How to Use Scribus Desktop Publishing Software

Learn to use the free Scribus desktop publishing software

Scribus is a free open source desktop publishing application that's been compared to Adobe InDesign, much like The GIMP is compared to Adobe Photoshop and OpenOffice is compared to Microsoft 365. If you've never used professional page layout applications, Scribus can be a bit overwhelming when you first open it up to create something. Here are tutorials and Scribus documentation that will get you up and running quickly.

Scribus offers its software in two versions: stable and development. Download the stable version if you want to work with tested software and avoid surprises. Download the development version to test and help improve Scribus. Download Scribus for Mac, Linux, or Windows.​

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A Simple Introduction: Scribus Video Tutorials

scribus desktop screen

ubberdave / Flickr

What We Like
  • Hands-on walk through.

  • Eases you in gradually.

  • Videos make it easy to follow along.

What We Don't Like
  • Could have covered more features.

  • Short series.

This three-part video series walks you through the basics and gets you ready to use Scribus effectively on your own. Each video in the set takes you deeper into the core concepts of Scribus.

The first video starts with the fundamentals. The second video delves into the Scribus story editor and the beginning of stylesheets. The final video in the series continues your work with stylesheets and teaches you how to distribute completed work from Scribus.

The videos are in Theora/Ogg format, which is supported in Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. If you use a different browser, refer to these instructions before viewing the videos.

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Project-Based Learning: Kevin Pugh's YouTube Demonstrations Using Scribus

Scribus YouTube Tutorial
What We Like
  • Broken into manageable parts.

  • Project based.

  • Easy to follow.

  • See how things should look and work.

What We Don't Like
  • Could have been longer and covered more.

  • More about projects, and less about basics.

YouTuber Kevin Pugh created an excellent eight-part video tutorial for Scribus beginners. The first video gets you set up with the controls and configuration. From there, you dive into using Scribus for real projects.

If you're a visual learner or if you prefer project-based tutorials, this is an excellent place to dive in an get working quickly, without the need to read lengthy manuals or walk through every tool in the application.

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In-Depth Information: Hexagon Scribus Tutorial

Hexagon Scribus Tutorial
What We Like
  • Well organized.

  • Excellent screenshots.

  • Tons of information.

What We Don't Like
  • Can be dense.

  • May not be the best place to start.

The Hexagon Scribus Tutorial PDF contains information for beginner, intermediate, and expert users of Scribus. In its 70-plus pages, it covers many topics including:

  • Master pages
  • Font installation
  • Styles
  • Links
  • Image transformation
  • Layers
  • Text effects

It contains plenty of detail and screenshots that are useful to new users of Scribus.

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Information From the Source: Official Scribus Wiki Tutorial

Scribus Wiki Tutorial
What We Like
  • Step-by-step introduction.

  • Comprehensive.

  • Very well organized.

What We Don't Like
  • Somewhat dated.

  • Feels more like documentation than a tutorial.

During the official wiki course, Get Started With Scribus, a tutorial complete with screenshots, you'll learn the features available from Scribus while creating several pages of a magazine. You'll learn how to use Scribus desktop publishing software and about desktop publishing and printing in general.

This course was designed for an earlier version of Scribus. There may be some differences between it and the current stable version.

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Old, But Worthwhile: Sott's World Scribus Manual

Sott's World Scribus Manual
What We Like
  • Excellent screenshots and diagrams.

  • Well organized.

  • Great core concept information.

What We Don't Like
  • Partially outdated.

  • Mostly an intro to the tools.

For a beginner's tutorial in using Scribus for publication design, check out Sott's World Scribus Manual. While it won't exactly walk you through a project, it's a great introduction to the different tools available in Scribus.

This manual was written for an early version of Scribus. The core concepts are mostly the same, but there may be differences between it and the current stable version. The icons and menus also look a bit different.

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