Cannot import formating and styles from LibreOffice .odt correctly

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Hello all,

I have just started to use Scribus for a report that I wrote in LibreOffice writer. I experience trouble/unexpected behavior when getting my text into Scribus text frames.

My .odt document contains styles for text fields, header levels, etc. as well as direct formatting of text (italics, bold, superscript). After  creating a text frame and use the "Get text..." option, I import the .odt with the following settings:

  • "Import text only" de-selected
  • "Overwrite styles" selected
  • "Merge Paragraph Styles" de-selected
  • "Use document name as a prefix for paragraph styles" selected

When the test has been imported all formatting of styles and of the directly formatted text is gone. I have no super and subscript, bold text anymore. Moreover the different section styles are not shown and everything is displayed as plain text.

Moreover, in LibreOffice when I import a small document that only contains a title row with style name "Title" and three paragraphs with style name "Text body" the import will create five new styles named "default_style", "Title", "Text body", "P1", "P2", and "P3" (that are all prepended by the document title btw.). Although clearly assigned the "Text body" style in LibreOffice, the three paragraphs are assigned the "P1", "P2", and "P3" styles that were imported. Clearly, the .odt importer has this assignment of the paragraph style wrong.

I have attached the the example file to this forum post (what!? cannot attach .odt file directly in this forum?!)

All these issues prevent me from using my 100 page Libreoffice document in Scribus.

Is there anyone who can give me advise or instructions on this matter. Am I doing something wrong?

Thanks, Pim

[attachment deleted by admin]


Hi Pim.

Scribus currently - 1.4.4 - has no way of importing styles or formatting from ODT documents other than paragraph styles. It's unfortunate but that's just how it is at the moment.

NOTE: Scribus doesn't have a concept of making text "bold". If you need text to be "heavier" then you need to select the "heavier" version of the font. If that font has no "heavier" version then you can't make it "bold". It's the same with italics too.

Sorry I can't be of more help with this but it's just how Scribus works. There may be scripts available but I've not used any and therefore can't advise on their appropriateness or results.

As for importing the text, try selecting "Merge Paragraph Styles". That way the paragraphs with the same style should be given the same style name. Testing your document this way worked fine for me although I don't have the same fonts as you so it will have looked different.

If you've tried that and you're still having trouble, try using the "OpenOffice Writer Documents" Importer in the "Get Text.../Open" dialog (just above "Encoding").   


Dear GarryP,

Thanks for your answer. I will try the "merge" option. Shame that I will lose all my direct text formatting :(

Bye, Pim


OMG! I have about 300 reference in the text that are all in superscript, and there is no regular expression capability in the 'search/replace' dialog of the story board editor?! Can't believe that option is missing really.... Do not think I will consider Scribus in a next project.


Researching what a tool can do is very useful before using it in a workflow.


Yeah sure and I am doing that now... I could circumvent the problem somewhat by using a different citation style that does not use superscript (luckily I have that freedom now).

But on a side note. Given the split responsibilities that scribus and a wordprocessor (WP) have (also according to the scribus manual) it seems a no-brainer to me that scribus SHOULD do justice to direct formatting in text generated by a WP. I write scientific texts that span many pages that are riddled with superscript, bold, italic, etc. that may be automatically generated by citation manager software. It is literally hell to use a search/replace strategy in order to correct formatting in the story editor and not omit/forget something (as I experienced in this project). A second round of rigorous error checking is needed that cost a lot of time. The lack of a regular expression option in search/replace functionality in this respect is also really a BIG omission if there is no import of correctly formatted text from a wordprocessor, since this would offer the user more capabilities to select variable pieces of text depending on the context and apply a character format.

I am sorry if I offend people here, but my work-flow is in no way exotic and is correctly handled by for instance InDesign. I am really into open source community driven software and I respect the hard working people that make scribus possible. But I am a bit amazed that such a fundamental functionality is not addressed by scribus.

Does anyone reading this have an advise on an alternative workflow that enables me to integrate large pieces of formatted text with a large number of images. LibreOffice I tried and starts to bog down and give artifacts when using a large number of image frames.

Thnx, Pim


Well, the best way to improve FOSS is really easy: Provide the code for it.

The road map for Scribus is in the Wiki, there you can see all other issues that the developers work with.

Most people who write scientific text prefer to use some kind of TeX, if you don't want to write the code yourself there's always LyX.


Thnx for the suggestion. I'll check that out. All the best, Pim