How to Lay Out a Book in Scribus

Written by w. p. wentzell
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How to Lay Out a Book in Scribus
Scribus is capable of creating preprint layouts for books, magazines and brochures. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Scribus is desktop publishing software designed for Linux desktops. Its functionality is similar to more well-known desktop publishing applications from publishers such as Quark and Adobe. Scribus is open-source, meaning no license is required to use or reproduce the software. It is capable of producing layouts for books, pamphlets, posters, magazines and much more. Scribus is improved by the input and coding of its users. It is free to download and use for private and commercial purposes.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Install Scribus on your computer. Launch the program.

  2. 2

    Click "File > New" and select the "Double Sided" layout from the menu. Make sure "Portrait" orientation is selected and select "Custom" for the page size. Enter the page size in millimetres in the "Width" and "Height" boxes on the right of the menu screen.

  3. 3

    Enter the page margins for the book in the boxes at the bottom left of the menu. All important text and images should be inserted within the page margins. Anything outside the margins is considered the bleed area. The bleed area is where decorative graphics and markers can extend to the edge of the binding.

  4. 4

    Check the box next to "Automatic Text Frames" and enter the number of columns of text desired per page. Click "OK."

  5. 5

    Double-click the first text column to copy and paste body text from any word processor. Text will overflow onto the next available column or page. To add images, select the Image Frame tool from the tool palette and click and drag the cursor to create a placeholder for the image. Double-click the frame placeholder to drop in an image from a file.

  6. 6

    Save the layout as a document or template using the appropriate "Save As" option from the File menu.

Tips and warnings

  • Save the project as a template by selecting "Save as Template" from the file menu. You can then reuse the layout for other book projects.

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