OS X - Installing Scribus on your Mac the easy way

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Introduction

There are many ways to install Scribus on your Mac but the simplest methods are to download either the Scribus Disk Image (DMG) or the Scribus Package Installer (PKG).

The instructions below will show you how to install Scribus using either of these methods.

Warning
Other installation methods are available. If you really want to make things more complicated for yourself, see the list of alternatives at the end of this article.
Warning
These instructions are for Intel Macs running OS X Leopard (10.5) or later. If you're using an older system then you'll need to search the wiki/web for other instructions.
Warning
As of OS X Mountain Lion (10.8) Apple introduced something called Gatekeeper. This is Apple's way of - depending how you look at it - either protecting you from software that could be a problem, or, making it more difficult to install software that Apple hasn't approved. If at any point you get a message saying something like "'Scribus.app' can’t be opened because it is from an unidentified developer." then you'll need to bypass Gatekeeper. See this article for instructions about doing this. This is not a problem with Scribus, you'll get this a lot if you install Open Source Software on OS X.
Warning
You might be asked at some point - depending on how your system is set-up - if you're sure you want to install something from the internet. For the purposes of installing Scribus and/or GhostScript (see below), if you are asked this kind of question just click "Yes" or "OK".

Installing GhostScript

Before you think about installing Scribus you need to think about whether you should install GhostScript first.

Warning
If you've already installed Scribus before installing GhostScript you will get messages telling you that GhostScript isn't installed. If you want to stop these messages you'll need to install Ghostscript. See later in this article for instructions on how to install GhostScript after installing Scribus.
Ghostscript logo.png

GhostScript is software that provides services to other applications. Specifically, for Scribus, it allows you to import PostScript (PS) images, Extended PostScript (EPS) images, and PDF files (as images). It also allows you to export your document as PS or EPS (rather than the normal PDF export). It is also needed if you want to use the "Print Plate" Preview functions.

If you don't think that you will need these functions - and not everyone does - then you don't need to install GhostScript but you will get a message each time you start Scribus mentioning that GhostScript isn't installed. You can always follow the instructions below if you change your mind later.

If, on the other hand, you want to make sure that Scribus is ready for whatever you need to do with it then you should install GhostScript. It's entirely your choice.

If you're not installing GhostScript then skip the rest of this section and go to next section.

You can download the latest version of GhostScript from here.

Warning
GhostScript is available from many other places on the web but be aware that some other installations - if you don't trust the source - may contain viruses or other malicious software (malware). Install from the recommended source shown above and you should be fine.

Locate the "GhostScript xx.xx" link with the highest "xx.xx" version number - it's usually near the top of the page - and click on it. This will start the download of the GhostScript PKG (Package Installer). How the download actually happens is dependant on your browser and system set-up, and thus outside the scope of this article.

Once the PKG has downloaded, open the folder it was downloaded to (this is usually "Downloads" within your own Home folder).

Double click the PKG icon and follow the on-screen instructions. Accept the defaults if you don't know what to change.

Once the process has finished, GhostScript should be installed and ready for action.

Warning
There is no Application icon for GhostScript. As it's "service software" there is nothing for you to run yourself, so there's no icon for it.

Installing Scribus

Once you've got GhostScript installed - really, do that first - you can get down to installing Scribus itself.

As mentioned earlier, there are two easy options for doing this:

  • DMG - Disk Image
  • PKG - Package Installer

Neither option is particularly difficult but they are quite different, so each is described below.

Warning
When you run Scribus for the first time it will check all of the fonts installed on your system to see if it can use them properly. If you have a lot of fonts this process might take quite some time. Please be patient.
Warning
Scribus is available from many places on the web but some people have reported problems - and even viruses - when installing from downloads that were not from the official source. If you have any doubts, always install from the official downloads page via the links in this article. And remember, Scribus is free. If you have paid someone for it then they have, at the very least, cheated you out of some money.
Warning
For Developers and Testers Only. You can install the latest development version of Scribus instead by following the instructions here.

Disk Image (DMG) Installation

If you're installing Scribus using the Package Installer skip to the next section.

Installing osx dmg.png

To install from the Disk Image, go to the Scribus Download page.

Click on the link for "Mac OS X DMG (Intel only, Leopard (10.5) or higher)" and follow the instructions to download the file.

Warning
You will probably be re-directed to another web site where the DMG file is kept. This is perfectly normal.

Once the download is complete, open the folder it was downloaded to (this is usually "Downloads" within your own Home folder), then double-click on the Scribus DMG file to open it. A window will open showing the Scribus application icon.

Installing osx dmg install.png

Drag the Scribus application icon over to the Applications folder shortcut within the same window.

Once the Scribus application has been copied to your Applications folder you can drag the Scribus DMG icon - it looks like a little disk drive - from your desktop to the Trash. (This doesn't delete the DMG, it just "ejects" it so it's no longer open.)

You can now double-click the Scribus application icon in your Applications folder to start Scribus.

Warning
If Scribus starts up successfully then you can stop reading here.

Package Installer (PKG) Installation

To install using the Package Installer, go to the Scribus Download page.

Click on the link for "Mac OS X package installer (Intel only, Leopard (10.5) or higher)" and follow the instructions to download the file.

Warning
You will probably be re-directed to another web site where the file is kept. This is perfectly normal.
Installing osx pkg.png

Once the download is complete, open the folder it was downloaded to (this is usually "Downloads" within your own Home folder), then double-click on the Scribus PKG file to run it.

Follow the simple on-screen instructions. Accept the defaults unless you know what to change.

Once Scribus has been installed, open your Applications folder and double-click the Scribus icon to start Scribus.

Warning
If Scribus starts up successfully then you can stop reading here.

Installing GhostScript after Scribus

It is possible that you have installed Scribus before installing GhostScript and therefore are getting messages that GhostScript isn't installed.

Don't worry, you can probably fix that quite easily.

First, close Scribus if you already have it open.

Then install GhostScript using the procedure as stated near the top of this article.

Once GhostScript has been installed you need to tell Scribus where GhostScript is.

Installing osx external tools.png

Open Scribus and choose menu "Scribus -> Preferences". Scroll down the list of icons on the left of the Preferences dialog box until you see "External Tools", then click on "External Tools".

Installing osx ps interpreter.png

At the top of the dialog box you'll see a section named "Postscript Interpreter", this is where you tell Scribus where GhostScript is installed. Copy this text

/usr/local/bin/gs

and paste it into the field for "Name of Executable". OK the dialog box. Close Scribus, then open it again.

Scribus should now be running using GhostScript and you shouldn't be getting the message you were getting before.

Warning
If all is fine then you can stop reading here.

However, if the above didn't work, open the Preferences dialog box again, copy this text

/opt/local/bin/gs

and paste it into the field for "Name of Executable". OK the dialog box. Close Scribus, then open it again.

You should now be able to use Scribus normally.

Warning
If all is fine then you can stop reading here.

However, if that also didn't work you'll need to get more technical.

If neither of the options above fixed your problem then GhostScript was probably installed somewhere that is non-standard, for whatever reason. Hopefully the procedure below will show you where it is, and then how to tell Scribus where it is.

Installing osx utilities.png

Open your Applications folder and scroll down until you see the "Utilities" folder.

Installing osx terminal.png

Double-click the Utilities folder and scroll down until you see the "Terminal" utility. Double-click the Terminal utility to run it. Copy this text

find / -type l -name gs -print

and paste it after the Terminal prompt, the prompt will probably look like a $ (dollar sign). Press ENTER.

Your system will now start searching for the GhostScript GS file. This is a non-destructive search; no files will be tampered with in any way.

Warning
This process will take a few minutes and you'll probably get some "permission denied" messages (unless you're set-up as a super user or have used the "sudo" prefix). Don't worry if you don't know what that means, just let the process proceed.

After a while you should see something in the output that looks like

/usr/local/bin/gs

This means that your system has found a GhostScript installation at that location.

Once you've spotted a location you can use CTRL+Z to stop the search. If you don't stop the search it will continue to plough through all of your connected drives doing more searching. It's nothing to worry about but you could be waiting a very long time if you don't stop it.

Once you've stopped the search, scroll up if necessary and copy the location to the "Name of Executable" field in "External Tools" - as shown above - then OK the dialog, close Scribus, then re-open it.

You should now have Scribus working with GhostScript.

To clean up after yourself, go to your Terminal utility, type "EXIT" (without the quotes), press ENTER, then close the Terminal utility.

If you're still having trouble then the problem is something that is outside the scope of this article. Try using the Scribus Forum, or the Scribus Mailing List, or the Scribus Google+ page to get more help.

Warning
The rest of this article is about alternative installation options.

Alternative Installation Methods

Warning
These installation methods are a lot more complicated than using the DMG or PKG methods shown above. Make sure you read all of the instructions carefully and understand them properly before you try them.

Homebrew

Homebrew purports to be the missing package manager for OS X.

Find out more about installing through Homebrew here.

Subversion (SVN)

Subversion (often abbreviated SVN, after the command name svn) is a software versioning and revision control system. Developers use Subversion to maintain current and historical versions of files such as source code, web pages, and documentation.

Find out more about installing through SVN here.

Fink

The Fink project wants to bring the full world of Unix Open Source software to Darwin and Mac OS X. They modify Unix software so that it compiles and runs on Mac OS X ("port" it) and make it available for download as a coherent distribution.

Find out more about installing through Fink here.

MacPorts

The MacPorts Project is an open-source community initiative to design an easy-to-use system for compiling, installing, and upgrading either command-line, X11 or Aqua based open-source software on the OS X operating system.

Find out more about installing through MacPorts here.

Installing Development Version

Instead of installing the current stable version of Scribus you can install the latest development version instead.

Warning
The latest development version is still being tested and not all functions may work properly. Also, files saved by the latest development version may not be accessible by previous stable versions. Be very careful and don't use it on production documents unless you know what you're doing.

First you should install GhostScript as shown above.

Once you've installed GhostScript, you need to download the latest development version Disk Image from here.

Click on the link for "Scribus.dmg" and follow the instructions to download the file.

Warning
The development DMG may well be much larger than the stable DMG. This is normal as the software has not been optimised.

Once the download is complete, open the folder it was downloaded to (this is usually "Downloads" within your own Home folder), then double-click on the Scribus DMG file to open it. A window will open showing the Scribus application icon.

Using Finder, open your personal Applications folder in your own Home folder. This is the folder usually called Users/<your name>/Applications and not your normal Applications folder.

Warning
Installing the development version of Scribus in your normal Applications folder will overwrite your normal Scribus installation. Use your personal Applications folder instead as mentioned above.

Drag the Scribus application icon over to the personal Applications folder you've just opened.

Once the Scribus application has been copied to the Applications folder you can drag the Scribus DMG icon - it looks like a little disk drive - from your desktop to the Trash. (This doesn't delete the DMG, it just "ejects" it so it's no longer open.)

You can now double-click the Scribus application icon in the Applications folder to start Scribus.