Scribus gets basic support for Microsoft Publisher documents

Unstable version of Scribus finally got an initial support for Microsoft Publisher documents. For that it uses the code written by LibreOffice team. How good is it?

Most work on the original libmspub library was done during Google Summer of Code 2012 by Brennan Vincent and Fridrich Štrba, with reverse-engineering support by Valek Filippov (re-lab). Thanks to the library Scribus is now capable of reading MS Publisher documents in 97-2010 file format versions, with bits of Publisher 2002+.

Imported RGB colors from a PUB document

Supported elements are: pages, text frames and text formatting, vector objects with various fills, bitmaps, clipping paths.

Here is a quick example. As you can see, the layout looks a bit on the empty side.

However, as soon as you start tweaking linespacing (basically, scrolling the mousewheel in the spinbox up and down), all the missing text appears:

It looks like a minor glitch that should soon be fixed. The team has already been notified about that. Other than that, the native importing looks far saner than various workarounds that the Scribus team had to recommend to those who were unlucky enough to deal with Publisher.

Franz Schmid, lead developer of Scribus, also started submitting patches to upstream libmspub. Some of the patches have been merged, and some still need to undergo the review.

If you want to test the newly added support for Microsoft Publisher documents (and the Scribus team expressed their interest in reports from users), you will need libmspub from Git master, and Scribus from SVN trunk. Currently the build with the PUB plug-in is disabled in Scribus by default, you have to uncomment the relevant line in /plugins/import/CMakeLists.txt to enable it. No installers are available at this time.

Please keep in mind, though, that it is by no means a finished work. You are likely to run into various buglets. The libmspub library is likely to be continuously updated in the months to follow.