The Commands to Know to Edit Shapes in Scribus

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Editing shapes with Scribus is very easy. Keep in mind the words path, shape, and canvas are interchangeable. To get started, in an open Scibus program, click Item, and then Shape. Select Edit Shape. (A dialog box titled Nodes will open.) I will explain each command and its function starting from the top left and working my way down:

Moves Nodes. Allows you to adjust the nodes as you like. Nodes are the Blue Dots located in the middle of each set of control points. When selected it will change to a Red dot. Nodes come in handy when you would like your shape to curve or bend in a manner not relative to its natural shape.

Move Control Points. Changes the position of your control points.

Add Nodes. Gives you the option of placing additional nodes wherever you would like. Inserting a new Node will also give you two more control points for this node.

Delete Notes. Removes nodes from the canvas.

Move Control Points Independently (and Symmetrically). Lets you manually set the control points for the shape.

Shear the Path Horizontally To the Left (and Right). Allows you to tilt the shape to the left or right. Click and hold the icon until you have reached your desired effect.

Shear the Path Vertically Up (and Down). Directs the shape upwards or downwards in a parallel direction.

Rotate the Path Counter-Clockwise (and Clockwise). Allows you to rotate the canvas 360 degrees in either direction. You can also manually set the angle of rotation you would like instead of the normal clicking and holding down of the icon.

Enlarge the Size of the Path Shown ( and Shrink) by percentage. Makes your canvas larger or smaller based on percentage. You can also enter a Percentage to Enlarge or Shrink By.

Enlarge the Size of the Path Shown (and Reduce) by shown value. Also makes the canvas larger or smaller, but based on point value. There is also a function to manually create a Value to Enlarge or Shrink By.

Absolute Coordinates Checkbox. Allows you to choose whether you would like to coordinates to be relative to the Page or Canvas (object).

Edit (and Reset) Contour Line. Gives you the option to manually adjust the X and Y coordinates of your canvas. This is for the experienced Scribus user. If a mistake is made, click Reset Contour Line to return the canvas to its original state.


Learning to edit shapes in Scribus is not only easy, but it is a very important skill to have when creating any desktop publishing project. Take your time and experiment a bit and you will have a perfect document in no time!