[scribus] Embed, subset, or outline?

John Jason Jordan johnxj at comcast.net
Tue Mar 23 03:43:02 CET 2010

On Mon, 22 Mar 2010 16:01:22 -0400
John Culleton <john at wexfordpress.com> dijo:

>On Monday 22 March 2010 14:01:38 John Jason Jordan wrote:
>> I have a document that uses seven fonts. The document was created in
>> on Fedora 11 x86_64. All the fonts are open source, hence I
>> assume there are no restrictions on embedding (how can I find that
>> out for sure?).
>> When I go to export as PDF under the Fonts tab all seven fonts are
>> listed in the left window. To the right are two windows, Embed on the
>> top and Outline on the bottom. The default behavior is to have the
>> right two windows empty. If I click on Embed All, Scribus immediately
>> places all seven in the Outline window. If I select any of them in
>> the Outline window and click on the up arrow to move it up to the
>> Embed window, the font disappears from the Outline window, but does
>> not move up to the Embed window. Nothing I can do will get any of
>> them into the Embed window.
>> If I leave the setting at the default - that is, all seven listed in
>> the left window and none listed in the Embed or Outline windows,
>> evidently Scribus still places the fonts into the PDF. I know this is
>> true because when I open the PDF in Adobe Reader it lists the fonts.
>> Or maybe Scribus just places a pointer to the font in the PDF and
>> Adobe Reader would fail to display the PDF correctly if I opened the
>> PDF on a computer that did not have the fonts installed.
>> My (dim) understanding is that Embed places the entire font in the
>> PDF, Subset places only the glyphs actually used in the document
>> into the PDF, and Outline converts everything to paths so they are
>> just vector outlines. I am trying to find ways to reduce the size of
>> the PDF, but the Export to PDF dialog box has me confused.
>> The PDF will be used for printing to laser printers. Therefore:
>> 1) Which option will result in fastest print times, Embed, Subset or
>> Outline?
>> 2) How can I get Scribus to embed the fonts if it refuses to move the
>> fonts to the Embed window? Is it possible Scribus is confused about
>> whether the font can be embedded or not? Can I fix this?

>John C. here.
>How long a document?  I usually save at PDF 1.5, then print to file.
>Then do ps2pdf. (requires GhostScript suite available free.)
>That usually does the flattening step that Scribus lacks.
>If that doesn't work for you 
>I would save as pdf, then do a pdf2pdf step. Or even pdf2ps, followed
>by ps2pdf13. 


Thanks for the reply. In fact, if I recall correctly, you saved my butt
last time I had a similar problem. This time I will save the

As I have recently learned, Scribus cannot flatten transparencies
except by exporting to PDF 1.4 or 1.5. So that was my first step.
Unfortunately, the document was 203 MB and nothing would print it to
laser at a speed where the job would be finished by the close of the
decade. I was fumbling around trying to get a smaller PDF file by
embedding or subsetting or otherwise playing with the PDF export
settings. Nothing was working.

After reading your reply I took the PDF exported from Scribus and used
pdf2ps to convert it to PS. Unfortunately pdf2ps puked it up with a
long list of incomprehensible error messages.

I tried opening the PDF in Adobe Reader, Okular and a couple others,
then printing to file. The only one which would do it was Evince. 

Once I had a PS file I tried sending it to the printer with lpr, but
that was just as slow as printing the original PDF exported from

So then I took the PS file exported from Evince and used ps2pdf to
convert it back to a PDF. The resulting file was only 5 MB! I opened it
in Adobe Reader, expecting the worst. Like, how could this process have
shrunk a 203 MB file down to a 5 MB file and still work? 

But it did! The file is printing at close to the rated speed of the
printer as I write this, and the output is perfect.

So now the question is, what the hell is Scribus doing when it exports
a PDF? Stuffing it with straw so it will look more important? OK, I
give the developers the benefit of the doubt. I know little about how
PDF files work, so I will assume there are valid reasons for the file
size. Still, it makes me wonder.

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