Author Topic: Illust. encylopedia 1 big text box or individual text box for each entry?  (Read 2129 times)


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Hello all!
I'm making an illustrated Shakespearean encyclopedia with over 400 entries. Each image (which I am drawing) has a gloss (text) to go with it. The text will be on the left hand side and the accompanying image will be on the right.

The entries will be objects, plants, animals, personalities, and places that are mentioned in Midsummer Night's Dream.

I am trying to figure out if I should make one big text block and then add the images in after or make an individual text box for each gloss that is connected to its image box.

I am new to Scribus but have used MS publisher and In Design.

Thank you!  :)


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Good luck with your project.

It will help readers if you explain what OS you are using. And what tool for drawing images?
I am just another user figuring out how to integrate Scribus in a toolchain using other tools.
Since you will be managing more than 400 document fragments I would spend some time figuring out how to manage these.
I have learned from posting my own questions that you should not link all your textframes otherwise Scribus will become sluggish in compiling.
If you plan to wrap your text flow around 400 or so images, understand that images and text need to be on different layers. Search the forum for advice on text wrapping around images.
I would draw images in Inkscape (svg format).  You can add effects by using Blender (but that is for advanced usage).  There is at least one post I found in the forum explaining how to pass an svg logo developed in Inkscape into Blender.

My own experiments include integrating Atom editor with Scribus. For your project I would write the 400 text objects as separate markdown sections and concatenate the text by using markdown @import (400 text sections plus 400 images so 800 @imports in total). The important package to install in Atom is markdown-preview-enhanced. That converts to different formats which can then be imported into Scribus.

Now since you are working on a Shakespeare encyclopedia I should point you to a native XML database manager eXist-db which in my view would be ideal to hold your 400 sections.

I have not thought this through, but my guess is that eXist-db should be added to the toolchain

For example searching “dragon” from PDF found here

I find this ..

Page 49, Act 3, Scene 2


My fairy lord, this must be done with haste,
For night's swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger:
At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there,
Troop home to churchyards: damned spirits all,
That in crossways and floods have burial,
Already to their wormy beds are gone;
For fear lest day should look their shames upon,
They wilfully themselves exile from light
And must for aye consort with black-browed night

By using Scribus and eXist-db and Atom in your toolchain you can build a printed and on-line search encyclopedia.

On the other hand you could write your encyclopedia entirely in Scribus. But I argue that it will be difficult to manage changes (particularly when pages overflow, as I have found from trial and error).


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Thank you so much for your response. At this point I am such a Scribus noob that half of what you said I will need to research to understand. I don't think I want to build an online searchable encyclopedia. just a dead tree book.

I am using Windows 10 and I am writing the text in Word. I am drawing the images either in pen and ink and scanning them in, or drawing them in photoshop. It depends what the image is but they will all end up as .jpgs


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Let us stay with the basics, leaving the advanced stuff for future learning..

I use Ubuntu so I don't remember the options with Word 10.

But at its most basic you will need to create a content file system for fragments of text documents which you can easily import into Scribus textframes.

So you might create a project directory (a tree) to reflect the flow of your encyclopedia, page by page.

Using Word 10 you create text sections which match each of your images you painstakingly draw.

Then for each Scribus page you create one or more linked textframes (for your text) and an image frame (for the image such as dragon associated with the text).

There are multiple tutorials and wiki sections explaining this process and I will not expand further.


I will venture to suggest that instead of (or in addition to) Word 10 you experiment with a notes editor to build a repository of your 400 or so sections.   I have previously suggested Atom but here is another suggestion you might try out.

Windows installer:

You can then write each of your pieces of text and then copy/paste these into your Scribus textframes.

Since you will be associating an image with each section of text you can create for each node a subnode which holds only the jpg image.

This means that you might have 400 nodes with 400 subnodes in a tree structure.

You could further organise your tree to reflect categories such as objects, plants, animals, personalities, and places as you wrote earlier. You can add tags to Cherrytree nodes for cross reference

Using this approach you can maintain some degree of control over your external content to be copied/pasted manually into Scribus document in a workflow. Keep content and layout separate.

However, it is still a painstaking process to manually copy/paste hundreds of text sections with images into Scribus.  In later weeks I might add how to automate this process using a script.


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Re: Illust. encylopedia 1 big text box or individual text box for each entry?
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2018, 08:03:35 pm »
Since I am a simple-minded idiot, it always takes me a while to figure out what Dragonfly is talking about, but he knows a lot of useful stuff and has advised me well.

However, I say that it would be perfectly possible, in the case of your encyclopedia to paste the images in one by one, place an individual text box next to each one, and write or paste the caption and text into the text box. That's how I would do it without any fancy programming or automation. (I don't think that you could do this satisfactorily with one big text block). My method would take some time, but no special skills.

Now, with 400 images if there is one to the page, that's 400 pages, and Scribus in my experience so far does not work well with such large files, and so I would break it up into 26 files, one for each letter, and use the document setup to start each section's page numbering after the last page numb of the previous. Then export to 26 pdfs, merge the pdfs with a pdf tool, and you have a book.

I myself am working on Dragonfly's recommended workflow with Atom and Markdown, but I am new to it. Before getting into it, I had already almost completed a major book project using the most primitive methods, more or less as I recommend above: put the image on the page, put a text box next to it, and type or paste the text into Story Editor. Slow, maybe, but you know, water wears away the stone.