Grouping things across layers

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I'm finding the need to group stuff across layers. Right now I am grouping the stuff and moving it, and then I ungroup it and move individual elements to various layers.

This isn't too bad for some of my 10 page projects, but for the longer stuff, it's a little annoying.

So. here is the use-case. If there is a better way to do this, let me know.

I am a stamp collector and make pages for stamp albums. My stamp mounting location looks like this:

I'm putting two things on another layer. The stamp image goes on one layer, and the stamp catalog number on the bottom goes on another layer.

That way, when someone prints these out, they can go into Adobe Reader and turn off either one of these layers and print the page out.

The problem is, I make pages in different sizes: US Letter, A4 and 10×11½. So I need to redistribute things as I change page sizes. Which is disgustingly easy to do when things are grouped together.

If I could group stuff between layers, I could put what I needed to on each layer, group it, and do a simple distribute horizontally and vertically and move on with my day. But now I need to distribute for 3 different page sizes, ungroup and move to different layers three times per stamp box.

Is there an easier way of doing what I am trying to accomplish? Am I doing too much work?


Cant see that scribus can group between layers.. Looks like a new feature to be implemented.
Using Scribus 1.6.1, openSUSE 15.6
Advanced hobbyist


Is it a feature that would be useful? I don't want to put in a feature request for a one-off feature only I find useful.


I'm sure other would find it useful. I'm sure there are others who could use it.

Something else you could try, build a scrapbook of frames that you can drop onto the document group what you can together , then arrange on the page layer as needed, will save the step of grouping ,copying and ungrouping.
Using Scribus 1.6.1, openSUSE 15.6
Advanced hobbyist


I have to admit it: when I started reading this thread (from the bottom up...), I was in the mindset: you must be doing it wrong.

But you have indeed a clever and efficient workflow.
And I don't have a better one to suggest.

Even if, contrary to AdmFubar, I don't think that grouping across layers would be useful for (m)any other users, it's probably worth to take it into consideration and I'd welcome a feature request.

This having been said, I'm not sure that it will be possible or easy to implement it.

I played around a bit and I see a few obstacles.

First: in Scribus, you can indeed select items accros layers (after you have enabled it in the layers dialog or by using the outline palette).
But grouping the items is then explicitly disabled.
There must be reasons for it.

Second: I fired up Inkscape and tried to group items from different layers.
It works, but all the items are moved to the same layer.
They also practically disabled it.

Thinking of what could be the reasons for disabling the grouping across layers, I came up with a few (non mutually exclusive) ones:

  • What happens if one of the concerned layer is locked? What can you move? What can you delete?
  • How should the "lower flow around" option behave if it's not the same on all concerned layers?
  • Does PDF (and the PDF readers) support grouping items from different layers? (or we need to split the group when exporting?)
  • How to display the group in the Outline palette?

There might be others...

Now, I have a (complex) workaround:

  • Create your all document in a single layer (you seem to only need the layers in the PDF...)
  • To each of your items add an attribute named "layer" with the name of the target layer as its value (if you're duplicating items (or taking them from the scrapbook) you only need to add the attributes to the "original" items).
  • Create a script that:
    • works on a copy of your document,
    • ungroups all the groups,
    • moves each item to the layer defined in the attribute,
    • disables the export (or remove) the original layer,
    • exports the result to PDF.
    • (yes, i can help with the script...)

Much less elegant than your workflow, but can get the job done.


Small break


Two more things:

There is already a closed ticket asking for grouping accross layers:
The reason for closing is: resolved.
So it might just be about enabling the command...

There is another workaround:
You can weld the "main" item to all other items instead of grouping them.
(you can only weld two items at a time...)
Then they move all at once.

And there is another issue that might be worth to be filled in the bug tracker:
If you select multiple items across layers, duplicating the selection will create all the items in the current layer.
It should be at least an option, to duplicate the items and keep them on the original layer.

Also: putting items from multiple layer into the scrapbook loses the layer information (which, again, is not a trivial issue, since the scrapbook is shared among documents).

Voilà, enough thoughts from my side for today.
Time for a coffee.


A friend of mine threw together something for me that's working well.

A friend of mine created a script that uses LibreOffice Calc and Scribus to quickly throw together a page of stamps.

If you go here: and click on PMGS Products, you'll find the tool he created.

I mentioned wanting to move images to their own layer and he whipped together a quick and dirty script that rips through the entire document page by page and ungroups everything and then moves any objects of type "2" to their own layer.

This allows me to use Distribute to quickly line stuff up properly on different page sizes and then just run the script to move all the images to their own layer.

And this is why I love Scribus. If the app doesn't do what you want, you may be able to create a script to do what you want.