Auto-formating paragraphs during text file imports

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This article is part of the HOWTOs series.
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This article is inspired by the "Laying out articles" one. The reason is that I could not find the cool text importing filter in my own Scribus-1.3cvs installation, that is shown in the screenshot.

What you want

You want to make your workflow with Scribus as efficient as possible. For articles with longer texts, you want to concentrate on writing the pure textual content in an ASCII text editor first (or someone else does), and in Scribus you focus on making it look nice with its layout.

How to organize the workflow: Overview

  • First write the content in a good text editor.
  • Second, define the paragraph styles you want to use.
  • Third, mark up the paragraphs in your text.
  • Fourth: import your text into Scribus using the text filter.

How to organize the workflow: Details

Text editor: KDE users may want to look at Kate ("KDE Advanced Text Editor"). Kate can remember words you typed already before, and will offer auto-completion if you like. It can do spell-checking, and much more. Though it is meant to be a "programmer's editor", it is also great for preparing longer texts that are meant to end up in Scribus layouts.

Paragraph style: For most longer texts, there will be at least 3 different ones. In the following example, I'll use 4: one for normal paragraphs, one for intermediate headings, one for enumerations, and one for "code style" examples intermixed with the text flow. Normal paragraphs are justified, headings are centered and bold (maybe also capitalized), enumerations are italic, and the code passages are in a tele-type font.

Markup: I use some simple labelling of each style by simply preceding each "paragraph" with a "\<a-letter>" sequence. So my source text will look like this:

  \hThis is an intermediate heading
  \pThis is the beginning of a standard paragraph text. This style willhold most of the content of your document. 
    Do not insert linebreaks into your *.txt source code. A line break marks a new paragraph. Use continuous 
    testflow within each paragraph.
  \c%Here comes a PostScript code example...
  \c100 100 moveto
  \c200200 rlineto
  \c-100 0 rlineto 
  \c.5 setgray fill
  \eThis is an enumeration
  \cThe second item...
  \c...andthe 3rd one

Import: Do not search for the "Text filter" in the Scribus menus. You will not find them. Just start importing, as Tsoots shows in his screenshot. Important: Do not expect a "Text filter" entry in the drop down. Just select ... and click on ... -- and the dialog to configure your import will auto-magically appear.