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Creating documents


You can manage the following issues:

  • Currently, Scribus isn't very good at handling documents that are longer than 30 pages. You should split your work into several Scribus documents, export each of them to PDF and then join them into a single PDF file, for example, with pdftk.
  • You can set the value for the first page number or change the page numbering scheme in a document (see: Pagination).
  • You can create text frames that are automatically linked/chained when you create a new document.

But not these:

  • You can't create a multi-level table of contents (TOC).
  • You can't automatically create a table of contents over several files.
  • You shouldn't make long chains of text frames, as this will slow down Scribus significantly.
  • Index and footnotes aren't available, yet.


Create a file of the size of the whole flyer and use guides to separate the different "columns". (more...)

Typical errors

  • If you're using Windows and have a custom theme installed, you won't get any new page displayed when creating a new document: use the default Win theme or "Classic", and everything will work fine

Page formatting

How can I set the format of a new document? When creating a new document you can choose a "Document Layout": in most cases you can safely ignore this option (it will only affect the way the document is shown on screen). You certainly don't need it if you are trying to create a flyer or a leaflet! (more...)
Can I change paper size once page has been created? Scribus 1.3.1+ has this feature.

Page numbers

Why is Insert > Character > Page number grayed out? In order to insert a page number character into a text frame, you have to be in edit mode (using the "Edit content of frame" icon on the toolbar, double-clicking the frame, or by entering the Story Editor.
Why do I only see page numbers up to 9? In the 1.3.3.x versions of Scribus you have to insert as many page number characters as there are digits in the page number (e.g. ## for the pages from 10 to 99).
How can I add page numbers automatically? Automatic Page Numbering is done via Master Pages. Edit Master Page. Then draw a text frame. Then press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+P for the page number. Close the master page and go back to normal page editing. Then they should show up on the page. If you find the Ctrl+Alt+Shift+P shortcut inconvenient, you can change it in Tools > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts. Also for more info see: Automatic Page Numbering.

How can I do Pagination?

There is no single "pagination" concept in DTP. Yet, the word is used often and can have several meanings:

  • If you want to add page numbering, see the page number howto.
  • If you want to impose the pages you have created with Scribus, please have a look at the howtos about imposition.
  • If you want to layout several pages on one Scribus page, please think again. There are some exceptions to this rule, like creating a threefold brochure.
  • If you want to create some pages and let text flow from page to page, you can learn more about this issue by reading the Scribus tutorial.


How do you make bleed (for printing) in scribus? I'm currently migrating to Scribus from commercial DTP, and got a little confused with document bleed. You can manage bleeds in Document Setup > Document, Bleeds tab. In versions 1.3.3.x this feature is not available, but you can find some workarounds here.

Paragraph formatting

Character formatting

Writing Text

  • Why can I type some glyphs / letters in the Story Editor but they don't show up on the Canvas nor in the PDF generated by Scribus?

The story editor is still able to show more glyphs than scribus can handle. The fact is, that the story editor does not enforce the typographic quality of the glyphs and just delegates to Qt their visualization.
so, the fact that the story editor can show some characters, does not mean anything about scribus being able to display the glyphs themselves.


  • The hyphenation language can be choosen in the "Hyphenation" section of the menu File > Preferences.
  • The language for the spell checker (if available in your Scribus version) can be selected in a character style.


Why are there so few solid colors available?
  • The easiest way to add colors is by creating the colors you need in Edit > Colors.
  • You can import colors from other Scribus documents or palette files.
  • If you want to select another default palette with pre-defined colors, you have to close all documents and choose one in the Edit > Colors dialog.
Color Management Does not appear in the menu. This problem should not appear as long as Scribus is compiled with littlecms support.

Any additional profiles you want to make available should either be installed as follows:

Linux: $home/.color/icc or /usr/share/color/icc

MacOSX: put them in the correct system folder with the rest of the colorsync profiles.

Windows 2000: \WINNT\System32\Spool\Color

Windows XP-Vista-7: C:\Windows\System32\Spool\Drivers\Color (in Windows Vista and 7, color profiles can also be installed from the Control Panel).

You need a minimum of 1 RGB color space icc profile and 1 CMYK icc color space profile for the color management options to be enabled. Realistically, correct usage will require several profiles; Ideally, you will have a set of profiles which includes one for your monitor, one for the images and any scanner or input device profiles and profiles for your printer or output device.

To get started, get a set of generic pre-press profiles here: AdobeICCProfiles.zip

Then unzip these into a single directory,as noted above.

The restart Scribus and you should be able to enable color management from the preferences menu.

See the details in Color Management for Scribus for links and info about color profiles.


Loading fonts

  • For a list of good font resources see Where can I get good fonts?.
  • Scribus will automatically discard fonts that may cause problems in offset printing.
I'm using Linotype Fontexplorer X as font management tool. Will Scribus support activation and deactivation with this tool? There are no plans to and Scribus comes with the ability to add font paths independent of the operating system making this somewhat redundant.
Why do other applications show more variations of fonts than Scribus, like Bold and Italic. Scribus does not have these font style buttons, why? Someone called these "evil" on the #scribus IRC channel. They were right...There are two types of styled
  • A true font variant which is derived from a real separate font file.
  • A font style, eg italic, created from a base font using a mathematical transformation created by an application. This can be done within other applications, but for DTP and commerical printing, this causes many problems.

Scribus supports the first case 100%. The second can be poisonous in PostScript and PDF. Pre-press operators and printers have been known to fume and curse vigourously at two well known DTP applications that create these "artificial styles"

There is a feature request to make this a bit more transparent to end users and will be added in a future version of Scribus.

Can I use CJK (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) fonts in Scribus ? See: [1].
How do i get arabic text to display correctly with proper gylph shaping and rtl text direction, the most i can get out of scribues right now are rtl text with no gylph shaping? The glyph shaping is a very difficult thing to achieve, we don't yet support it, but this feature is being worked on right now (Dec 2010).

Embedding and vectorizing fonts

See the page on Scribus Output.


Can I edit PDF files with Scribus? No.

PDF as file format was never ever meant to editable in the conventional sense. Internally it is non-linear in layout and is optimised for compactness. It is better to think of PDF as electronic paper which is printed. You cannot 'unprint' paper easily can you ?

There are o­nly two applications which can "edit" PDF. Enfocus Pit Stop Pro and Quite.com's Box of Tricks are special pre-press plugins for Acrobat Pro. Using these is best if you have a fair amount of knowledge about pre-press and PDF.

See: http://rants.scribus.net/2006/12/10/pdf-surgery/

Is Scribus capable of reading and combining separate pdf files into a single file (for example including documents as attachments in the end of an article)? No, Scribus can import PDF files within image frames via Ghostscript. There are other tools to handle this such as pdftk and multivalent.


How do get I formatted tables in Scribus? Scribus added basic table support in 1.1.6. See Building Tables for explanations.

See also: Complex Tables In Scribus