Scribus – Introduction


The open-source desktop publisher has a few toolbars and nine menus with features for users to design books, newsletters, brochures, and other types of documents.

Scribus is an open-source desktop-publishing application that haas similar features to Adobe InDesign and QuarkXpress. Unlike the these, Scribus is open-source and cross-platform. All three of the desktop-publishers run natively on Windows and Mac. Scribus also runs natively on Linux distros, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OS/2.

Scribus’ native format is SLA, an open, XML-based format. The supports most major bitmap formats, including TIFF, JPEG, and Adobe Photoshop. Vector drawings can be imported or directly opened for editing. It has a level-3 PostScript driver.

It also has an advanced PDF feature that is similar to LibreOffice’s PDF features.

  • The application can be downloaded from this Website.
  • The portable application can be downloaded from here. It can be stored on a USB or external hard drive and run on any computer with Windows.

User interface

The main user interface for Scribus is across the top. It is through the top toolbar and the 10 menus.

The top toolbar has several tool sets that can be made visible or invisible. They are made visible/invisible in the toolbar through the View and Windows menus.


Top toolbar in Scribus

Toolbar items in View menu of ScribusHere are the items in the View menu:

  • Show Margins
  • Show Bleeds
  • Show Frames
  • Show Layer Indicators
  • Show Images
  • Show Grid
  • Show Guidelines
  • Show Text Frame Columns
  • Show Baseline Grid
  • Show Text Chain
  • Show Control Characters
  • Show Rulers
  • Rulers Relative to Page
  • Move/Resize Value Indicator

In the Windows menu:

  • Tools
  • PDF Tools

Toolbar items in Windows menu of ScribusThe Windows menu also contains a list of 10 dialogs. A check in the box next to one of the items will open the corresponding dialog.

Each dialog remains open until it is closed. The dialogs float independently from the document.

  • Properties
  • Outline
  • Scrapbook
  • Layers
  • Arrange Pages
  • Bookmarks
  • Measurements
  • Action History
  • Align and Distribute

The bar below the design area has settings that allow you to examine different parts of the document.

Bottom bar in Scribus


In addition to these toolbar items, there are nine menus with other settings and items. There is also a Help menu. For Mac users, there is a Scribus menu.

File Edit Item Insert Page View Extras Script Windows