Scribus Desktop Publisher's New Version is Much Improved

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 27, 2009

We've written about Scribus, a popular open source desktop publishing application before, and it recently came out in a new version This update is the result of "almost 2 years of intensive work," according to Scribus' community, and it has a number of new features that people wished for in previous versions. It's downloadable now for Windows, the Mac and Linux, and I've been putting it through its paces. Here's what's under the hood in the new version.

Detailed summaries of what's new in the new version of Scribus can be found here, and here. Scribus is released under the GPL, and takes about five minutes to install in its Windows version, mainly due to font libraries and font caches that it generates.

As always, Scribus greets you with a dialog box asking what type of New Document you want to begin working on, although the dialog box has more options now. As you can see in the screenshot below, you can choose multi-sided documents, and I have had good success with creating booklets and pamphlets with Scribus in the past. You can also choose to produce brochures, newsletters, or PDF presentation templates, or simply specify a page layout of your liking and begin customizing a document.

The new version of Scribus is based on Qt 4, and large parts of the canvas and text code have been rewritten. Very notably, there are lots of new import filters for vectors and color pallettes, including formats from Adobe Illustrator and InDesign, which are popular proprietary desktop publishers. Scribus also has a complete interface overhaul, with better looking icons, reorganized dialog boxes, and more. There are also many new templates, and a brochure template is seen below. These can save you lots of time when you want to create standardized documents, including newsletters and booklets.

Scribus also includes many improvements when working with PDF documents, including effects, transitions that you can add, and optional embedding of PDF and EPS files. I also appreciated the new Quick Start Guide, and Font Preview features.

Scribus isn't as robust as top, high-end proprietary desktop publishers, but most of those applications are expensive, and Scribus is more than good enough for creating good looking documents of standard, and a few non-standard types. Give it a try--it's also fun.