Aligning multiple text frames and image frames in a book

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I printed the entire thread and went over all the comments one by one.

Thank you so much for your efforts! Nine printed pages. I highly appreciate this. Most of the comments are not new to me or at least very understandable. But there is a huge difference between theory and actually creating a document like this. I learned a lot, that is sure. It was really hard work, this first "book". I also had to await whether it would be failure or success, so I did not continue until all was really good. I am no pro at all, I am a car engineer. I was trained to build cars (in a big team, that is).

Some remarks:

I wanted the design be readable on all screens down to a 7" tablet. That forced me to use a font that, I fully agree, is big on normal screens. I had in mind many using the document to understand Xubuntu would like to be able to read it at the side of the screen. On a tablet or printed on paper. It is even readable on an smartphone screen, but that was not my goal.

A second consideration is to keep elder people and those with other reading issues in mind as well as the many people not very used to serious reading any more.

I considered using two columns. The width of each of the three columns exceeds that of many renowned publications and makes the text better readable.

I had several readers complain about the three column layout, although it is not that very special  as a short visit to the magazine shelf of any public library will quickly show. I also wanted to avoid the impression this document was a book. I wanted it to look a bit like a magazine and reading a interesting story instead of a study book.

Finally: I appreciate any guidelines on getting really good screenshots. Mine are maybe not that nice, but they are very readable unlike quite some commercial books.

Thank you very much, also for the encouragements of which there were much more than I first thought, once I sat down to go over it all.

I welcome the ideas about something on proper layout design. It really sounds  like an excellent idea!


Quote from: jvecht on October 11, 2014, 05:37:37 PM
I had several readers complain about the three column layout, although it is not that very special  as a short visit to the magazine shelf of any public library will quickly show.

Yes, but this is almost always related to the fact that the pages are so large that full width lines would be to long. The optimal line length is usually said to be somewhere between 50 and 70 characters, but it depends a bit on the font used, leading and the language (long/short words).

If lines are to short, you get the feeling of reading downwards instead of left to right. If the lines are to long, you have problems finding the start of the next line.

In books, this is usually solved by adding large margins, in magazines and papers it's solved by using several columns. But the number of columns depends on the font size.


I have started work on my second book on Mint as I mentioned before.

I am now considering to first build an entire test set to try out all that was suggested. One of the problems with the first book was sheer lack of experience with creating a rich content book. There were simply too many items to watch while changing things here and there. Now with a better view on the road ahead it sounds wise to split test and production. It should also be a test bed to find a good workflow.

I will try a 2 columns A4 landscape set-up for one thing aside of the old 3 column one. I will try a smaller font size too as well as more space between columns. I will also try to get things done without the place-holder text frame but with the layer configuration as suggested.

The first page with the list of contents is to be set up fully different to follow the comments on this page.

All other comments I intend to follow up.


One thing you could also do, for testing, is to take your old document and make changes to it. You only need to do it for yourself, so see if you think it improves or not.

A few years ago I took over a computer club's member magazine together with a couple of other members (we had for years complained about the magazine and finally they said "fine, do it yourself", and we did! :) ). One of the first things we did was a design makeover, and then we did the same (sample, just 8 pages instead of the normal 16-20) magazine in two or three different layouts. I first made one that was similar to how the magazine looked 4-5 years before, but the other guys thought we shouldn't do a major makeover so I did another one (same content, just other layout) more similar to the latest, while one of the other guys also made one. And then we took the best parts from the different samples and used.