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Author Topic: Best way to create this layout?  (Read 3559 times)

philosoraptor

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Best way to create this layout?
« on: January 25, 2014, 12:15:37 pm »
I'm beginning to teach myself Scribus and so far I'm impressed one moment and frustrated the next. I believe the latter reflects my own inexperience more than anything else, so hopefully it will subside when I stop making rookie mistakes. I've been trying to create the general layout I want via Master Pages, but either I don't understand them as well as I think I do or they're the wrong tool for the job.

Maybe I should just describe the end result I want, and ask what the best way to get to it is. I'm sure parts of the answer can be found in wiki pages or similar resources that already exist, so feel free to link me to any such resources that you think I may have overlooked if that will save time.

I want a textbook-like layout with the following features. I will be using it across multiple documents (think of them as chapters), so it can't be tied to one particular document.
  • By default, a page consists of two text frames - a larger one containing the main text, and a smaller sidebar on the outside (left side of left pages, right side of right pages). These each have a specific size, placement and default paragraph style. These frames and their default characteristics are applied automatically as soon as the page is created, or if that isn't possible, can at least be set up in some way that is significantly quicker and simpler than re-doing the entire process of designing the frame.
  • Each "main" text frame is linked to the next page's "main" text frame. Each sidebar frame is linked to the next page's sidebar (somewhat optional - hopefully this bit won't be relevant all that often). "Main" frames are not normally linked to sidebar frames. Again, this should be set up automatically as new pages are created, or if that is not possible, can at least be done quickly and easily.
  • As the amount of text in the combined "main" text frames changes, pages are added or subtracted to accommodate it without my explicitly having to insert them.
  • Some pages might deviate from the usual layout, for example to accommodate an illustration or table. Therefore, I should be able to manually change the size and shape of one or both of the two frames mentioned above for a particular page, without affecting those on other pages (except insofar as this affects which text flows into them). I'm guessing this is just the default, but thought it worth explicitly mentioning anyway.
  • Edit: You can probably ignore the following. According to a post in another forum, there is no (automated) way for Scribus to do this at present. Though I suspect this may be a more advanced topic, ideally, I should be able to set up the following relationship between a particular piece (paragraph or smaller) of the main text - call this the "anchor" - and some other element, be it an illustration, a table, or a paragraph I want in the sidebar: if the anchor moves, the object anchored to it automatically moves with it. In some cases (sidebar content), it should remain lined up with the paragraph it's anchored to. In other cases, it will suffice for the anchored content to be on the same page, or even the same two-page spread, as the anchor paragraph. This has to do with grouping, I'm pretty sure, but the exact implementation eludes me, particularly when one of the things I want to group isn't an entire frame, but a part of the content within one.
I know how to do many individual bits of the above, but being new to DTP in general and Scribus in particular, I can't seem to bring it all together.

Also, much simpler question (which may be part of the above anyway) - how do I save a master page so that it appears as an option in all documents I create, not just the one under whose aegis it was created?
« Last Edit: January 25, 2014, 11:38:35 pm by philosoraptor »

philosoraptor

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Re: Best way to create this layout?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2014, 10:48:09 pm »
To add another detail and maybe give the question a bit more focus:

I tried to set up Master Pages that fit the requirements mentioned in item 1 above, but when I actually add them to a document, the text frames from those master pages are NOT there for me. Instead the entire printable area is set up as one big text frame! If I wanted that, I'd just use the built-in default page, not go to the trouble of setting up my own. Note that "Automatic text frames" was not checked. What was I doing wrong?


Further edit: Also, I guess you can ignore item 5 above. I just found another thread in the Layout forum where someone who seemed to know what they were talking about explicitly said what I describe in 5 can't be done (or rather, can't be automated) in Scribus at present. That's very disappointing but at least now I know, and knowing is half the battle...
« Last Edit: January 25, 2014, 11:35:43 pm by philosoraptor »

Nermander

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Re: Best way to create this layout?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2014, 11:58:34 pm »
Scribus will NOT add pages automatically, you will have to do that manually (but you can chose to insert a dozen pages at once).

Master Pages works as a background to the page, they are NOT page templates.

Best solution for page templates is to use the scrapbook feature. Place the frames on a page, select the content and "send to scrapbook". Then for each page you add, just double click the item in the scrapbook and the content is inserted on the page.

Linking between frames has be done manually, but you can link frames "as needed" (i.e. drop the content into the first text frame even if it's overflowing, then link to the next and the rest of the content will appear in the next frame). If I recall correct you can also quite easily link several frames in a row (just click them in order when zoomed out so you have multiple pages on screen).

philosoraptor

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Re: Best way to create this layout?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2014, 05:15:55 am »
Thanks, that sounds helpful. Seems I need to check out the scrapbook, which I have not come across so far.

I wish there were a way to automate this slightly more - especially given that the main thing I'm trying to do right now is determine what my page count actually is - but this sounds like it will come close enough to not leave me tearing my hair out, at least.

Nermander

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Re: Best way to create this layout?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2014, 09:55:08 am »
You can always add a bunch of pages, add frames to them (with a double click in the scrapbook for each page), link the frames (one click per frame) and then when you start seeing empty frames you stop linking and delete the rest of the pages.

I guess you could also write a script for it, but scripting in Scribus is really not for beginners I think. You have to consider the time to write the script.

utnik

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Re: Best way to create this layout?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2014, 10:25:14 am »
here's another solution, without the scrapbook:
  • create a separate .sla file with as many pages as you need for the different page layouts in your file
  • add your textframes, image, frames, page numbers, graphical elements…
  • save this file as a collection of your page templates
  • while working on your real document, you can import the pages from this template file.
as with the scrapbook, the frames aren't linked by default – you have to do this manually.