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I am constantly needing to print out pages with 4 graphs on one page or 2 graphs and a diagram, etc.. So far I have been using LibreOffice Draw to import the images and then manually lay them out on a page and it works but it gets a bit slow and is far too heavy for my needs. By slow, I mean that it crawls when trying to move high resolution images and it is also too heavy on memory requirements when I have over 18 high resolution images to play with. I basically need a a program that lets you import images and then lets you scale, rotate and move them around on a page. It also needs to have support for multiple pages so Inkscape is ruled out (I think). I don't really want to use something like Scribus either. If it has grid based layout management, that would be even better. Oh and it must work on linux.

Any pointers would be great! If I can't find something, I might just write a simple app myself.

Cheers!

Durand

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If Libre Office is both too slow and too heavy, I'm not so sure there would be program for your needs even for windows or mac. Also, you should probably define what you mean with slow and heavy. –  Joonas Jun 1 '12 at 12:26
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I think some more details are required. When you have, say, 4 graphs, is the layout always the same--with the image dimensions in the same proportions, for example? Also, is there a reason you don't want to use Scribus? It would be pretty easy with Scribus to define a few master pages with your image frames defined and fill the contents pretty quickly. –  Ananda Mahto Jun 1 '12 at 13:49
    
@Lollero It doesn't handle high resolution (3000x2000) images very well and when you have about 20 images of that resolution, it slows down a lot and makes moving them around a pain. –  Durand Jun 1 '12 at 14:59
    
@mrdwab Generally, yeah, the aspect ratios are the same but it is not always the case. There are also instances when I need to have two quarter page graphs and one half page graph on the same page. I'll give scribus another go, it probably does what I want but it just seems to be a bit over the top because I don't need a full desktop publishing suite to do such a simple job. I hope that made sense. –  Durand Jun 1 '12 at 14:59
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Are you linking or embedding the image in LibreOffice Draw? I wonder if you can't do a sort of workaround where you have a directory of low-res versions of your images (with the same file names as the full resolution versions) that you link to, and once your layout is complete, overwrite that directory with the full-res versions of the images and update all your links. That way, LibreOffice should still be pretty fast to work with. I'm pretty sure there's a way to turn on "linking" by default. –  Ananda Mahto Jun 1 '12 at 19:20
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3 Answers

Check out scribus:

http://www.scribus.net/canvas/Scribus

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I do know about scribus, I've used it several times and while I do like it, it is just a bit over the top for what I need. I don't really want a full DTP app with all those features that I would never use but it seems like there are no real alternatives out there. Thanks for your answer! –  Durand Jun 1 '12 at 17:25
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I have never used it, but Scribus is open source DTP software for multi-page layout.

For the purposes of printing out on 8.5 x 11 sheet 2-up, you max size per image would be somewhere around 6 x 4 inches. At 300 dpi, your max pixel size would be 1800x1200. If Scribus can't handle a 3000x2000 image, you can batch the lot of them prior to insertion (ImageMagick etc).

I routinely deal with 100 page books with 70+ 3000x2000 images. I am unsure if Scribus is your problem here or if you have an underpowered computer for the job. One trick is to disable any full-res previews in the layout software so you link a high res but manipulate a low res FPO (for position only) image in the software. If you are "pasting" the images instead of linking, then link them. Can't be sure the ins and outs since I haven't used the package.

From ( http://wiki.scribus.net/canvas/FAQ:_Adding_Content ):

A possible solution to the loading issue is to reduce the image preview resolution for your document: Go to File > Document Setup > Tools, and click on the image frame icon (second from top). In the "Images" dialog, set "On Screen Preview" to "Low Resolution Preview", and click "OK". Note that you can also change the resolution for individual image frames from their context menu. In the context menu you can even switch off the preview of the image

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Scribus is certainly very good and I might end up using it again. I was just hoping for a more basic alternative which didn't have all the extra bells and whistles that I wouldn't be using anyway. Thanks for the answer! –  Durand Jun 1 '12 at 17:23
    
I presume the problem with LibreOffice Draw is that the program manipulates the full data of the image and that is dragging down performance. If that is the case, you could probably script up something which will take a temp folder of images and resize them prior to fitting them, and in scribus, if you "turn off previews" for items you are happy with, you will probably not even notice a performance drop going from 2 to 18 images in the document. –  horatio Jun 1 '12 at 18:10
    
Yeah, it applies a transparency to the image when moving and I guess it's not very efficient. The computer I am using it on isn't the best either. So yeah, I'll definitely give scribus another try. Thanks :) –  Durand Jun 1 '12 at 21:59
    
@Durand, Scribus would be a great option if you were looking to have preset page layouts, in which case you could define several master pages according to your layout needs, which would contain empty image frames. But since you're resizing the images and the aspect ratios are not always the same, LibreOffice might actually be quicker to use than Scribus. –  Ananda Mahto Jun 2 '12 at 5:02
    
@mrdwab Yeah, that's what I thought but I will try it again as it might still fit the bill. –  Durand Jun 2 '12 at 12:56
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Since you already have a process in place for using LibreOffice Draw, I would suggest trying the following steps.

  • Maintain two directories of your images, each with identical image names. One directory, say, temp, would be for scaled down low-resolution versions of your images; the other directory, say, originals, would house your full-resolution images.
  • Create your document as you've been doing, but using the low-resolution version of the images. Be sure to link the images instead of embed them. (There may be a way to set link as default, but I can't remember or find it at the moment.)
  • After your document is as you would like it to be, replace the images in the temp directory with those in your originals directory, then go to Edit > Links and update the links. (If you think you might be doing more work on the document, one way to test your progress would be to first rename temp to something like temp-old, and then rename originals to temp. That way, you can reverse any changes you've made if needed.)

I think this should be able to help you with making LibreOffice Draw seem less slow or heavy for your needs. You might also want to play with some of the memory settings under Tools > Options > LibreOffice > Memory.

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That's a neat answer, thanks. I did forget about links vs embeds... The only reason I am hesitant to use this method is because I have to do all this quite a lot over the course of the day and I would rather have a streamlined solution. I think I'll try making a simple app that does just this if I have the time to because it will save me a lot of work in the long run. –  Durand Jun 2 '12 at 13:03
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