[Scribus] Scribus Digest, Vol 53, Issue 14 Item 6 - importing WORD

Craig Ringer craig
Fri Jul 13 00:25:42 CEST 2007

Jfo wrote:
> Hi
> I believe that for Scribus to be really useful in the general DPT community it
> must import Word and Word Publisher text and graphics WITH FORMATTING.

Publisher? Good luck finding much that imports it. I'm sure there's the
odd thing out there, but I'll bet it's a pretty rough and loose import.
 Publisher does see use, but mostly by people who don't have access to
anything else. Since if someone DID write a Publisher layout importer
it'd most likely just pull in the rough content for the user to
re-layout in Scribus (preserving very approximate formatting) and even
doing that would be lots of work, I'm not sure it's worth it. I've never
seen anybody express interest in tackling the job.

Word, I'll grant, is somewhat useful simply because it's in heavy use in
people's workflows. The "Office Open XML" format looks useful here,
because while it appears to be utter crap, it's somewhat less painful to
extract useful formatting and content from. Another alternative is to go
through document translators like OO.o's .

Note that "word import" is only ever likely to be limited to Word _TEXT_
and possibly in-line graphics. A "layout" in word is a joke, and trying
to import it is likely to be a nightmare job with a bad quality end
result. IMO trying to import Word "layouts" is a total waste of time.

> There are other low-cost DTP offerings which need this feature - but at least
> they have a full booklet mode. Lacking both, Scribus is way behind.

That, I'll grant, is a problem for "at-home" printing. Scribus really
doesn't do that so well... it's better suited to targeting commercial
press jobs.

> Using a mixture of Windows and RISCOS I can achieve a conversion which is
> essentially Word/Publisher -> pdf -> RISCOS DRAW ->SVG  - surely Windows can
> offer something here. Complete RTF import would help.

Define "complete"? Nobody even agrees on what exactly RTF means.

> The alternatives are to standardise on Word Publisher! (please no!) or Ventura
> (expensive)

Or, of course, by getting good DTP software like InDesign (very
expensive but will save you lots of time, pain, and suffering) or
QuarkXPress (very expensive and probably won't save you much time, pain,
or suffering).

Software choice depends on what you need to do and some more general
requirements like price, source availability, source "freedom"
guarantees, etc. Identify your requirements and go from there. If you
need to import Word documents produced by people who think Word is a DTP
program, for example, Scribus is not and probably will never be suitable
for you. Publisher might be, especially if you'll be printing the
resulting jobs out on a home printer. On the other hand, for designing
reasonable sized jobs like brochures for commercial print Scribus might
be a good choice. If you're designing books it's hard to go past
InDesign or FrameMaker (the latter especially for technical writing) or
good old TeX.

Craig Ringer

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