Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars just for layout, 22 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Scribus 1.3.5 Beginner's Guide (Paperback)
Imagine, a program that specialises to just doing layout?! At first this might seem overkill; too much of an [unnecessary?] niche perhaps. Yet the book persuasively shows that there is a need for, at least, free software that focuses on layout and does it well.

Gemy forthrightly points out at the start of the book what the functional perimeter of Scribus is. Specifically, you should use a dedicated word processor like Microsoft Office/Word, or OpenOffice Writer, to actually write and spell check any text that you want to put into a PDF document that will have multiple pages and graphics on those pages. Scribus does not attempt to impinge on this text ability. Also, if you need to have photos in those graphics, and you need to do touching up or other enhancements, then use Photoshop or some other equivalent package. And if you need to draw an image, consider using Adobe Illustrator or something similar. It is the integration of drawn images, photos and text into a cohesive layout that is Scribus' remit.

That being said, Scribus can certainly handle many low level useful manipulations that are also handled by those other packages. For example, kerning, which is the altering of white space between letters, can be manipulated explicitly under Scribus. This is useful for the hopefully rare occasions when you need to optimise the appearance of some text under display. Likewise, Scribus can access all the fonts defined under the operating system. Attention has been paid to transparent font management, which eases the explicit burden on you.

The questions ['pop quiz'] at the end of most chapters is a little different from the typical Packt book. It is as though Gemy is trying to imitate an actual 'teaching' text that is used to accompany some college computing class. Not a bad idea. But the questions seem too short and simple. They don't really challenge the reader much, except in the most cursory sense. Better perhaps might have been to have more questions and a gradation of difficulty, to give a serious reader something solid to tackle.
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