Scribus UI/UX improvements

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Hi guys,

I did an analyse of current scribus interface and user experience with latest version 1.5. At first I'm an InDesign user since 2006 and work for a while with Scribus. How to say I'm not new in Scribus but I'm missing some nice features for a good intuitive workflow. My first steps with Scribus take a while to understand the logic and relations behind some functionalities.

I've collect all my improvements and ideas in a Google Slide.

Check it out and give me feedback for your point of view and your optinion. It's a living document!

Hint: This document is a rough collection of ideas and will be update time by time. Ignore spelling mistakes and have fun  :D




If you don't want to read all the posts, take a look to the "last state" of the concept here:

I created this presentation to keep the concept up to date on one place. If there are new stuff based on discussions here I will update the concept as well.

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This is seriously awesome. This post and the new Icon post! Full Speed Ahead


Oh, now, I really do like this.

I've been muttering about this kind of thing for years but my crazy random outbursts are scattered around various posts and not in any kind of order like this.

I really like some of the ideas about changes to the Properties Palette (Window Properties in the presentation). This palette has way too much empty/unused space and even before 1.5 it was becoming unwieldy to use. With the extra functions in 1.5 - I especially notice it on OSX - there are so many sub-sub-scroll-lists/areas that it's very difficult to know exactly where you are without a good deal of thought. (See the attached screenshot for one example of the confusion. Notice the two scrollbars together on the right.) I do realise that 1.5 is still in development and things will get moved around, but this is the perfect time to see what can be done.

I particularly like the suggestion to convert the Properties tabs to side-icons (or even top-icons like GIMP). The existing tabs take up way too much space at the moment, so moving them to the side (or top) will free up a lot of extra "real estate".

Also, the different icons look great. Some kind of collaboration between Martin and otx (see the link from Kunda above) would do good things in my opinion.

Using an extra context-sensitive toolbar to offer some of the adjustments - like Inkscape, as mentioned in the presentation - Window Main (Tools) - instead of elsewhere looks very nice too. Anything to make the interface clearer and easier to use.

If I could add one extra thing, the Shape and Group tabs of the Properties Palette have much the same effects but on different things (with a couple of exceptions). Could they not be combined and made context sensitive? I.e. If you've got a group selected it offers group-related effects, or shape-related effects when the object selected isn't a group. It's just a thought.

I'll need to have a look at the presentation again but this could be a very good and much-needed step in the right direction.

A really great start Martin.

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yeah, awesome proposal!

now need to get it to the next step, where we produce specifications and files people can work with!

for the last year i've been collecting ideas in a github repository. one idea per project:

most are just in draft status, some even just a placeholder.

the idea is to fill it with details until somebody picks it up and can implement it.

you're welcome to fork it and making pull requests to it!
if possible with projects that are small enough, that there is a chance that somebody picks it up!
(meta projects like "redoing the UI" are also ok... but i prefer a project "vertical selector in the PP" with icons attached)


did you think you update ux for 1.5 version ?


unfortunately due to lack of manpower, no. Hoping it will happen for the 1.6 milestone.


i understand !
my return about ux
it fill have strange behavior we need to change something in 2 tabs to setup ...(fill and color) i think it was better to insert fill color in fill tabs it was more userfriendly
scribus is realy great !!!
i love it


Yea, the PP (preference panel) needs love. The devs know about this already. thanks for your feedback


Maybe this topic will attract UX/UI folks that can actually collaborate and implement some of these changes before Craig/Jean make time for it. Lets hope


I'm glad this is being talked about!! I just downloaded to take a peak at what is new in 1.5 and right away I was blown away that the Properties window is a step BACKWARDS. At least in 1.4.x whatever category you were on was all you saw, so it was easy for my eyes to place buttons and what I was doing.

Now is 1.5 it's just one long scrolling list of EVERYTHING, which makes it very difficult to quickly see things and know exactly where I am in my work flow.

I really hope either the improvement suggested in the first post is seriously considered as it's beautiful, streamlined and is a nicer way of how 1.4.x worked OR the devs just go back to the 1.4.x model of things.

I have no clue why anyone would want a loooooong scrolling list of everything. It's MUCH easier to click on a category and see the options then to have to scroll to find a category first or always remembering to close one after you are done with it. It's now extra work. Seems backwards!


1.5 is a dev release. 1.5.1 is where the changes are being made with new icon set and such. I think the devs are planning to update the PP before 1.6
Scribus definitely has a developer shortage. Looking at the codebase, it's an enormous undertaking to keep this DTP going and staying relevant. If you have any skills or know anyone that would like to volunteer...Scribus is open to proofs of concepts and patches.


hi nathbeadle

as kunda says 1.5 is a dev release.

it's a step towards a future 1.6... and everybody hopes that 1.6 will contain a PP with much better usability!

work on it seems to be going on behind the courtains... and i'm as eager as you to see improvements in the properties palette... the current state is really not comfortable to use.


Hi Guys,

after a long time I have made a rework of my initial concept for the property window. The new layout is based on the same tab logic as you can see in the first post. Currently not all tabs are done, but I think the finished parts are a good impression for design strategy.

I look forward to your feedback and I hope you like it.  ;)


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I've made this with Inkscape ... feel free to modify the mockups.


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This is great.

A few things might need to be moved round a bit, but otherwise something like this would make Scribus look fantastic.

A good job done. (Fingers crossed that someone can translate it into Qt.)