Difference between revisions of "Category:FAQ"

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Be aware that you need the headers of the libraries on top of the libraries themselves:
Be aware that you need the headers of the libraries on top of the libraries themselves:
* For DEB-based Linux distributions you need the *-dev pacakges; here is a (non exhaustive) list of packages you may want install:<br>
* For DEB-based Linux distributions you need the *-dev packages; here is a (non exhaustive) list of packages you may want install:<br>
<tt>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</tt>
<tt>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</tt>

Revision as of 01:27, 26 September 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's own repositories. They are available for Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS, Red Hat, OpenSuse, SUSE Linux Enterprise, and Mandriva. 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://scribus.info/Scribus/)

How do I get Scribus for OS X?

  • The stable version is only available through Fink or Darwinports
  • Snapshots of the development version are availabe on Sourceforge.
  • At the moment, there is no (easy) way to compile yourself Scribus for OS X
  • You can get a Ghostscript .dmg from here
  • Images (.dmg) for more recent development versions won't work on OS X 10.4. If you want to install Scribus 1.3.8 or later you will have to install it through Fink:
    • Install Fink.
    • Then install finkcommander.
    • Activate the unstable packages (fink commander > preferences > fink, Use unstable packages").
    • Install scribus-135+ from sources or binaries (if you also install qt4 from sources, it will take a long time, but it will work).

How do I get Scribus for Windows?

Which version should I use?

New users doing productive work should stick with the stable version ( However, if you don't care about some minor incoveniences, you may want to use 1.3.8+ for new projects, since it has many more features than and will become the stable 1.4 version soon.

As a rule of thumb: all versions that have an odd number as a second (minor) version number (1.1, 1.3, 1.5, 1.7) are unstable/development versions, 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.

Development version

1.3.8+ is the development version. You can use it if you want to use features which are not in the stable version. It has now become quite usable, but keep in mind that if you save work with it, you will not be able to then load it into, since the file format has changed. You can load a file created with or an earlier version into later versions. If you are using Mac OS X 10.5+, 1.3.8 is recommended since it avoids some Qt3-related problems, and also because a universal binary is available.

(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 Qt3-based version which unfortunately was latched onto by some distros. It had a number of bugs, most of which were never fixed. It quickly led to the 1.3.5 version which was based on Qt4, and has since advanced to 1.3.8 mentioned above.

Experimental branch

1.5 is the current experimental branch: Only for people wanting to experiment with the latest Scribus features should use it. Note that the 1.5+ file format is not backward-compatible.


Since its beginnings, Scribus has always maintained backward compatibility, so that every later version will be able to load a file from an earlier version. Because new features are added, the reverse is not true. For example, 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 use the stable – it will be hard to go wrong with this one (exception: Mac OS X as noted above). If you have purchased or plan to purchase Scribus: The Official Manual, the book was based on the 1.3.3.x series, but it can be used with later versions, too.

How do I compile Scribus?

There may be a few reasons for you to compile Scribus yourself:

  • There is no current Scribus for your platform (like Linux PPC or Mac OS X 10.4).
  • You need a fix that has been applied after the latest binary snapshot has been released.
  • You want to follow Scribus development to stay up to date and to test.

In the first case you should download a snapshot source package from Sourceforge. In all the other cases you're better off if you get the source code via 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 straightforward in the table below).

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

  • For DEB-based Linux distributions you need the *-dev packages; 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 RPM-based Linux distributions you need the *-devel packages

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 having it installed.
OSG_INCLUDE_DIR for the time being you better exclude the OSG library (add "-DWANT_NOOSG=1" to the cmake parameters) if you want to build 1.5svn.

Install related problems

Where is my Ghostscript?

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

One approach is to simply ignore the warning, since you may not need it.

You can install it later, if you need one of the features provided via Ghostscript, namely import of EPS or PS files into image frames or the print preview.


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 path will be something like "/usr/local/bin/gs").

Microsoft Windows
  • First of all, you need to download the Ghostscript installer.
  • Once installed, Scribus needs to find it, as it may not be detected automatically on Windows. 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 a "c" in the file name.


  • Where are the preferences located?
    • On Linux: /home/<user>/.scribus
    • On Mac OS X: /Users/<user>/Library/Preferences/Scribus
    • On OS/2 and eComStation: %HOME%\.scribus
    • On Windows 2000, XP and 2003: C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\.scribus
    • On Windows Vista and 7: C:\Users\<user>\.scribus

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. Lots of those themes are broken and show similar behavior with other applications. You have to disable those themes in Control Panel > Display Properties > Themes and/or Appeareance.
    • that your display is set to use 32 bit depth: Control Panel > Display Properties > Settings – set display bit depth to 32 bit


  • 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). Thus, if you have many large images in your document, loading may take very long and consume lots of memory, which can slow down your system. 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. In the context menu you can even switch off the preview of the image.

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

  • Use an image editor to crop images to the section that you actually want to use in the image frame, then use that smaller file.
  • Decrease the resolution/size of the actual image file. For most printing targets 300 dpi is a good idea, whereas higher resolutions rarely make sense.
  • If you create a PDF for the web, much lower resolutions are recommended, e.g, 72-90 dpi, since monitors don't have a higher resolution and the files will be significantly smaller.
  • Use a computer with enough memory for your work. As a rule of thumb, there's only one thing better than a lot of RAM: even more RAM.




  • You can import Openoffice.org .odt files. Scribus will recognize most text formatting options and style sheets, and you can decide how Scribus will handle style sheet during import.
  • You can directly import Microsoft Word (.doc) documents, but you will lose all formatting. You better use Openoffice.org and save the document in the .odt format.
  • Microsoft RTF documents can't be read from Scribus: you should use Openoffice.org to convert them to .odt or save them in the .doc format from Microsoft Word.
  • Using the Text Filter

Render frames

Note: Render Frames is a new feature, which has been introduced with Scribus 1.3.5.

  • I'm using MS Windows and Render 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 import the content of .odt files into text frames. Text formatting and style sheet will be kept, but not tables, footnotes or images.

Microsoft Word

You can import text from .doc files into text frames, but you will lose all formatting and style sheet. If you want to keep them, you should convert your files to the OpenDocument file format (*odt).

Adobe InDesign

An import filter for InDesign IDML files has been added to the experimental 1.5svn version, but it can't be backported to 1.3.8+.

Quark Xpress

An import filter for XPress Tag files (*.xtg) has been added to the experimental 1.5svn version, but it can't be backported to 1.3.8+.

Microsoft Publisher


Creating documents


  • 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.
  • You can set the value for the first page number or change the page numbering scheme in a document (see: Pagination).
  • 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.
  • You can automatically create text frames that are automatically linked/chained when you create a new document.
  • 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 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 "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 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.

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 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.


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.

Embedding and vectorizing fonts

see the section on PDF output.



  • The PDFs generated by Scribus are of very high quality and should never be a problem when delivered to a print shop.
  • Bugs related to the PDF generation are treated with very high priority by the Scribus team.


  • Supported versions: PDF/X-3 (1.3.3.x and 1.3.8+), PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-4 (1.5svn only, no backport possible).
  • ICC profiles must be installed.
  • You have to enable color management.
  • You have to fill the "info string" in the "Pre-Press" tab of the PDF export dialog.


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

Embedding, subsetting or outlining fonts

  • Scribus will try to embed your fonts when exporting to PDF.
  • Fonts with more than 2048 glyphs will be automatically converted to outlines to reduce the size of the PDF. This font-specific setting can be changed in Preferences > Fonts by unchecking the "Subset" option for a font.

Scripting / Command line

  • You can write Python scripts which will run inside Scribus.
  • If you have questions about scripting you should post them to the mailing list or join the Scribus IRC channel.

Support: The Scribus team and the Scribus community

How can I contact the Scribus community?

  • You can contact the Scribus team through the IRC channel (#scribus on irc.freenode.net; a web interface is available at http://www.scribus.net/?q=irc
  • You can subscribe to the Scribus mailing list where you can ask your questions and receive news related to Scribus.
  • 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 can try to use your preferred language. With a bit of luck you will get an answer (the languages you can expect to be understood are German, French, Finnish, Italian, Czech, and Spanish).

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

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

How can I unsubscribe from the Scribus Mailing list?

  • Click on link http://lists.scribus.info/mailman/listinfo/scribus 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 use the one you used when you subscribed).
  • Click on the button "Unsubscribe".
  • As 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.

Old items



PDF issues



Printing issues


Pages in category "FAQ"

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