Category:FAQ: Difference between revisions

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==== So which one should I use? ====
==== So which one should I use? ====

If you are still wondering, please do use the stable
If you are still wondering, please do use the stable

=== How do I compile Scribus? ===
=== How do I compile Scribus? ===

Revision as of 14:44, 13 April 2010

Other languages: Polski (pl) Portuguese (pt_BR)

Work in progress

a.l.e: i'm trying to reformat this FAQ as a list of question *and* answers which -- i hope so -- will be easier to search through. if i don't succeed, please revert to the last version before the 13 december 2008.

How to fill a FAQ entry: you're welcome to add your entries to the FAQ. If possible, try to keep the FAQ entries as short as possible (and add links to one or more other wiki entries if necessary) and write about one topic at a time.

When to add a FAQ section?: the goal is to make simple to find a FAQ entry. So there should not be too many titles but the sections should not get too long or general either...

Installing and running Scribus

Which Scribus should I install on my computer?


How do i get Scribus for Linux?

  • If you don't need anything fancy, use your packet manager to install Scribus (synaptics, yum, apt-get, ...). This is the preferred way to install Scribus.
  • If you want to be more up to date than your distribution is, you can add Scribus own repositories. They are available for Debian, Fedora, Red Hat, OpenSuse, and Ubuntu. This is the preferred way to install Scribus.
  • If you want to test the newest feature (or if there are no binaries for your platform) you can compile the source code you get from sourceforge or from the subversion server (svn://

How do i get Scribus for OS X?

How do i get Scribus for Windows?

Which version should I use?

New users doing productive work should stick with the stable version ( One big exception: right now, (as of the november 20th, 2009) it may be better to use for new projects, since it has much more features than and should evolve in the near future into a 1.4 stable version.

As a rule of thumb: all versions which have an odd number as a second (minor) version number (1.1, 1.3, 1.5, 1.7) are unstable versions (the playground for the team), all version with an even minor number are stable versions (1.0, 1.2, 1.4, 1.6, ...)
1.3.3.x is an exception and has been declared stable because 1.2 was too old and 1.4 was too far away.

Stable version is the stable version: use it for your normal work.

Unstable version

1.3.6 is the unstable version: use it if you are evaluating Scribus for a long term project, where the productive work won't start right now; use it also if you want to use features which are not in the stable version. (todo: link to a page which describes how to protect yourself when you're using the development version)

1.3.4 is an old unstable version which should have disappeared few weeks after its release but is still downloaded and used after almost two years: DON'T TOUCH IT!! Please use the stable version or a recent development version.

Development branch

1.5 is the current development branch: Only for people wanting to do experiments with Scribus should use it.


You can't load a 1.3.6 file into, but you can load 1.3.3.x files into 1.3.6+ and 1.5.

So which one should I use?

If you are still wondering, please do use the stable

How do I compile Scribus?

There are a few reasons, why you may wish to compile Scribus

  • There is no current Scribus for your platform (like Linux PPC)
  • You need a fix which has been applied after the last snapshot/release has been produced
  • You want to follow the Scribus development and be uptodate.

In the first case, you should download a snapshot/release source package from Sourceforge. In all the othe cases you're better off if you get the source code through subversion.

Further reading:

Libraries needed

There is no list of dependencies for compiling Scribus. Just run cmake and the error messages will mostly be clear enough to find the packages you need (we have tried to add the cases which are not straight forward in the table below).

Be aware that you need the headers of the libraries on top of the libraries themselves:

  • For the .deb based distributions you need the *-dev pacakges; here is a (non exhaustive) list of packages you may want install:

sudo apt-get install g++ libqt4-dev subversion libcairo2-dev cmake libaspell-dev libtiff4-dev libjpeg62-dev libcupsys2-dev python2.5-dev libxml2-dev libboost-dev

  • For the .rpm based distributions you need the *-devel pacakges

Message deb package rpm package comments
Could NOT find Cups libcups2-dev
LibXml2 libxml++2.6-dev
libpodofo if you are compiling 1.3.5 or 1.5 you should add libpodofo: it's not an obligatory dependency, but it's worth to have it available
OSG_INCLUDE_DIR for the time being, you'd better off by excluding the OSG library (add "-DWANT_NOOSG=1" to the cmake parameters) and remove CmakeCache.txt before

Install related problems

Where is my Ghostscript?

You have successfully installed Scribus and now it is asking where Ghostscript is?

The simpliest way of doing is to ignore the alert: if you are starting with Scribus you probably won't need it.

You can install it later, when -- if ever -- you will indeed need one of the features provided through Ghostscript (import of EPS or PS files, print preview or export to PS / EPS)


You should never ever get this alert under Linux. If it still happens, just use your package manager to install Ghostscript.

Mac OS X

Go to Scribus > Preferences > External Tools, and browse (Change...) for the gs executable (the value will be something similar to "/usr/local/bin/gs").

Microsoft Windows
  • First of all, you need to have ghostscript.
  • Secondly, Scribus needs to find it. On Windows, it's common for it not to be automatically found. Go to File > Preferences > External Tools, and browse (Change...) for the gs executable. For 32-bit, its gswin32c.exe, the important thing being that "c", since there is another executable without it.

GUI / Interface


  • On Microsoft Windows, you may not be able to see the page or the buttons. Please make sure:
    • That you're not using third party Windows themes is not supported. Lots of those themes are broken and show similar behavior with other applications. You have to disable those themes in Control Panel > Display Propertie > Themes and/or Appeareance
    • That your display is set to use 32bit depth: Control Panel > Display Properties > Settings and set display bit depth to 32bit


  • Scribus picks up your environment language automatically. If you want to use another language for your GUI, just go the menu "File / Preferences", and in the "General" section set the language you prefer.



When you put an image in an image frame, Scribus will load that file into RAM (chip memory). Therefore, if you have many large images in your document, loading might take very long and consume lots of memory, which might make your system slow and possibly unstable. A possible solution to the loading issue: reduce the image preview resolution for your document – go to File > Document Setup > Tools, and click on the image frame icon (second from top). In the "Images" dialog, set "On Screen Preview" to "Low Resolution Preview", and click "OK". Note that you can also set this property for individual image frames from their context menu.

A large document with many large images may challenge your RAM. Once you completely fill that up, along with any swap space, Scribus will likely freeze or crash. Here are some pointers:

  • Crop images to the portion that shows in the image frame, then use that reduced file.
  • Decrease the resolution/size of the actual image file. While for most purposes at least 300 dpi is a good idea, there is a point at which higher resolutions usually won't make sense, eg, >1200 dpi for most uses. The Image tab of Properties will show you the final DPI of that image in your PDF. Again, you have to change the file itself for this to help -- make a scaled down copy to work with.
  • If your PDF will be web-based, even further lower resolutions make sense, eg, 72-90 dpi, since monitors cannot show better than that anyway.
  • Use a computer with enough RAM for your work. If you can, adding RAM may make image work much easier.




  • tagged text (tbc)
  • You can import .odt files and Scribus will recognize most formattings and style sheets. You can manage how the formatting is handled from the import dialog. (link)
  • You can direclty import Microsoft Word (.doc) documents but you will lose all formattings. You'd better use and save the document in .odt format.
  • Microsoft RTF documents can't be read from Scribus: you should use to convert them to .odt or save them in .doc from Microsoft Word.

Render frames

  • I'm using MS Windows and the Latex Frames don't work

First, you have to install a Latex distribution (like MiKTeX); If Scribus fails to find pdflatex, you should add the directory where "pdflatex" is located to the Path environment variable (using Control panel > System > Advanced > Environment variables > User variables > Path (if it does not exist, create it); running set at the command line ensure that the path is up to date)

Importing files from other programs

You can read .odt files into text frames. Text formatting will be kept, but not the page layout.

Microsoft Word

You can import the text from .doc files into text frames. If you want to keep your text formatting, you first have to convert your files in the file format

Adobe InDesign
Quark Xpress
Microsoft Publisher


Creating documents


  • Currently, Scribus isn't very good at managing documents which are longer than 30 pages. You should split your work in several Scribus documents and join them to a simgle pdf afterwards (link)
  • You can set the value for the first page number (more)
  • You can't automatically create a table of contents over several files.
  • You shouldn't make too long chains of text frames
  • You can automatically create text frames which are automatically chained (link)
  • You can create (multilevel?) table of contents (TOC).
  • No index, no footnotes.



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

Typical errors

  • If you're using Windows and have a custom theme installe, 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

  • 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...)

How can I insert 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 icon on the toolbar, double-clicking the frame, or by entering the Story Editor.

  • Why do I only see the page numbers up to 9?

In the 1.3.3.x versions of Scribus you have to insert as many page number characters are there are digits in the page numer (## for the pages from 10 to 99)

How can I do Pagination?

There is no pagination concept in DTP, still the word is often used and may have several meanings:

  • If you want to add a page number 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 into one scribus page, please refrain from doing it. There are some exception to this rules: (like creating a threefold brochure).
  • If you want to create some pages and add a text flowing through them, you will learn more about it by reading the Scribus tutorial

Paragraph formatting

Character formatting


  • 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 version) is to be set in the character style.


  • Why are there so few colors?
    • The best way to do add colors is by creating the colors you need in "edit > colors". You can also pick them from several predefined palettes.
    • You may import the colors from another document.
    • If you want to choose between larger pre-defined palettes, you have to close all the document and choose an alternative one in the "edit > colors" dialog.

Spot colors

Color Management


Loading fonts

  • You can get good free fonts from (link)
  • Scribus will automatically discard fonts which could lead to problems in a printshop

Embedding and vectorizing fonts

see the section on Pdf output.



  • The PDF generated by Scribus is of very high print quality and should never be a problem when delivered to a Print Shop
  • Bugs related to the PDF generation are handled with very high priority by the Scribus-team.


  • Supported starting from the version 1.3.6
  • ICC profiles must be installed
  • You have to enable the color management
  • You have to fill the "Info string" in the "Pre-Press" tab of the export PDF dialog


Basically, forms created by Scribus can be filled with Acrobat Reader.

Foxit Viewer seems also to let the user fill forms.

Embedding, subsetting or outlining fonts

  • Scribus will try to embed your fonts when exporting to PDF.
  • If you have added new fonts to your docuement after having already exported it to PDF, it's worth checking if Scribus is embedding all the fonts used.
  • Fonts which can't be embedded, or you don't want to fully embed, will be subset : Scribus convert font glyphs to outlines which are then collected in a Type3 font.
  • Fonts with more than 2048 glyphs are set to be automatically subsetted in order to reduce file size. That setting can be changed in preferences > fonts by unckecking the subset checkbox.
  • If you want to outline the text, you should outline (a copy of) the text frames.

Print preview

On all platforms but Microsoft Windows, Scribus' Print Preview depends on the installed Ghostscript:

  • If no Ghostscript is installed, you can generate a PDF to preview your work. Since at the end of the workflow, you probably will hand a PDF to a print shop, previewing through the PDF creation makes sure that the final result will match your expectations.

On Windows the Print Preview uses the GDI libraries which are always installed.


  • Scribus uses the system's native Printing subsystem.
  • Even if you should always be able to print with Scribus, finding the correct parameters may be complicated: you may prefer to generate a PDF and print from your preferred PDF-reader. (see the section on PDF exporting)

Scripting / Command line

  • You can write Python scripts which will run inside of Scribus (link)
  • The scripting API for 1.3.5 is not yet fully published.
  • If you have questions about scripting you should post them to the mailing list.
  • You can use scripts to read Data from an SQL-database.
  • You can run shell, Perl or Python scripts for:
    • transforming Scribus' .sla files
    • impose PDFs produced by Scribus

Hardware & other software

  • How can i profile my monitor? (tbc)
  • Scribus can't edit files created by other DTP programs (Latex, Indesign, Quark, Publisher, ...; more...):
    • Most of the time you can import in Scribus the pictures and texts you've used to layout when working with another program.
    • For recreating the templates in Scribus, you can import in the backround an image (PDF, PNG, ...) of the original work (you can put the background in its own layer).

Support: the Scribus-Team and the Community

How can I contact the Scribus community?

  • You can contact the Scribus-Team throug the irc channel (#scribus on; a web interface is available at
  • You can subscribe to the Scribus mailing list where you can ask your questions and get informations on most news related to Scribus (it's not a high traffic list, but you can get up to 20 mails per day).
  • The main language of the project is English but every language is welcome on the mailing list and in the irc channel. If you're not comfortable with English, you try to use your preferred language: with a bit of luck you will get an answer (the language you can expect to be understood are German, French, Finnish, Italian, Czech, Hungarian, Portuguese, and Spanish; you may be understood even if you write in some other language).

I have a problem: how can I show what doesn't work?

  • Share the .sla and the .pdf files
  • If there is a bug, put the files in the bug tracker (you can mark the bug as private if you only want the developers to see it).
  • Make a screenshot and show how you see your file.
  • If you're reporting the problem in IRC or in the mailing list you can upload your files

How can I unsubscribe from the Scribus Mailing list?

  • Click on link you see at the bottom of every mail you get from the mailing list
  • Read the first sentence on the page
  • Put your email address in the text field with the label "Email address" (if you have several email addresses you have to put there the one which you used when subscribing)
  • Click on the button "Unsubscribe"
  • Like the instructions by that button say, you will receive a confirmation email.
  • Reply to that mail without changing any of its content and you will be unsubscribed (you will probably get one more email telling you that you have been successfully unsubscribed from this list; if you prefer, you can click on the link in the middle of the mail, on the line after: "Or visit this web page:").

Old items



PDF issues



Printing issues


Pages in category "FAQ"

The following 38 pages are in this category, out of 38 total.