Scribus is a program for professional layout, for creating PDF (Portable Document Format) files. It is free and distributed under the GNU GPL license. This license indicates you may obtain it freely, to use, distribute, copy, as well as study and even modify the actual content. There are versions of Scribus available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, and even more obscure operating systems like OS/2. You will find the instructions on installation in the Appendix of the Installation chapter.
With Scribus you might make a brochure, a booklet, books, magazines, and any type of document which you plan to print or make available electronically. It's also a great tool for creating presentations in PDF format. It has a modern interface and the functionality to allow you to create professional quality print output, such as color separations, CMYK, spot colors, ICC profiles, and the various needs for generating PDFs.
Scribus files have their own native format, with the extension .sla, easily editable since it is in plain text. Generally speaking, you would not be dealing with .sla files, but rather exporting your work as a PDF (extension .pdf), which is standardized, reliable, widely used and recognized, and is accepted by commercial printers and publishers.
Note: Scribus is designed for the task of creating layout, and is excellent in this area, but if what you are primarily looking for is something for retouching and editing photographs, or perhaps making vector drawings, you are advised to select other free and opensource programs, such as Gimp (http://www.gimp.org) for the former task, and Inkscape (http://www.inkscape.org) for the latter.
Scribus comes from a community of developers who for the most part volunteer their time and effort, and who have interests in commercial printing, graphic design, or information technology. With your particular competencies and interests, you too can become a participant in its development and improvement, by reporting bugs, submitting feature requests or suggesting other enhancements, or perhaps just staying in touch with this active community.
The first stable version of Scribus (1.0), dates back to June 16, 2003. This manual covers version 1.4, officially released in early 2012. Scribus is at this point a mature program – as you will see from the examples of usage, and for some time publishers and designers have been able to confidently trust its quality. This manual is both freely available and free, and thus shares these features with Scribus. You will find the specifics regarding this in the chapter About this book.
There are three great strengths in Scribus. These are creation, organization, and production, and in this book you will find sections on each of these. If there is any particular great feature of Scribus, it's that it gives the user great flexibility, along with a wide range of possible actions. From a design perspective, this is undeniably a huge advantage, since in a short amount of time, one can try out a large variety of graphical and typographic features. Fonts, colors, shading, transparency, various visual effects on photos, typographic parameters, position and rotation of the elements, all of these various functions in Scribus strive to be both easy and intuitive. As various decisions become more static, your basic design more fixed, you are ready to utilize the organizational capabilities of the program.
The second of Scribus's strengths is to offer the user a panoply of tools and functions in order to better organize the work, to save time for progressing to the next step of production. Templates, styles, the Scrapbook, Master Pages, and the scripting plugin allow for automation of repetitive tasks during production, or in any case optimization of the results. First, you should take the time to make some preparations, by setting up various parameters within which you will work. When you have taken this time to do this, the process of creation is greatly simplified, and you end up with a more coherent document – by coherent, we mean one with consistent styles and placement of items from page to page. Rather than recreating each object manually, you make better use of your computer to precisely do repetitive tasks, avoiding the errors which come from repetitive, tiring work.
The only thing that remains then is the final creation of your project, where you use these various tools and your material for your document. With great ease you now can create pages, focus on text formatting and text flow from page to page, import your images, as you concentrate on creating a pleasing, sensible layout. Thanks to the Properties palette, you have an array of settings and tools at your disposal, where you can position layout elements at the precision of 0.001 millimeter, and just as precisely define the content of the elements. Lastly, after exporting your document to PDF, you send your document to your printer, or alternatively make an interactive (or noninteractive) PDF for posting on the web.