Getting Started With Scribus


Scribus is an incredibly easy tool when used properly. Setting up a new document can be tricky, but hopefully the following information will guide you to creating work that you are proud of. By changing the layout, margins, and page length, you can start to creatively mold your document the way you want.

New Document Setup

When you open Scribus, a dialogue box titled "New Document" will appear on your desktop. The first tab, which will be open already, is also called New Document with the following categories:
  • Document Layout
  • Margin Guides
  • Bleeds
  • Options

Under the Document Layout section of the dialogue box and select your layout. There are 4 different kinds of layouts you can choose from.
  • Single page layout
  • Double sided layout
  • Three-fold layout
  • Four-fold layout

After selecting your layout, you will be able to change your layout orientation. To the right of the layout option is where you can choose between landscape (vertical) or portrait (horizontal) for your layout orientation. You also have the option to adjust the length and width of your page, located below the orientation option.
**Note--if you are using standard printer paper the length is 11 inches and the width is 8.5 inches.


In the Margin Guides you can change the size of your margins, which will be different for every project depending on how much space you want around the edges. To the right of the Margin Guides is the Options section; here you can set the number of pages you want and the default unit of measure for your document. You can change the number of pages later by adding them or removing them, but it's easier if you have a general idea of how many pages you need at the beginning. You can use any unit of measure that you choose, but if you're in the United States it's recommended you use inches so you have some clue about how big your document actually is.

An additional reason to consider margin space is for layout purposes. Before creating each page, you want to have a general idea of what the page’s function is to ensure that you have enough room on the page. If the page is a newsletter, it will require a different setup than a magazine or newspaper spread and etc. Things to consider while configuring the first page:
  • Will this page have pictures?
  • How much of the page will be text?
  • Where and how will the title be positioned?
  • How large will the text/pictures be?

Navigating Scribus

While Scribus has multiple tools on the top tool bar, the tool that provides the most flexibility, navigation wise, is the white arrow located in the middle area of the top toolbar. If another item on that top toolbar is selected, this may prevent you from navigating efficiently.
Some key icons to take note of are the icons directly to the right of the navigational white arrow. The white paper with an ‘A’ icon is the insert text tool and the icon to the right of the text tool is for inserting images.
To view important workspace information throughout editing, you may want to have the Properties dialogue box open. To open the Properties dialogue box, click "Window" on the menu bar and select "Properties." The Properties dialogue box allows the editor to view margins, shapes, groups, images, texts, lines, and colors all in one place.