Scribus 1.6 Open-Source Desktop Publishing App Released as a Major Update

This release adds new import filers, improves support for bitmap images, adds many new text features, and enhances scripting support.
Scribus 1.6

Scribus, the open-source and cross-platform desktop publishing app, has been updated today to version 1.6.0, a major update containing thousands of enhancements and bug fixes.

Scribus 1.6 is here to replace the 1.4.8 stable version and the 1.5.x development series, implementing features like a revamped user interface with support for light and dark modes and new icons, HiDPI-aware canvas rendering, a new PDF-based output preview, and a Resource Manager component for accessing online resources like dictionaries.

This release also introduces a new feature that allows users to search for a particular function, a new “Weld” feature that allows users to combine objects and move them without being grouped, as well as a new “Symbol” or clone feature similar to Adobe Illustrator that allows all copies (clones) of a master object (Symbol) to be modified as well.

Several new commands have been added in Scribus 1.6 to make document creation easier and more versatile when using scripts. Moreover, this release migrates Python scripting to Python 3.x series, updates the Barcode plugin with new features like “GS1 Digital Link URIs” for retail barcoding, and adds XeLaTeX support to Render Frames.

Scribus 1.6 also has many new text features like vertical justification of text, foot and end notes, text variables, cross references, and orphans and widows control. It also provides access to advanced OpenType features, adds the ability to apply background colors for selected text, and makes typing on the canvas and text rendering faster.

Other new features in this release include a feature-rich plugin called “Picture Browser” that enables asset management for graphics files, support for all the advanced gradient types available in Adobe Illustrator and XARA Designer, support for drop shadows, as well as a configurable image cache for documents containing many large bitmap images.

Scribus 1.6 also adds the ability to open and import files created by other desktop publishing programs, such as Adobe InDesign XML (IDML), Adobe InDesign Snippets (IDMS), Adobe PageMaker (P65, PMD), Apple iWorks Pages, Microsoft Publisher (PUB), QuarkXPress Tags (XTG), VIVA Designer XML, and XARA Page & Layout Designer (XAR). Moreover, the PDF exporter now supports PDF/X-4, and PDF 1.6 and XPS formats can now be exported.

It’s also now possible to store bitmap images within its native file format rather than linking to external images and the open standard Open Raster (ORA) is now supported for complex bitmap files. In addition, Scribus can now import all bitmap files supported by GraphicsMagick, including GIMP’s native XCF format, and supports importing PGF bitmap files.

“With OpenSceneGraph (OSG) installed, Scribus can import 3D objects in all formats supported by OSG into a new frame type called “3D Annotation”. Scribus also offers limited editing functions, such as setting the lighting source or the default display mode for a PDF-3D-capable PDF viewer,” reads the release notes about the new import feature for 3D objects.

New or rewritten import filters have been added in this release for Markdown, KRA (Krita), Photoshop Custom Shapes (CSH), Micrografx Draw (DRW), Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM), Enhanced Metafile (EMF), StarView Metafile (SVM), WordPerfect Graphics (WPG), as well as RTF and DOCX documents. Also, the Adobe Illustrator and OpenDocument graphics import filters were rewritten from scratch and layers are now supported in SVG files.

Last but not least, Scribus 1.6 adds support for CIE Lab* and CIE HLC color models and new color palettes, SwatchBooker’s SBZ file format, color palettes in the Adobe Color Swatch (ACO) and AutoCAD ColorBook (ACB) formats, as well as color palettes in the new ISO standard CxF3. In addition, color precision for fill colors was expanded to a 64-bit floating point.

For Linux, Scribus 1.6 follows the XDG standard for configuration files, which means that the Scribus preferences directory was moved to a new default location, namely ~/.config/scribus/ (previously was ~/.scribus/). Under the hood, this release still uses the Qt 5.15 LTS open-source application framework.

You can download Scribus 1.6 right now from the official website. Along with the source tarball, you will find an AppImage universal binary that lets you run Scribus on virtually any GNU/Linux distribution without installing anything. Scribus is also available for installation as a Flatpak app from Flathub.

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