Scribus Output

From Scribus Wiki
Revision as of 10:09, 27 December 2019 by JLuc (talk | contribs) (→‎Embedding and/or outlining fonts)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search



  • 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 viewing 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 management, 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 commercial RIP's or a Level 3 Postscript printer to use these features properly. The latest versions of Ghostscript support 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 digital security,multimedia and workflow features. Unfortunately, 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.

PDF size

PDF documents generated by Scribus are very large. Is there any way to reduce their size? PDFs can grow very large if they include a lot of images. Here are some suggestions to reduce the PDF size:
  • check the resolution of the images included in your document: higher resolution usually means larger file. Use the lowest resolution suitable for your document's purpose.
  • if you use only a part of an image, the whole image is included into the PDF anyway; you should crop the image appropriately before including it in the Scribus document.
  • when exporting to PDF, adjust the "Image Compression Method" settings. Using a lower compression quality and limiting the maximum image resolution can significantly reduce the final PDF size. You can find examples and details in this page.

You can find scripts for reducing PDF size here and here.


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.
  • Embedding fonts exposes you to all the vagaries of font coding. Outlining is always a safe choice, because it moves the font interpretation to your computer, where you have full control and visibility on the end result


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 interpreter is unable to understand. This is a frequent issue with Black and White laser jets when printing from Desktop 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.