Author Topic: Can't get the hang of changing text fonts etc  (Read 5333 times)


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Can't get the hang of changing text fonts etc
« on: January 17, 2017, 06:23:08 pm »
I've not used Scribus for a while and seem to remember having difficulty with this before. Excuse me if I've already posted about this and been given an answer - this site doesn't seem to offer a 'search by poster' option. Edit: OK I've just found how to do this, via my profile. I haven't posted about this before.

I'm using version1.4.6 and when I create a text frame and insert some text, I can't seem to subsequently change the text font, spacing etc reliably. Sometimes it works other times it refuses to change.

Here's what I'm doing. I left click on the text frame, then right click and choose Edit Text. I left click and drag over the text to be changed, to highlight it, then I select a new font, or text height, whatever. Say I change the font to 14 point (then click on the green tick box). The text does change but when I go into it again, it shows as only 12 point. Other times the text doesn't change. Also, changing the vertical or horizontal spacing sometimes works and sometimes doesn't - it seems very unpredictable.

Am I doing this wrong? What is the correct method? Thanks. :(
« Last Edit: January 17, 2017, 06:25:50 pm by JohnB47 »


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Re: Can't get the hang of changing text fonts etc
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2017, 05:38:02 am »
Welcome JohnB47!  I'm afraid you are face to face with a couple of the shortcomings of the "Story Editor". It is easier and more productive to bypass the story editor entirely than to fight it, and as far as I can tell, you lose no functionality. If I am wrong there, I hope a more sophisticated user of Scribus than I will step in to correct me.

I should state clearly that I love Scribus, the "Story Editor" notwithstanding.

My first suggestion is to have the "Properties" dialog open all the time.  The "Properties" dialog allows you to directly interact with your written matter without the intermediary "Story Editor". Ignore any suggestions in the Scribus Wiki that the "Story Editor" is the way to fly. It is not.

So, first off, you can add text directly to a text frame - just copy and paste or write directly for short work. Once you have created a text frame, double click within to place the insertion point (and the attention of the program) inside the frame. Then you can simply type or copy and paste text within.

Should you wish to modify the properties of only a portion of the text within, select that bit of text and then use the "Text" tab within the "Properties" dialog. You can change point size /height of selected text, or change the font, or boldness / weight, or if the typeface has them, change to italics.

You can change line spacing by very fine increments - select "Fixed Linespacing"  and fiddle with the points spacing between lines. I'm using a different version of Scribus so if my description varies from what you see, it is almost certainly that they keep improving Scribus and that what I see is different. Regardless, line spacing appears to be applied to paragraphs and not to individual lines. The trick here is that you can make Scribus see a single line as a paragraph by hitting "Enter" at the end of a line. Don't do this unless you need to because it can make other things more fussy. But if you want to fine tune a single line break it off by treating it as a separate paragraph.

In all these bits of tuning, you will immediately see that changes you are making. Much easier than the remote control of the "Story Editor".

I should speak to how important it is to put the attention of the program where you want it. If you click outside the frame you wish to modify, nothing will happen, and you will sometimes be misled into thinking something is amiss.

If your frame is active, it will be outlined in red. If you have single clicked, the frame border will be red and show tiny circles in each of the corners and in the midpoints of each edge. Now the program is attending to the frame itself, and any change you make will change everything in the frame. Use the "Properties" dialog to adjust your text.  If you change, say, text size, all text in the frame will change uniformly to your new setting, even if you previously had created various sizes.

If you double click within a text frame with text in it, the focus of the program is now different. The focus is off the frame and on the text itself. You should see an insertion point blinking within your text so that you could type in more right there.  A second visual confirmation that you are in this second mode of focus is that the red frame border has lost the little circles, and now the frame has just straight red outlines. Now that your focus no longer upon the frame itself, but is within the frame, and you can now drag to select portions of text and use the "Properties" dialog to fine tune properties like size, boldness, spacing, and only do so to your selected text. Again, the immediate response of the actual text means you can see your results immediately and that makes it far easier to fine tune what you are doing.

I'm sure I have written something poorly so please ask any questions that I have left unanswered. Or anything new that occurs to you.


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Re: Can't get the hang of changing text fonts etc
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2017, 12:03:17 pm »
One small - but important - thing to add to the explanation above is that when you have the text frame selected - single-click the frame, rather than double-click - and apply changes to the text formatting, you are applying the changes to the paragraphs of the the text in the frame rather than applying the changes to the frame itself.

The text frame does not "hold" any text formatting information in itself. The text formatting information is "held" by the paragraphs that the frame is displaying. The way that Scribus seems to allow you to apply text formatting to the frame is just a shortcut for "apply this change to all of the paragraphs in this frame".

It might seem strange to point this out but it has confused some users.

P.S. The Story Editor does have some uses in certain situations. One use is if you are editing a long piece of text and you want to get an overview of how the whole text looks without formatting. Another is to check where "special items" - such as page numbers and soft line breaks - are as they will show up in red. In general though, the Story Editor is not good for applying formatting as you can't see what has changed and you can't apply character styles, so I would only recommend it for special cases like those I've just mentioned. So, to expand a little on what CGood has said above, steer clear of the Story Editor unless you really need to use it for what it's good for.


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Re: Can't get the hang of changing text fonts etc
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2017, 11:32:08 pm »
Thank you CGood for such a great reply. And to you also, GarryP. Really good info provided and very easy to understand - nothing 'poorly' written at all.

I have had a look and I see exactly what you mean - changing things (and seeing the immediate effect of the changes) is very easy using the Properties dialogue.

Thanks again for the excellent response. I won't hesitate to ask questions in future, although I'm likely to be a fairly light user of Scribus.


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Re: Can't get the hang of changing text fonts etc
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2019, 05:14:19 pm »
There is a little point to add about the Story Editor vs. using the Properties tab to edit a text frame. It appears, in 1.4.6 at least, that changes made to the text frame using the properties tab don't necessarily show up in the Story Editor, and so, after having made. say, one selected word in a text frame "Bold" using the properties tab (contrary to the paragraph style in effect), then if you open the same text frame in Story Editor, the change may be lost if you make further changes there. Some properties may be lost and others retained, so far apparently at random. I have not tested this in detail, and I am not calling it a bug, just observing the idiosyncrasies and how to work with them.

The Story Editor is not that bad if you get used to only using it when necessary to set paragraph styles and to set fonts for individual words within a paragraph, while doing most of the typing in the text frame. It really is quite handy for this. The "flying blind" aspect is not a problem if you just need, say, to select one word and apply a font, and if you are using one-line paragraphs with a variety of styles - such as the case where I have a caption in bold, a note accompanying the caption in default paragraph style, an 8-point spacer line, and then a note to the source in 9-point type following a paragraph of descriptive text and preceding an image, then the Story Editor is very useful. It is also very useful where a paragraph flows from one text frame to another, because a block of text which is partly in one text frame and partly in another cannot be selected; in this case, Story Editor permits selecting the desired block of text and doing whatever it is.

While another poster recommended leaving the Properties tab open all the time, this may be inconvenient if you don't have a big monitor. In this case, it is no more inconvenient to open the Story Editor and make a change than to open the Properties tab. There are some things that seem easier with one tool or the other, but it seems to me to make sense to try doing the complete work flow with one or the other, and not to try to use them both for different tasks on the same text frame.

I'm getting a little warning from the forum software that this is an old thread. But Google pops up these old threads all the time when I look for Scribus info, and if the discussion appears to be incomplete some additional input might be useful to some future user - including maybe me! since sometimes I go searching for some piece of info again when I forget it - I may run into my own old post and say, oh yeah! I went through this already.