Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Scribus Pt. 1

     Scribus is a tool for Open Source Desktop Publishing, as the splash image says. You ever try just using a word processor to create a brochure or something, you just don't have enough tools and options, Scribus fixes nearly all of that. It doesn't come with spell checking though, which is really sad.

     You can download Scribus by simply going to your software manager and searching fro Scribus and installing, or using your package manager by searching for Scribus. You can also install via the terminal by typing sudo apt-get install scribus. For Windows/Mac users visit their website and download the installer package.

     Once installed you are ready to rock and roll.

     Launch Scribus from the menu, or terminal, or whatever, it doesn't really matter how you launch it, so long as you launch it. :)

     On launching you'll see this greeting window.


     We're going to make a single page document, so we'll click on that and then change the size. We'll be using Letter size paper, with a Landscape orientation, landscape is the future, everything is widescreen these days, no reason to make our brochure anything different. Lets change the default unit to be inches, as we don't want to deal with metric or picas or any of those funny measurements. We can leave everything else at default values.
     Take a deep breath and click on the OK button, do it.

     We're greeted with a great blank white screen.

     First we're going to add a title, hit the letter 'T' on the keyboard, or click on the small icon of the A with a couple lines below it, right under the Windows menu, and then click and drag a box, the size doesn't matter, as we'll be changing that in a minute. Release the mouse to finish the box. The Box will be selected and by right clicking in said box, and selecting Edit Text... or by using the keyboard shortcut of Ctrl + T you can pull up the Story Editor.


     Let's give our event a really cool name, like Super Cool Linux Event. There are many options, and I could never cover them all, so I'll just cover the ones I use most, and let you explore the rest. Hovering over most of the icons will give you a little pop-up dialog that lets you know what clicking the button will do.

     First let's change the font, select the text, Ctrl + A or click and drag from one end of the text to the other, it's up to you. I find keyboard shortcuts to be faster, but that might just be me. Click on the box that says Cecily Regular, (Note it could be different in your document, but in the picture here that's what it says, just find that button in the Story Editor.) I have thousands of fonts, so all the fonts I use you might not have, don't worry though, you can use any font you like, I'll try and stick with fonts I think everybody has. Look around in the list and pick a font you like, I chose Ubuntu Regular. HINT: if you are looking for a certain font, rather than scrolling around to find it, you can type the first couple letters and it will scroll to that section, saving you time, and time is money.
     We really want to grab peoples attention, so lets make the font bigger. In the box directly on the right of the font selection hover and roll the scroll wheel up, if you have a scroll wheel, if you don't you can type the number in directly, or click the up and down arrows to change the size. I'm going to go with 42 pt, feel free to chose whatever you like though.
     So we've been making some changes, but haven't seen anything update yet, what's up with that? well the text in the story editor never changes font or size, though you can change them in preferences, but if we want to update the text box on our canvas we need to click on the icon of the page with the little green arrow, right above the right corner of the font selection. Click that button now. You'll see the text update on our canvas, unless the Story Editor is above your texts location, which if it is you can move the Story Editor. Using this button will update the text box without closing the Story Editor, if you want to update the text and close the Story Editor click on the Green Check-mark just three buttons to the left.


     Eek! what happened? well our text is too long to fit in the box and with the current paragraph settings the font is running over itself, we only want a single line though, so we have a quick fix, just click and drag one of the Red Boxes in the center on the sides to make the box longer. The text will run as a single line once the box is long enough, you'll have to release the box before the text will update. Let's spice up the font a little, add a shadow and change the color. Highlight the text again and click on the box where it says black, next to the fill bucket, and change that to an orange, Ubuntu is orange after all. If you don't have orange as a color option, DON'T PANIC, you won't, by default, the color pallet if very small when you start, but we can add new colors, either defined colors, or we can create our own. To do that click on Edit>Colors a dialog will open, where we can add new colors or import, for right now we'll just add a few new colors.


     Click the button that says new. another box will open.


     The box that says HSV Color Map is a menu, hence the two buttons on the right side, click on that box and a long list of color groups will show up, select Ubuntu CMYK for now and select Ubuntu Orange and click OK. Repeat that process and add Server Dark Aubergine. Add a few more colors from any color group you want we'll want to spice up our poster with colors later on. I've added a few from the CrayonTM so if you want to match my colors that's where to look. Here's the color dialog now that I've added some colors.


     Click OK to close that box and then go back to the Story Editor window. We'll have to close the window and open it again to get the new colors listed, so click the power button, or the green checkmark to close the window and bring it back up, Ctrl + T. Highlight the text again, CTRL + A and select Ubuntu Orange from the color option box. Let's add a shadow as well, see that line of small icons under the font selection, the one on the far right is a shadow, click on it. The box just a bit to the right will sudden become active, because we have a secondary color that we can change, it will be black now, but change it to Server Dark Aubergine. Click that little page with the green arrow again to update our text. Let's add an exclamation mark to the end, just type that at the end, and click the green check to update text and close the window.
     We're going to move the text now, right click and select properties, the bottom option, or hit F2. The Properties dialog will open, there is a lot of material here, but don't sweat it, we'll cover it in time. Right now we only care about the Geometry. Change the X-Pos to 3 and the Y-Pos to 1, you can use the Tab key to cycle between the text boxes, which speeds things up, you can also change the numbers with the scroll wheel. Just because I like things to be pretty I'll change the box size to 6.5 wide and 1 high. We can close the properties box by hitting F2 or clicking the little 'x' in the upper corner. Let's add a little rotation to the title and then save for now. To rotate the text click on the rotate icon, the blue square with the arrows and the rotated blue square, or just hit R on the keyboard. Hitting R or clicking the icon will change your cursor to the rotate tool, and you can click on an object and drag to rotate it. I'll go for about five degrees. When rotating a little box shows showing the degrees you are at, if you want it to be exactly five degrees pull up the properties, F2 and type 5 in the rotation box. Click anyplace on the canvas to de-select the text and admire the beauty. It would be a good idea to save now, just click File>Save or Ctrl + S and give it a name, and put it someplace where you'll be able to find it in the future for part two.


     I'll be posting part two shortly, just as soon as I have time to put it together. While waiting for that to get online, explore, create a new file, if you're worried you might ruin what you have so far, and experiment with the other buttons in the Story Editor. See what you can find on your own, there really isn't any danger, or anything to worry about. If something get's messed up, you can always exit without saving.
     Check out part two here.