I wanted to render a Scribus .sla file to .pdf and got a warning .pdf embedded. The reason was that I placed a .pdf graphic in an image frame instead of importing it as vector file.

An internet search revealed that .pdf graphics are in fact pixelated if imported as images (or when selecting wrong option); therefore the warning. So I imported a .pdf as well as a .svg of my graphic using File >> Import >> Get Vector File... and placed it on my document―so far so good.

However I need a hairline around the graphic, i.e. a thin box; this works well with image frames. But for some reason with the "Vector File frame" the options are greyed out:

enter image description here

When I double-click on the graphic, a window opens with an option "edit contour line", but that's something different. I probably could draw a box around the graphic by hand, but I think there might be a better option.

So, how can I make a hairline (or any thin line) around my vector graphic?

I'm using Scribus 1.5.8 on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

Update: Just realized that I would run into a follow-up problem, because I want to place another graphic exactly under the first one (it's the legend) and draw the box around both. Perhaps the vector objects should be put together in kind of a frame or so, but I still don't know how.

  • PDFs can contain both vector and raster graphics. Might be better to use Inkscape - which is a vector image editor - you can export as PDF or save as SVG. Scribus is just page layout software.
    – Billy Kerr
    Oct 11, 2022 at 22:24
  • @BillyKerr Not sure if I understand the point of your comment. Even when importing a .pdf as vector file in Scribus, I can't make a line around the frame as well. Drawing a line in different software is no option, this should be a layout job.
    – jay.sf
    Oct 12, 2022 at 17:36
  • What does the graphic look like? What kind of "frame" or outline are you talking about? Is it just a rectangle? You can draw rectangles in Scribus and group them with your graphic. If it's more complex, like going around a graphic, I'd use a vector image editor, and import it into Scribus for layout only. Using different software for different purposes is something that graphic designers do all the time.
    – Billy Kerr
    Oct 12, 2022 at 17:42
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    Jay.. just draw a rectangle around them in Scribus, then group the graphic with the rectangle. Am I missing something? While most layout apps will allow you to merely add a stroke to a [placed] graphic's "frame" perhaps Scribus simply doesn't. For example, if one were to copy/paste a vector graphic into InDesign.. the only way to add an "outline" or border around the graphic would be to draw a secondary rectangle within InDesign, then group it with the graphic.
    – Scott
    Oct 12, 2022 at 18:14
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    I would just draw a rectangle with the Insert Shape tool. Set the line width to hairline. see example. Then group the rectangle and graphic if you want to move them together as one object.
    – Billy Kerr
    Oct 12, 2022 at 18:19

1 Answer 1


When we import a vector file in a Scribus document, we actually import paths. Adding a rectangled frame around the paths is not trivial and probably therefore not implemented (also in other layout software).

A professional option (as also suggested in comments from @billy-kerr and @scott) is to draw a rectangle, i.e. do Insert >> Shape >> Default Shapes >> <rectangle symbol>. Next, in Properties panel, give the rectangle desired fill and stroke from the Colors menu. Next import vector file as shown in OP and place/scale it on the rectangle as desired. Finally, right-click and group both.

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    @jay_sf - Cool. +1 from me!!
    – Billy Kerr
    Oct 12, 2022 at 18:33
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    +1 me too. Its how it often needs to be handled if the graphic itself doesn't have a "frame" that's accessible.
    – Scott
    Oct 12, 2022 at 18:42
  • Perhaps useless info..... This actually has a great deal to do with how "accessible" the graphic itself is within the layout app. i.e. if it's possible in the layout app (Scribus/InDesign) to select individual elements within the graphic, it means the vectors are more accessible in the layout app. This often means there's no "frame" because the elements are part of the native layout and not seen as an external link. So there's actually added benefit to the way the graphic is seen in the layout, but one sacrifices the "frame" aspect of standard linked graphics.
    – Scott
    Oct 12, 2022 at 19:02
  • Don't forget to come back soon and choose your own answer as best!!
    – Billy Kerr
    Oct 12, 2022 at 20:20

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