Tips and Tricks

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Tips and Tricks

Creating a Tiled Image

This tip shows how a collection of shapes can be used to create an irregular image frame. The techniques used are duplicate/multiple duplicate of shapes, combining them as polygons and then converting to an image frame.

  • Create a rectangular shape. In the example, it has a width and a height of 16 mm. Of course, any other type of shape can be used.
  • With the menu command Item > Multiple Duplicate, create 7 duplicates with a horizontal shift of 18 mm and a vertical shift of 0 mm.
  • Group the resulting 8 rectangles.
  • Multiply the resulting group again 5 times, with a horizontal shift of 0 and a vertical shift of 18 mm. This results in a two-dimensional group of rectangles, looking like a fence.
  • At your option, ungroup the first row and change the position of the first rectangle. Resize it, rotate it, or whatever you like.
  • Now, select all the rectangles and combine the polygons with Item > Combine Polygons.
  • Apply Item > Convert to > Image Frame.
  • Last, but not least, load an image into your new image frame.

Creating a Circled Diagram

A diagram in circle style, often useful for presentations. It uses combined and grouped polygons and other elements, duplicating, a lot of rotating and the Attach Text to Path function.

  • Create two round shapes, one of them a bit smaller than the other. Keep a copy of the smaller circle – you’ll need it later for creating the text! To make an exact copy, select the circle, pressing Ctrl-C and then Ctrl-V, and now move the smaller circle. You will find there are two on top of each other. Hint: Holding down the Shift key as you make your circle keeps it from being an ellipse.
  • Put one of the smaller circles in the middle of the bigger one. Now select both circles (you can do this by clicking and dragging a selection box around the two circles). Next, in the menu bar, use the command Item > Combine Polygons. This combines the two and creates a ring. Set the stroke color to “None” and the fill color to whatever you like.
  • Now we build the arrows. Create a new triangular shape and use the same fill color you applied to the ring. Set the stroke color to white.
  • Rotate the triangle, so that it points to one of the four directions we’ll need.
  • Place the triangle at its correct position above the ring.
  • To hide the triangle’s white stroke above the ring on the triangle’s long side, just draw a small, filled rectangular shape without the stroke’s color above the triangle.
  • Group the triangle and the rectangle, create three duplicates, rotate the duplicates so that they are pointing to the four directions and place them above the ring.
  • Now we add the text, using the copy of the small circle you made, but consider that you may want to go to Properties > Shape > Edit Shape to slightly enlarge it, since what you actually want is your text on an imaginary rim slightly larger than the smaller circle. Convert it to a Bézier curve. Create a text frame with your text and use Item > Attach Text to Path. Move this text until it has its correct position on the ring. You may need to adjust font size and spacing until it fits perfectly, and you can also further edit the circle after you have applied the text. See the section Attach Text to Path if you need more help.
  • The text on the path is still editable – create three copies of the first text-on-path item, use the Story Editor to edit their content and move and rotate until the texts are all in the desired place above the ring. Once you have completed this project, select them all, then Item > Group to then place the entire ensemble precisely where you want it.
  • Now that you’ve gone through this process, remember that Scribus may offer more than one way to accomplish your end result. For example, you could have started with a single circle shape, made the fill color “None,” made a copy for your text on path work, then increased line width of the original to a large number, say 40 to 50 pts, then added the triangles. You could also have done all the text at once in a long string, adding spaces in between word groups as needed to get them spaced properly around the circle. Neither one of the methods is inherently any better, though one may seem easier for you.

Creating Borders

For certificates, images or similar things sometimes complex borders are needed. This is a very simple trick that simply uses the duplicating functions for some shapes and – at your option – the combining of shapes. The results can be used in a lot of ways.

  • We start with the creation of a polygon or a shape which will be the basis for the border. In this case, it’s a polygon with four corners.
  • Use Item > Multiple Duplicate and create 10 – or any other number of – duplicates with a horizontal shift that is slightly smaller than the width of the original shape. Vertical shift is 0.
  • At your option, use Item > Combine Polygons.
  • Duplicate the resulting object, rotate it and build a border for an image.
  • With some white circles, combined with a paper-colored rectangle, you can build a memo.
  • By the way, this seems to be the only way to build a dotted line from circles in Scribus:

Text Over Images

When placing a text frame over an image, the problem often occurs that the color of the text and the underlying images are interfering. Here are two simple tricks to avoid this.

Create a rectangular shape with approximately the same size as your text frame, fill it with white or another color, set its opacity to 30% or another value smaller than 100% and put it under your text, but above the image:

Create a text frame for your text, convert it to outlines by using Item > Convert to Outlines. Move it over a shape, for example a rectangular. Select both objects and use Item > Combine Polygons. If you move the new object over an image now , the image can be seen through the text:

The “wave” has been produced in a similar way: I started with a rectangular shape. By using Edit Shapes > Move Control Points in the Shape tab of the Properties Palette, the points of the shape can be rearranged and changed to curves:

In this case, a polygon with 7 corners and an applied factor of -45 was used to create a star. As described above, the price is “embossed” into the star and a duplicate of the result is used as a shadow:

Filling Text With an Image

Please note that the effect probably might need a lot of computing power when it’s applied to a larger text!

  • Create a text frame and type your text, or load it from a file. Use a strong and bold font.
  • Convert the text frame with Item > Convert to to outlines.
  • Use Item > Combine Polygons.
  • Change the new polygon via Item > Convert to to an image frame.
  • Load an image into the new shape.
  • At your option, play around with the fill and line color. In this case both are set to “none”:

In a similar way, you can create “letters consisting of letters.”

  • Create a text frame and type one letter in it. Use a strong and bold font. Increase the size of that letter to a high value.
  • Convert the text frame with the letter inside to outlines.
  • Now, convert it back to a text frame.
  • Double click it or use the Story Editor to add a lots of the same letters to that text frame:

Custom Frames

At first glance, frames in Scribus are always rectangular. But that’s not true: a frame in Scribus can have an arbitrary form. There are two ways to obtain a non-rectangular frame in Scribus:

Create a (rectangular) frame in Scribus and edit it as described in Working with Frames

Create the outer form of the frame in an external application like Inkscape and import it into Scribus as vector graphic via Menu File > Import. SVG, PostScript (PS) or Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) are suitable for this purpose

Use the menu Item > Convert to, and choose either image frame or text frame

Now you can handle the new text or image frame in the same way as you do it with other frames:

The vector graphic you import into Scribus should contain only one path. If there is more than one path in the file, Scribus will convert only the first one.

A Rising Sun Text on Path

Here is an example of an interesting effect combining “Attach Text to Path” with other graphics.

Start out with a semi-circle – here, one of the shapes is used, but of course with Scribus there are many ways to get this result. Make a copy of this since we’ll need it later – slide it off to the side. Take the original and in the context menu click Convert to > Bezier Curve.

Now for the rays for our sun, we’ll use the inverted question mark: ¿

Make a text frame, then enter about 15 or so of those inverted question marks – find them in Insert > Glyph, or press F12, then “00bf” (without quotes). So now your have your text, your Bezier curve, so select both, then use Item > Attach Text to Path.

What you will find is that your question marks follow your path, but may not start at your sun’s horizon. Also you see your sun has disappeared, and check “Show Path” in the Shape tab of the Properties Palette won’t make it appear. This is where your copy of your semi-circle can now be slid into place. In Properties: Shape > Start Offset adjust to get your characters above the horizon.

You will probably need to adjust your font size – this example used Nimbus Roman Bold, 20pt – and perhaps kerning. Finally, make your background sky using a frame with a blue background.

This final example adds a radial fill gradient to our sun – and of course you could use a gradient for the sky as well.


Scribus doesn’t support footnotes yet, and unfortunately, loading texts with foot- or endnotes into scribus doesn’t work with files. In Scribus versions prior to the text ends after the last foot-/endnote, and the notes themselves appear in the text where the foot-/endnote mark is placed. Since the situation has improved, but now all footnotes are stripped during import, so that one has to save and load them separately.

There is, however, an easy workaround for the problem. Write your text in and save it as a HTML file. Then import the HTML file into Scribus. All text is preserved, including foot-/endnotes, which are placed at the end of the text.

  1. Note that you still have to place your footnotes manually if the text or the text frames are changing, but at least all of them are imported correctly and placed as separate items.
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