Reduce the size of Scribus generated PDFs

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This article is part of the Scripts series.

See also

Simply using Ghostscript

For example, on a MacIntosh with Mac OS 10.6.2, Scribus 1.3.6, Ghostscript 8.71, this ghostscript command will knock a 1.9GB PDF file generated by Scribus down to less than 300MB which is very helpful :

gs-8.71-macosx -dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress -dSAFER -dCompatibilityLevel=1.5 -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sstdout=%stderr -dGrayImageResolution=600 -dMonoImageResolution=1200 -dColorImageResolution=300 -sOutputFile=vol_iv_gs.pdf -c .setpdfwrite -f vol_iv.pdf

On a linux PC, this works simply well :

gs -dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress -dSAFER -dCompatibilityLevel=1.5 -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sstdout=%stderr -dGrayImageResolution=600 -dMonoImageResolution=1200 -dColorImageResolution=300 -sOutputFile=vol_iv_gs.pdf -c .setpdfwrite -f vol_iv.pdf

or more simply, for press :

gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 -dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress -dNOPAUSE -dQUIET -dBATCH -sOutputFile=newfile.pdf myfile.pdf

and for screen viewing :

gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 -dPDFSETTINGS=/screen -dNOPAUSE -dQUIET -dBATCH -sOutputFile=newfile.pdf myfile.pdf

Adding the "-c .setpdfwrite" option is probably usefull (see and :

gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 -dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress -dNOPAUSE -dQUIET -dBATCH -sOutputFile=newfile.pdf -c .setpdfwrite -f myfile.pdf

Similar on a Windows PC :

gswin32 -dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress -dSAFER -dCompatibilityLevel=1.5 -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sstdout=%stderr -dGrayImageResolution=600 -dMonoImageResolution=1200 -dColorImageResolution=300 -sOutputFile=vol_iv_gs.pdf -c .setpdfwrite -f vol_iv.pdf

Put the command line in a batch file in the same folder as the Scribus generated PDF, and the batch will create the new file via double click.

Using a Python Script

A linux only program.
Note: Not all PDFs can be reduced, sometimes they are even larger!
Script creates a back up of the original (filename.pdf.orig) as well as the new file ( and you require pdftops and ps2pdf14. A 5MB file may take about 20 seconds, a 100 MB file may take minutes.


#! /usr/bin/env python
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

import sys
import os
import shutil		#

This program is Linux only.
Requires pdftops and ps2pdf14

failure = "failure"
filesTo_find = ['pdftops','ps2pdf14']
errorMessage_1 = 'This program requires both pdftops and ps2pdf14.\nOne or both is missing. Please install to allow this program to function'
errorMessage_2 = 'This program does not yet operate on windows.\nFeel free to modify it run on a win32 system'
errorMessage_3 = 'This program does not yet operate on OS2.\nFeel free to modify it run on an OS2 system'
errorMessage_4 = 'You do not have permission to write in this directory.\nCopy the pdf to a writable directory and try again.'
found = 0

    import scribus
except ImportError,err:
    print "This Python script is written for the Scribus scripting interface."
    print "It can only be run from within Scribus."

if sys.platform != 'win32':
     result = scribus.messageBox('Sorry - Linux Only program',  errorMessage_2,)

if sys.platform != 'os2':
     result = scribus.messageBox('Sorry - Linux Only program',  errorMessage_3,)

path = os.environ['PATH']
paths = path.split(os.pathsep)
for ftf in filesTo_find:
    for p in paths:
        f = p + '/' + ftf
        if os.path.isfile(f):
            found = found + 1    #need to start search for next file when first file found

if found == 2:

    result = scribus.messageBox('Missing Programs',  errorMessage_1,)

homedir = os.path.expanduser("~")

filename=scribus.fileDialog("Reduce PDF",  "PDF files(*.PDF *.pdf)")

if os.path.isfile(filename):
  orig_size = os.path.getsize(filename)

  cmd = 'pdftops' + ' ' + filename

if os.path.exists(filename[:-3] + 'ps'):

  cmd2 = 'ps2pdf14' + ' ' + filename[:-3] + 'ps' + ' ' + filename[:-3] + 'new' + '.pdf'
  new_size = os.path.getsize(filename[:-3] + 'new' + '.pdf')

     result = scribus.messageBox('Big Boo Boo',  'Something real bad has gone wrong! Sorry',)

pdf_file = os.path.basename(filename)
result = scribus.messageBox(pdf_file,"Original size was" + ' ' + str(orig_size) + ' ' + "bytes" + '\n' + "New size is" + ' ' + str(new_size) + ' ' + "bytes"'\n'  )