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I've done some small flyers with scribus, but now I have quite a big challenge. I need to make the layout of a 400 pages book, with many footnotes in each page.

I have read that in 1.5 version footnotes are available, but the document is meant to print and I don't feel like sending to press a pdf made with a non stable version. Is there anyway to import my footnotes in a previous version.

I'm close to give up, and turn back to indesign, so I'd really appreciate any help



If you really need footnotes in that book, do not use Scribus for it.

While the footnotes in Scribus 1.5svn have some wonderful features, they are not yet stable enough for production use.

There is currently some work being done to solve some of the most urgent issues, but it's really not ready for prime time!

Come back to Scribus after you got the book finished, please! :-)


Thanks a lot,

I'll come back soon ;)


To say, if you need footnotes, don't use Scribus, seems to me to be an un-creative response.
I have struggled with the footnote issue in Scribus for several years, looking for my own
workarounds. Here is what works:

Compose the text in Open Office, which has a good foot-note and end-note engine.
I use the end-note function, which places all of the end-notes on a separate page
or pages at the end of the file. All revisions have to be made in OO and then re-imported
into Scribus, in order to avoid end-note re-numbering hell. The page of end-notes can
be copied and pasted into Scribus easily, but at that point, the notes are no longer
dynamically editable.

This has to do with the fact that Scribus has been designed as a layout program and
not as a composition program like a word processor. In version 1.5 I have been following
the development of the foot-note engine, but it doesn't appear to really suit my needs



I have not yet used footnotes but I note that the default code in embedded raster frame allows LaTeX and within LaTeX code you could try writing footnote/


Hi Dragonfly!
I have always appreciated your point of view, which is very educational,
and you have put a great deal of creative thought into this footnote issue,
but I am not a programmer and won't begin. (Hence, I dropped Lilypond and Atom after
a month or so of experimentation, while being grateful for the educational experience.)
(About thirty years ago I flirted with programming long enough to decide not to.)
And I understand that you ARE a programmer and that it is your thing.

Your suggestion to use LaTex markup for footnotes is very much an under-the-hood
special mod from my POV, as was the whole use of Atom as the feeder for Scribus.
You may see and understand this as a simple process, and I don't reject the possibility, but
merely point out that it is at a level of understanding and expertise that is yours and not mine.

I don't want more under-the-hood technical tools which require extensive learning curves, just
as I would not advise you to make a quick and dirty study of jazz harmony starting today
so that you can get up to speed with your guitar playing and be gig-ready by next week.
I do, however, read your posts and consider what you say, to the best of my understanding.

This writing project has already been several years underway; insofar as I want to do more studying, I want to do it in my own fields, where I have reached a certain level of competence and have a great deal of work to do that probably nobody else is doing. 

My relationship with Scribus development is somewhat as my own relationship as a musician to luthiers:
I know the end results that I want, but I also know that I don't have thirty years at my disposal to learn
luthiery so as to build instruments of the quality that I want. My expertise is in playing them.

I have had a number of custom instruments built and I have a lot to say about how I want the product to perform, but if I am in the shop, they don't give me a job, like, go make the neck for me on the workbench over there... They might let me do a little sanding on some minor part. In that case, I am paying them for the work, which is rather different from Scribus. But the question of how much work I can do myself is similar in scope. If I help the luthier out by being his apprentice and polishing frets, it is indeed educational and even fun, but it is not my own prime directive.

So, that is also my relationship with the Scribus development team, and it is probably the same
for most other end-users: we know generally what we want, but not how to get it.

Strictly speaking we should be paying for it! Therefore, I must certainly express my gratitude
for this _extraordinary freebee_, and that I didn't have to buy InDesign.

so thanks to the whole development team, of course.


hi jack

one component of the idea of free software / open source is that there is a different relationship between the user, the developer and the program.

think about it: the luthier will not ask you to help out, but she won't give you the violin for free, either...

free software is freedom, so you *can* get involved.
of course, you don't have to. it's called freedom!
you can also just use it.
but when you try to shape the free software you're using, others might ask you to become more involved than you would have thought at first.

you're not paying the development team for the work. sometimes developers will think that your ideas are perfect and simply start programming your wishes. sometimes more work will be needed until your idea gets through. sometimes it will never get through.

and, yes, payments are an option for free software too. but in the case of scribus there is no way yet to through money at the problem. maybe there will be one in the future. and this is also something people can help with, without being able to write any code!

of course, there are probably as many views of free and open source software as there are users and programs. my thoughts are not binding for anyone. except for me : - )

have a wonderful weekend



All of this discussion brings this old clip to mind ...

Regarding footnotes, since your bent is not programming, perhaps study citation management.

At the bottom of this page
is this quote ..

QuoteHow to Cite Sheet Music in Chicago Style
According to the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition, cite sheet music the same way as you cite books.
Once you've styled each and every reference, take a minute to run your paper through our plagiarism checker. It's the perfect go-to resource when you're in need of another set of eyes to scan your paper!

Now one of the best citation managers I have found is zotero used by professional librarians.

Two installations are required.

First, the application which runs in your desktop.
Second, an extension which is installed in your browser of choice.

Launch the "standalone" application. I installed mine here .. /opt/zotero/zotero

Open the GUI and you see "My Library" in left pane.

Now you can add "collections" of references (in your case music). You can arrange your library in different collections and sub-collections. You can even publish to the web.

When you browse to a particular site you open Zotero and highlight the collection into which you require to save your site. Then look at the extensions tool bar in your browser and you should see a Zotero icon which if you hover over it says .. "Save to Zotero ... ... "

Now you have your reference (or references) you wish to cite and place in footnotes in your book you are writing via Scribus.

If you look in Zotero documentation there are various plugins.

It also explains

Third-party plugins are also available for integrating Zotero with other word processors and writing systems.

There is ..

LaTeX, TeX, and Plain Text Editors

Now there is reference to Atom editor but you have given up on that idea.

and we read here ..

Zotero to InDesign export, by Kai• Basic implementation of a Zotero to Indesign export, allowing for LaTeX style citations of Zotero items in Adobe's InDesign

Now the thought occurs to me we should surely have a Zotero to Scribus plugin.
No matches for zotero in scribus site.
No matches for scribus in zotero site.

I would not expect you to write such a plugin but it is a subject for further thought.

Incidentally I am not on the Scribus development team. Music was not my best subject.  I just experiment.


@ dragonfly:

Yes, I have to say that a citation manager would be a good thing.
I have considered setting up a database. Thanks for these links.

I should mention that I now have Scribus 1.52 installed and am gingerly
testing the footnote function. So far it is working. I haven't yet established
the limits of its incompleteness. I have high hopes. I have at the moment
opted for using footnotes and not endnotes, so I haven't tried to make endnotes.

There is, of course, another way entirely to manage references which requires no
numbered footnotes, and that is the author-date system (e.g. (jack_cat 2020, p 1) ).
I find this a little cold, and in my own reading of other people's books, I really prefer
numbered footnotes on each page, so that I get the ref at a glance and don't have
to hunt at the chapter end or at the back of the book just to find out whether I want
to look it up.


First difficulty to emerge with footnotes in version 1.5.2: re-ordering the text frames when they are of mixed creation order in the file, so that the footnote numbers correspond to the order on the page and not to the order of frame creation.

I have a page with two text frames. The one higher on the page, with (e.g.) label "text100", is newer than
the one farther down the page with (e.g.) the label "text50". Each contains a footnote. But, even though
"text 50" is farther down the page, its footnote gets the earlier number, because the text frame that it
is in was created earlier. How does one change the order of the text frames? Or do I have to make new
text frames and copy the material over?

Each text frame has a name-number, but although these can be changed, they function only as names, and
not as ordinal numbers.

If you can help, thanks! Otherwise I will keep working on it.


i have mixed feelings about the numbering of footnotes.

in most cases the current behavior is good enough. but indeed it's not a good behavior.

all in all: i don't think that the footnotes in scribus are good enough to be used and i wonder if it's worth to fix this details without first having a concept of how footnotes should and should not behave.


I'm a bit occupied at the moment on other work. But one wild thought did come into my head.

We have the old favourite ScribusGenerator in Scripter.  Now it seems possible to write a spreadsheet with links to documents, urls etc.  Then you could just drop into each textframe the variable %VAR_footnote01% (or other title), export this as CSV and apply to populate your textframes with footmotes. It is like a mail merge. Follow the ScribusGenerator YouTube tutorial to see how this is done. Perhaps get Zotero to dump citations to CSV and then  embed citations into Scribus textframes.


I like Dragonfly's idea of pulling footnotes from a database. Nice. 

Now to the biz at hand:

@ A.L.E. -- I'm sorry that you have mixed feelings about the footnote issue. I am hoping that
it might be fully developed by version 1.6. The automatic numbering of the footnotes is the most
important detail for those who want to use numbered footnotes. It seems to me that it is
appropriate to offer all three common footnote methods as found in the Chicago Manual of Style,
that is, footnotes, endnotes and author-date citations.

I am sandboxing the footnote function in Scribus 1.5.2.
(I can't get 1.5.5 to run on my machine now).
I have mapped a number of things that cause 1.5.2 to crash around the footnote function.
I am not sure that I have a complete list yet.

The issue of the consecutive numbering of the text frames, which causes Scribus to
number the footnotes in the order of the frames if that order is different from the order
on the page, is solved by copying all of the text from an old text frame into a new one in
order to get the footnote numbers to go in the right order. Before doing this, any footnotes
in the text must be deleted, or Scribus will crash when the copied footnote hits the new text
frame. I have not figured out how to renumber the frames and don't believe that this can be
done from within Scribus, although it appears that it should be possible by editing the code
directly, but this I don't want to get into.

I have experimented with copying and pasting blocks of text that have footnotes in them,
and it seems to work sometimes but crash more often. The best practice, then, in moving a
block of text containing a footnote:
(1) copy footnote to a separate text file
(2) delete footnote)
(3) copy remaining text, paste in new location
(4) copy footnote text into clipboard
(5) insert new footnote in new location
(6) paste footnote text
(7) Un-weld footnote frame and move to bottom of page.

I will list other specific crash behaviours as I find them.
I am VERY PLEASED  that the automatic numbering function is working,
and I have high hopes that I can not only make it work well enough
but will be able to map the faults which will make it crash, and
that may make it possible for others to use it as well.



Some footnote misbehaviours to add to the list:
It seems to be impossible to grab the handles of the text box containing the
footnote text in order to re-size the box. I am working on this. Instead
of the re-size arrow, I get only a Hand symbol for moving the entire text frame.

Sometimes the text which I paste into the footnote frame immediately after inserting
the footnote fills the frame perfectly and the footnote frame size auto-adjusts. Other times it
does not, and the red x appears in the lower rh corner. It is possible to click the red x
and cause the insertion of another linked text frame which contains the overflow.
This is weird, better to merely enlarge the first frame, if I could grab the handles;
nevertheless it gives workable results in the .sla file so far.

It would be nice if the footnote engine would look for and recognize a style called "footnote"
so that I would not have to reset the style of the footnote frame every time. The text which
I paste into the footnote frame after inserting the footnote goes in in default paragraph style
at 11 points, and so I have to select it and change the style, and italicize the title. There may
be no way around this. I think that there will have to be a sub-routine in the footnote engine
to define the footnote style, and that this could be linked to the style editing window.


So, the rule I have established is, hit that Save button before doing anything
to or with a footnote!

I report the following crash sequences. I'm not complaining, just reporting.

I have a page with one text frame and four footnotes. I put three footnotes
in without a crash; the third note caused an overflow of the footnote text frame.
I did "select all" within the footnote text frame and set the style to "footnote",
and the footnote text frame resized itself and accomodated all three footnotes.

The 4th note caused the box to overflow again. The routine of "select all" etc
did not work. So, I hovered the mouse over the red x in the lower rh corner and
clicked on the message that offered to add another frame. The new note filled
the new frame. So far so good.

I had a stray extra line that was in between two of the notes where I had copied
an extra carriage return. When I deleted this line, Scribus crashed. It was
kind enough to give me a message: "Scribus crashes due to xxxx exception"
(sorry I didn't screenshot the error message.)

Here's another crash for no particular reason, I was just editing a text frame,
and, again deleted a line. I HAD been editing footnotes, but I was not doing so at the time. 
There was a footnote in the text frame. The style had been lost on the paragraph somehow,
and I had just reset the style of the paragraph the footnote was in.
  Application Name:   Scribus.exe
  Application Version:
  Application Timestamp:   5739eced
  Fault Module Name:   Scribus.exe
  Fault Module Version:
  Fault Module Timestamp:   5739eced
  Exception Code:   c0000005
  Exception Offset:   005e6272
  OS Version:   6.1.7601.
  Locale ID:   1033
  Additional Information 1:   0a9e
  Additional Information 2:   0a9e372d3b4ad19135b953a78882e789
  Additional Information 3:   0a9e
  Additional Information 4:   0a9e372d3b4ad19135b953a78882e789