Complex tables in Scribus

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This article is part of the Tips & Tricks series.
Installation Usage PDF issues Other

Scribus provides the ability to create tables. Unfortunately, scribus tables are nothing more than combined text frames, and it is a bit hard to work with them. If you need to have more complex tables, here is a couple of workarounds :

With Writer or Calc

  1. Create your table in either Writer or Calc.
  2. Copy the table items you need on a page in scribus (this means: not the whole spreadheet in Calc) to the clipboard, create a new Draw document, and paste from the clipboard.
  3. Export the selection to SVG.
  4. Open the SVG in Inkscape and save the selection to EPS. Note that the table might need some editing in Inkscape, e.g. adjusting rows or columns.
  5. Import the EPS into scribus. This can happen either by using File > Import or by creating a picture frame and "Get Picture" from the context menu. The first option will allow you to edit the EPS as a scribus vector object.

This approach works perfectly with 1.1.x, but there are still problems with the beta versions of OO.o 2.0.

You may ask for the reason to use such a complicated procedure, since OO.o can export SVG and EPS, and scribus can import both formats, and even OO.o Draw files. Try this yourself and you will understand the reason why. OO.o's SVG and EPS export is far from perfect, and so is scribus' import of SVG and *.sxd. It is hard to predict in which cases import in scribus will work. So, save yourself some time, anger and swearing, and follwow the steps above. They always work, at least as much as I can tell.

Contributed by Christoph Schäfer

With OpenOffice And Inkscape

  1. In Writer select the whole table.
  2. Export to PDF and be sure to check the "selection" box in the export dialog box.
  3. Fire up Inkscape, then import the PDF. (Side tip: In case you want to edit the PDF you can ungroup it in Inkscape and then do anything you want to it.)
  4. Save the file in Inkscape, using its native SVG format.
  5. In Scribus go to File > Import > Get Vector File.
  6. Select the SVG and place it into your Scribus page.

Fired up by John Jason Jordan