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Revision as of 19:19, 5 January 2011 by Malex (talk | contribs) (Editing)
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  • The PDFs generated by Scribus are of very high quality and should never be a problem when delivered to a print shop.
  • Bugs related to the PDF generation are treated with very high priority by the Scribus team.
Are there preferred viewers for veiwing Scribus exported PDF? Yes, definitely.


1. Adobe Reader 5.0.10+

2. GSview


Not recommended:


Please see:

When i create a doc and export it to pdf format, can someone with a full version of Acrobat edit the PDF? Is there something I need to do in order for this to be allowed? You can edit PDF with sometimes very limited ability in increasing order of capabilities.

1) Adobe Illustrator can edit single page PDF and usually has no issues opening a Scribus PDF in my experience. Issues: Font substitutions when opening saving.

2) Full Acrobat Professional 5+. Note Acrobat 5.0.5 sometimes will give an "unable to parse" error with some Scribus PDFs. We believe this is an Acrobat 5.0.5 bug. Acrobat 6.0+ does not give this message. Issues: Sometimes text is not easy to edit and is not recommended. Extracting images or vectors is not an issue.

3) Acrobat Professional Add ons - The two best known are PitStop or Quite a Box of Tricks to truly edit parts of a PDF. These are specialist pre-press tools which are focused on pre-flight and adjustment of PDFs for commerical printing.

That said, PDF was never intended to be an 'editable' format, but a final 'electronic paper' format. Except for pre-press work, planning on a document workflow based on PDF editing is surely frustrating and takes some knowledge of the non-linear format of PDF internally.

Lastly, you need not do anything special, except not encrypt it.

What is the difference between PDF 1.3, PDF 1.4,1.5 and the recently released PDF 1.6? PDF 1.2 = Acrobat 3.0 - relatively obsolete now

PDF 1.3 = Acrobat 4.0 - The first version of PDF which truly had all the needed features to support "press-ready" PDF's including color managment, ICC profiles etc. It also added javascript, interactive and multimedia capabilities. This standard is probably the safest to send if you are unsure of the capabilities of the receiver of your file. PDF/X-3 and a number of commercial print work flows are based on PDF 1.3.

PDF 1.4 = Acrobat 5.0 - Actually, introduced with Illustrator 9, The main difference to concern Scribus users is PDF 1.4, has both transparency and alpha transparency capabilites, which make a major difference in where a PDF with these features can be printed. It takes wither the latest commerical RIP's or a Level 3 Postscript printer to use these features properly. The latest versions of Ghostscript suport the advanced PDF 1.4 features Scribus can create when exporting PDF.

PDF 1.5 = Acrobat 6.0 - The release of PDF 1.5 specs to accompanied the release of Acrobat 6. Among the most interesting for Scribus users: many improvements for "press-ready" PDF, the capability to have true layering within the PDF, PDF-X "pre-flight" capability, more security and interactive features, like the ability to add comments which are separate from the original doc.

PDF 1.6 = Acrobat 7.0 - Closely models the PDF 1.5 spec with more digitial security,multimedia and workflow features. Unfortuntately, few viewers or printers can support the latest two PDF specs.


  • Supported versions: PDF/X-3 (1.3.3.x and 1.3.8+), PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-4 (1.5svn only, no backport possible).
  • ICC profiles must be installed.
  • You have to enable color management.
  • You have to fill the "info string" in the "Pre-Press" tab of the PDF export dialog.


Basically, forms created by Scribus can be filled with Acrobat Reader and Okular.

Embedding and/or outlining fonts

  • Scribus will try to embed your fonts when exporting to PDF.
  • Fonts with more than 2048 glyphs will be automatically converted to outlines to reduce the size of the PDF. This font-specific setting can be changed in Preferences > Fonts by unchecking the "Subset" option for a font.


Why don't images do not print on a HP LaserJet 1xxx series printer from within Scribus or from exported ps/pdf files, but can be viewed in pdfs?
  • One workaround is to export your document to PDF then load it into AcrobatReader and print at PS level 2.
  • Another solution is to create a non postscriptprinter (E.g. for a HP LJ 1300 series a printer was set up in CUPS thatup ashplj with lj5gray printer). That works for some apps/docs, too. In general,create a ps2 level printer. Make sure you use the PPD file from the windowsdriver package instead of the cups/foomatic one. You will get better results during the conversion.
  • The reason is Scribus is generating PS3 level objects which the PS interpreteris unable to understand. This is a frequent issue with Black and White laser jets when printing fromDesktop Publishing Apps - I've seen this with LJ4 and 5, as well as newer HP2xxx printers with Pagemaker, Quark Xpress and Indesign.
How do you get printer to print on a non standard size page? It depends:
  1. If you are printing to a local printer which is *not* a postscript printer, but using CUPS, you can't. It is a limitation, as far as we can tell of CUPS.
  2. If you have a "real" postscript printer, Scribus - with CUPS support - will support any arbitrary page size, as long as the printer support it.

Scripting / Command line

  • You can write Python scripts which will run inside Scribus.
  • If you have questions about scripting you should post them to the mailing list or join the Scribus IRC channel.

Workflows and Collaboration

When I email Scribus .sla documents to others, they have trouble opening them. How do I fix this? Some have noted, some mailers add extra lines to the Scribus doc. Saving as a compressed sla.gz seems to fix this. Plus, Scribus files compress very well.
So, how can I work with others who might have other DTP applications? Use EPS, SVG or PDF as an exchange format. Scribus created PDF files can be easily imported into a number of commercial applications. SVG import is excellent for vector artwork. Scribus can import EPS files as long as they are conforming to the specs - this includes spot colors in DCS 2.0 files. The documentation has detailed notes covering these subjects. You can also improve EPS import by ensuring you have the newest Ghostscript installed.

Getting additional help

How do I contact the Scribus Team or find interactive help?
  1. The complete set of the latest docs are online as well being included with Scribus. The Scribus Help browser can search on keywords, has bookmark capability and history. For the online version see: There are translations of the docs into French, German, Italian and Polish underway.
  2. There is an active and friendly mailing list details here Scribus Mailing List The archives are also searchable.
  3. Find the developers on IRC, see: Scribus on IRC for more details.
  4. All the Scribus developers e-mail details are here: Docs Index
  5. Please do not use this FAQ to ask individual questions, those can be addressed via the resources above.
  6. Scribus is supported commerically by some members of the Scribus Team. Commercial organizations and other institutions are urged to visit for more information.

Community and Participation

How do I donate my to this project? Help support the Libre Graphics Meeting. This is the most important conference for the team.
How should I submit my design template which is going to be copyleft?
  1. Create an account (see Your first Scribus Wiki Article for details).
  2. Upload your file.
  3. Add your template to the list and provide a link to the uploaded file in the Sample Docs and Templates Category.


Where does the name "Scribus" come from? When Franz Schmid launched the project, the first working name was "Open Page", but thought to be too generic. Scribus derives from the Latin name of the official writers in Roman times, from which we get scribe or writer. This translates well into many languages besides English. The German word is schrift, for example.
How do you pronounce Scribus? "Skry - bus". Long I, not short I. It is also similar to "Scribe" + "us".

Legal Issues

How much does Scribus cost? Both Scribus code and the application are free to download and use without any limitations. They are also free to distribute as long as you comply with the requirements of the GPLv2 license.
Some people are not familiar with GPL license. So:
  1. Can Scribus be used legally in a company to produce internally used documents?
  2. Can Scribus be used legally by a company or an individual to produce documents that can be sold? (for instance, DTP documents)
Yes to both without any reservations.

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Pages in category "FAQ"

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