[Scribus] Character-by-character placement in PDF

Gregory Pittman gpittman
Wed Oct 19 23:25:56 CEST 2005

Phil Hughes wrote:

>I brought this issue up before but there seemed to be "no concern". I
>would like to re-raise it.
>The issue is that plain text strings are put out in PostScript by a
>series of move to commands. Thus, output of 100 characters can easily
>end up with thousands of characters in the PDF. Besides this, it
>means that the PDF reader will have to deal with placement of the
>individual characters rather than just outputting a string.
>The explanation for this is that there are cases where text must be
>output like this. If you change kerning at a character level or if
>characters change in color. No argument here. The ability to do this
>is one of the reasons PDFs are so very flexible.
>The issue, for me, is that most (probably meaning 99%) of the text I
>want to output is nothing more than lines of text in a single color.
>Specifically, I want to output the text of TUX Magazine soon and, if
>all goes well, Linux Journal. Thus, one where the PDF must be emailed
>or downloaded and the other where it is sent to a printer.
>My feeling (helped along by talking to Mitch Frazier) is that it
>doesn't seem like it would be that hard to offer an automatic choice.
>That is, when Scribus is creating a PDF, if there are text
>modifications the current method is used but, for ordinary text, a
>more efficient output system would be used.
>This post is really about who might also be concerned about this
>apparant inefficiency and, beyond that, who might be interested in
>helping with a solution. Concern, at this point, is more important
>that help. If there is no concern than maybe I have missed
>something--that is, maybe this isn't really a problem.
Let me offer this observation. If there is a more or less absolute need 
for efficiency of this type, consider that all of the pertinent text 
information is really contained in the Scribus .sla file. This file can 
be transmitted with a lot less overhead, especially if you're just 
talking about text. There are only two requirements on the receiving end 
-- a working copy of Scribus compatible with the Scribus file type 
(1.2.x vs 1.3.x), and the correct fonts (though subs can be done in a 
To some extent I guess the reason for the "inefficiency" of PDF files is 
the same as why magazines are carefully laid out rather than just a 
series of monospaced plain text pages.


More information about the scribus mailing list