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How do I... Wrap text around an image in Scribus?

Scribus is an open source desktop publishing tool that is powerful, flexible, and corporate-ready. And it wraps text quickly and easily (once you know the trick). Jack Wallen shows you how.

For many businesses the creation of various printed materials is a must. Especially when outsourcing is not an option, you are going to have to create you own professional looking print media. And within your creation you are going to need to know some of the tricks of the trade. One such trick is wrapping text. Although it seems like it should be a "no brainer", in some applications that it is not. Sure there are ways around this, but it's always best to know the method best prescribed for the application.

Scribus is an open source desktop publishing tool that is powerful, flexible, and corporate-ready. And it wraps text quickly and easily (once you know the trick.) And just how do you wrap text in Scribus? Let me show you how.

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Wrap text

The first thing to do is to be on the layer you want to work in. To wrap text, you are going to be adding both text and image into the same layer so there's no need to have additional layers.

First and foremost have your text ready. There is nothing special you need to do to the text -- just have it formatted in the way you would like it formatted. The only thing you will want to remember is that wrapping text around an image could impact the layout and/or flow of your entire document. So plan and place carefully.

In Figure A you can see we have a small block of text ready to wrap. This text is in the only layer the document contains.

Figure A

You can format your text in any way you want with the idea being the text will want to be flush against the edge nearest the image.
Once you have your text exactly how you want it, let's insert your image. You will need to click the Insert Image button (Figure B) to place your image.

Figure B

The insert image button is the third from the left on the bottom row.
After you click the insert image button you will actually be creating an image box. (Figure C)

Figure C

This is what you see when you click and drag the image tool to the match the approximate size you need.
Now right click the image box to locate the image you want to use. Once you have you image located you can then drag it around to the exact position you desire. As you can see in Figure D, I have placed Tux right where I want him.

Figure D

Place you image

Now open up the Properties window (from the Windows drop down menu) and click on the Shape tab. In the Shape tab there are two boxes to select: Text Flows Around Frame and Use Contour Line. The reason you want to select Use Contour Line is because you want to be able to add padding between your image and your text. Without that padding your text will be butted right up against your image and might become difficult to read.

Now you need to click the Edit Shape button in the Shape tab. When you do, the outline around your image will turn blue. In our image, we would want to add padding on the right side of the image. So place the cursor on the right blue line and when it turns into a hand click and drag the line to the right until you have enough padding to suit your needs. (Figure E)

Figure E

Added desired padding
Once you have suitable padding added click the End Editing button in the Nodes window. (Figure F)

Figure F

You can edit the edit the image nodes in many ways with this properties window. You can shear images and rotate them as well.
Once you click the End Editing button you are done and your text is wrapped around your image. (Figure G)

Figure G

Wrapped text

Final Thoughts

Wrapping text used to be nothing short of a nightmare. But with desktop publishing, and especially Scribus, wrapping text is simple. So now you're ready to take your companies print material to the next level.


Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website