It involves selecting the bold version of the font from a drop down menu.
  • There is no concept of 'bolded text' in the document format, bold text is simply text in a font that happens to be bold. This means that if someone lays out an encyclopedia in Scribus and then decides to use a different font, s/he'll have to go throught the entire document re-bolding / italicising text using the fiddly procedure mentioned above.
  • Underline, strikethrough, sub/superscript, small caps, outline and reversed text are supported (through the CSTYLE attribute). This is presumably because these can be reliably auto-generated rather than requiring additional fonts. However to the end user this seems very arbitrary - after all bold and italics are used far more than any of those styles.


  • Avoid preflighting problems
  • Permit bolding using a keyboard shortcut
  • Have an abstracted bold designation somehow separated from the font information.

Solutions / more problems

  • Allow false bold. This causes preflighting problems and the devels are very reluctant to implement it. Let's forget about this for now.
  • Permit the user to designate another font as the bold version of the regular font, ie. user-defined font sets. This seems like something outside the scope of scribus really. Hm, maybe there should be a 'fontset' definition file supplied with fonts?
  • Use some kind of tabbed dialog in Edit Style that permits the user to select regular, bold, italic and bold/italic styles for the paragraph style. Hm, this would mean you could do cool things like define bold words as a different colour from regular ones. Initially the fonts could be guessed, with some kind of visual feedback of there's no suitable font, eg. tab is greyed or shown in red. Not sure how this solution would interact with 'free formatted' font changes in the text though.
  • Similar solution based on character styles (which are on the roadmap for 1.3.4). Judging from irc this morning this seems to be the way things are likely to go.

Random thoughts

I think that any solution is going to have to involve guessing the name of the appropriate font to use. I was wondering:

  • Do fonts ever come with an italic version and an oblique version? I just learned there's technically a difference between the two.
  • Do fonts ever come with regular, bold and extrabold versions? If so I guess the bold one would be the right one to choose.

Some weights are:

  • Demi Bold
  • Extra Black
  • Extra Bold
  • Extra Heavy
  • Extra Light
  • Semi Bold
  • Black
  • Bold
  • Book
  • Demi
  • Heavy
  • Light
  • Lite
  • Medium
  • Regular
  • Roman

Some slants are:

  • Italic
  • Oblique

Some widths are:

  • Extra Condensed
  • Semi Condensed
  • Ultra Condensed
  • Extra Compressed
  • Semi Compressed
  • Ultra Compressed
  • Condensed
  • Compressed

--Cbradney 11:55, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)