Is there a way to set the background color for single paragraphs in a text frame in Scribus?

This is what I'm trying to get:

Two-columns text with background-colored titles

From the story editor I managed to set the background for the whole text frame, but as you can see from the example given, it is not the case.

I also tried to create a paragraph style with a background color in the style manager, but it seems that this is not an option.

Any suggestion about how to achive this or something similar?

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately the answer is no, you can't set a paragraph background color in Scribus (as of version 1.4.5, which is the current stable).

The workaround is to create a rectangle with the desired fill and place it behind the text. When I need to do this

  • Create a separate layers for background shapes and for text
  • Wait until your text is finalized as much as possible, since it's annoying to keep adjusting background shapes
  • Make the baseline grid visible and use that as a guide. I generally make a page grid smaller than my baseline (for example, if my baseline is 15, I might do a grid of 5 or 3 so I have something to snap to around the paragraph so that there is uniform "padding"

Note: According to this closed bug, you can change the background in 1.5.1. I don't have that installed so I can't test.

Edit: I just checked Scribus 1.5.1, and indeed you can set the background for a paragraph style. So it seems that the solution is to upgrade. While 1.5.1 is listed as "developmental", it seems to be stable and reliable enough for production needs if you need the extra features (and there are a lot of improvements to 1.5.x), so upgrade if you can.

  • Yes, I just tested on Scribus 1.5.1 on Windows 10 Pro 64bit: You can select any part of a text, for example a paragraph, and select an underly colour. Even different colours for different parts of the same text. And yes, you can indeed chose a background colour for any style and apply that style to selected parts (paragraphs) of any text. I did not know this and I like it, so I will also up-vote your question. Apr 30, 2016 at 17:05
  • We are using 1.5.1 since mid-February 2016 for small projects and I have not yet seen a single crash nor data loss. We do normal regular backups of course and not too-brutal project size nor too many features mixed on any one item (text or illustration or vector). So for us it is working nicely. It also installs without any issues alongside any older version, for example the 1.4.6. So trying 1.5.1 does not force you to move all your (heavy) projects to the new version at once, just where you need the new features. hth Apr 30, 2016 at 17:10
  • I'm very glad to hear that the feature was added in the lastest version. As I can't upgrade now (linux user worried about breaking his distro), I really appreciate your suggestions for working around the issue in the meantime. Thanks!
    – etuardu
    May 2, 2016 at 12:55
  • 1
    Which distro? You can probably install it independently of the stable version provided by your distro (it would be installed as scribus-ng). I've been using both side-by-side on Linuxmint without any issues. May 2, 2016 at 14:19
  • That's another good news... I'm using Debian testing and It was very straightforward indeed to just download and install the two packages scribus-ng-data and scribus-ng from the debian packages website (so without adding the experimental source to my apt list). Thanks again!
    – etuardu
    May 2, 2016 at 22:44

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