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  1. SapereAude

    SapereAude Active Member

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    Scribus question

    Discussion in 'Software' started by SapereAude, Feb 12, 2021.

    I did my first book (non-fiction) using Word, for both the e-book and print versions. The print version isn't bad (from a technical, book manufacturing perspective), but there is one thing I'm not happy about: I have widow and orphan protection turned on, and the result is that on some pages the text ends a line or two before the bottom margin. Where this occurs on one of two facing pages (which, of course, is where it's most likely to occur) the bottoms of the pages don't align. Not good.

    Years ago, when I was doing a newsletter for a non-profit, I used an MS-DOS desktop publishing program that was in many respects a subset of Quark Express. (It wasn't from Quark, but it worked a lot like Quark.) That program took care of balancing columns and pages. Unfortunately, it didn't survive the transition to Windows, so I don't have it available to me. I have Microsoft Publisher, but I find it to be either incomprehensible, or else mind-numbingly obtuse. Even though it's included in the professional versions of Microsoft Office, it seems to me that Publisher is designed and intended for doing two-page pamphlets, and not much more. I can't imagine trying to do a book with it.

    Which brings me to Scribus. It's free, which means I can afford it. I have downloaded and installed it, but I'm having a problem with the learning curve -- probably because it's quite different from my old desktop publishing program, and my neurons and synapses are still wired to that program.

    Does anyone here use Scribus? If so -- does it take care of balancing out page/column lengths?
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2021
  2. SapereAude

    SapereAude Active Member

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    As an update: late last night I found on the Internet a template for Microsoft Publisher that can be used for books. I downloaded it, opened it, and imported some sample text.

    It doesn't correct line spacing to balance page ends on facing pages. I was disappointed, but not terribly surprised. This was not a Microsoft template, it came from a third party web site. It's clear from the templates that Microsoft provides that they didn't intend for Publisher to be used for much more than menus, advertising brochures, and greeting cards.

    So ... back to Scribus. Has anyone here used it? How well does it (or doesn't it) handle balancing out page alignment?
     
  3. SlayerC79

    SlayerC79 Active Member

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    Sorry, can't help you, as I havent used Scribus, or even heard of it. I use Scrivener.

    You wrote a novel in Word?! That, to me, sounds like torture with a side of mental torment.

    People that write, and complete, books using Word, get my utmost and undying respect.
     
  4. SapereAude

    SapereAude Active Member

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    Not a novel -- non-fiction. But, yes, I wrote it in Word. I will do my next book (also non-fiction) in Word. And if/when I ever get around to doing the novel that has been bouncing around inside my head for nearly twenty years, I'll do that in Word, as well.

    I have a friend who uses Scrivener, and recommends it highly. Based on his descriptions of it, I can't imagine that I would ever want to even try it. Different strokes for different folks.

    But this thread isn't about writing tools. I'm looking for desktop publishing tools -- I'm specifically looking for page layout software that automatically balances the lengths of the text blocks on facing pages. Word doesn't do it. Serif PagePlus doesn't do it. Microsoft Publisher doesn't do it. Does anything do it, or does that have to be done manually?
     
  5. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I've tried scribus... unimpressed.

    If you don't want to pay out for indesign the new serif package affinity publisher is probably going to be your best bet... that said i'm not sure even indesign automatically balances text like that
     
  6. SlayerC79

    SlayerC79 Active Member

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    Word is too linear for my tastes and it makes things completely disorganized and makes it almost impossible to find anything specifically, if you want to edit, etc.

    Well, technically, Scrivener is a desktop publishing tool. It combines the pages. Adds a cover etc, and you print them.
     
  7. SapereAude

    SapereAude Active Member

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    I don't do software by subscription.
     
  8. ThunderAngel

    ThunderAngel Contributor Contributor

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    Scribus is a great program, but it works a little counter-intuitively. I used it to create one of my character memoirs, and it turned quite well.

    You have to create text frames on your pages and “Link” them in sequence. Then you just import your text file, and Scribus takes care of arranging it within the text frames.
     
  9. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Affinity publisher isnt by subscription https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/publisher/#buy its usually 49.99 currently half price
     
  10. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    I've tried Scribus and lost two months of my life. I finally gave up and turned to Adobe InDesign, and that's what I advise, especially for someone who is just starting.
    Scribus isn't up to the task for novel/book publishing yet. It works for a publication with only a few pages, like a pamphlet or a short magazine. More than that, you're wasting your time.

    https://www.writingforums.org/threads/scribus.153704/
     
  11. SapereAude

    SapereAude Active Member

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    Thank you for that link. Line alignment is exactly what I want to be able to control (preferably as automatically as possible), so the fact that Scribus doesn't do it well or easily is important information for me. On top of what appears to be a rather steep learning curve, I may give up on Scribus. (I noted that you tried version 1.4.7. It's now only up to 1.4.8, so probably not much has changed.)

    I have the last version of Serif PagePlus, which I bought shortly before they dropped PagePlus and came out with Affinity Publisher. I may try PagePlus. Meanwhile, I fired off an e-mail to Serif to see if, as a registered user of PagePlus, I get any discount toward Affinity Publisher.

    I wish my old copy of Quark Express would run under Windows 10, but there's no possibility. I bought it when the current version of Windows was 3.1.
     
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  12. ThunderAngel

    ThunderAngel Contributor Contributor

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    I'm a Linux user, so I have a higher tolerance for quirky software than probably most Windows users have. I don't blame anyone for wanting a more user-friendly experience.

    Personally, I love Scribus. It may not be as straightforward a desktop publishing app as it should be, but it has a lot of pro-level features that I really like. :)
     
    InkyBlue likes this.
  13. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    Amazing how anybody was able to write with a typewriter. Or pen and paper before that. Or a chisel and stone tablets. Imagine if Moses had Scrivner?
     
  14. SapereAude

    SapereAude Active Member

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    How well does Scribus handle line alignment -- if it does at all? To be honest, I'm more concerned with just aligning the bottoms of facing pages but ideally all lines should align.
     
  15. SlayerC79

    SlayerC79 Active Member

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    He'd probably be up-in-arms that it's been 4 years and L&L still havent released Scrivener 3 for Windows.
     
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  16. ThunderAngel

    ThunderAngel Contributor Contributor

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    I know that if you link the text layers in sequence it will import the text file entirely for you. I'm not certain what you mean by line alignment though. Do you mean spacing between paragraphs?
     
  17. SapereAude

    SapereAude Active Member

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    No, not spacing between paragraphs. Ideally, in a physical book with facing pages, you want the lines of type on one page to line up with the lines of type on the facing page, AND you definitely want the bottom of the text blocks on both pages to align. When using Word, if you have widow and orphan protection turned on, often one page will end on or two lines higher than the facing page. If you look at a professionally-typeset book, that never happens. My [very] old desktop publishing program from decades ago handled that automatically, but I don't know how. (Probably by subtly adjusting the line spacing, which might mean that individual lines don't precisely align across the facing pages.)

    So the question is whether or not Scribus takes care of that for us.
     
  18. ThunderAngel

    ThunderAngel Contributor Contributor

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    I think it does. The text frames usually fill themselves up with text, so it would be pretty uniform.
     
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  19. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    In those days, one did not download Scrivener, one needed to become a scrivener.
     
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  20. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Paul was a PC, Moses was a Mac.

    [​IMG]
     
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  21. SlayerC79

    SlayerC79 Active Member

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    Yeah, that makes sense. I knew there was a reason for me not liking Moses... him and his iPad.
     
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  22. InkyBlue

    InkyBlue New Member

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    I do, too. I’ve been a designer for awhile. Learned on PageMaker, quickly moved to Quark, then to InDesign. All good software titles. So is Scribus which may lack a few things - mainly ways of handling tasks which you’re used to. However, Scribus has a mature toolset, and there are designers around the world who use it to do serious, pro-level work.

    I’m soured on the adobe experience because - in my opinion and experience - their software continues to misbehave more and more. Throw in the cloud subscription and I just had to push away - in my personal work.

    You may like Affinity Publisher. Tame price, excellent tools.
     
  23. SapereAude

    SapereAude Active Member

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    After experimenting a bit more with Scribus ... I'm going to splurge and buy a copy of Affinity Publisher. What was holding me back was that I work on/with multiple computers (it's all just me, but I bounce back and forth among a couple of desktop machines, a couple of laptops, and a couple of tablets). I don't want to get into having to buy five or six copies of a program just so I can have it on all my computers. Customer Service at Serif says I can install it on as many machines as I want, as long as they are all mine. I hope they aren't lying to me.

    It seems to get almost universally good reviews. Scribus may be capable of handling everything I want/need to do, but good God! The user manual could only have been written by a programmer -- it's incomprehensible to a mere mortal.

    Not only that -- Scribus (the most recent download) doesn't recognize the .docx file format. Now THAT's lame!
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2021
  24. SapereAude

    SapereAude Active Member

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    Another affordable candidate considered ... and eliminated. Whilst surfing for the Affinity web site, I came across a DTP program called PUBLISH-iT. That's pretty darned close to Publish-It!, which was the DTP I knew and loved thirty or so years ago. It's shareware, with a 21-day free trial period, so I downloaded it and fired it up.

    Like pretty much everything else I've looked at (including Microsoft Publisher), it seemed to be aimed at two- and three-fold brochures, menus, and such. I couldn't find anything that remotely resembled a template for a book, so I unlimbered the e-mail and sent off an inquiry. And I fairly promptly received a reply ... which recommended against buying their software:

    Publish-iT is really aimed at newsletters, brochures, and short publications. I would not recommend it for a book. You can create a format or template using Master Pages;. For facing pages with mirrored margins, create a master page number -1 for the old pages and page number -2 for the even pages. The master pages contain the header and footer, and the template for where your data would go. There is no way to have multiple chapters with different headers/footers in each chapter.​

    I think the software folks are missing the boat here. With so many people now getting into self-publishing on KDP, Barnes & Noble Press, Smashwords, and Ingram Sparks, I would think that someone would come out with an entry-level DTP program that caters to fledgling (and not-so-fledgling) self-publishers.
     
  25. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Vellum is great for book publishing, if you're on MacOS. It's not cheap, but you can use it for free and play around with it as long as you like until it's time to generate the final book, then you have to buy it. https://vellum.pub

    But it's not a desktop publishing program in the traditional sense. You aren't going to be doing layout of images and all that.
     

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