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Scribus => Tutorials, Tips and How-Tos => Topic started by: javierdl on May 01, 2012, 06:08:59 pm

Title: What is PDFLatex for?
Post by: javierdl on May 01, 2012, 06:08:59 pm
Hi guys!

Googling "What is PDFLatex for" didn't bring me much back :(
I notice one can insert PDFLatex files in a Scribus document. Does this have something to do with very specific type of files for color separation and such?

Thanks guys,

Title: Re: What is PDFLatex for?
Post by: Christen_Anderson on May 01, 2012, 07:16:22 pm
Hi javierdl,

Check out "The pdftex FAQ": ( It might have the info you're looking for.

Title: Re: What is PDFLatex for?
Post by: Meho R. on May 01, 2012, 09:47:33 pm
TeX is arguably the most powerful typesetting system in existence. Being also quite complicated for non-programmers, it got "simplified" by the invention of LaTeX, which is basically a set of macros and some high-level commands which enable the user to create high-quality documents without much worry about typographical appearance (TeX in the background is taking care of that). A distinctive characteristic of LaTeX is fantastic typesetting of math, although it's suitable for creating high-quality docs of any kind.

LaTeX is a mark-up language, where you worry about the structure of the document, not about the appearance. E.g., in LaTeX, you'll always say \chapter{A chapter} or \section{A section} to mark those sectioning units, and not: I want to use typeface XY, size 16pt, bold, no indent, vertical space before... after... etc. (though you can tweak all of those). The concept is somehow similar to using character and paragraph styles, but with much more flexibility and power.

pdfTeX is a variant of TeX (and pdflatex is, as you guess, a variant of LaTeX), whose most prominent purpose is to create a PDF output (TeX's default output format is DVI, device indepented format).

In Scribus, the main purpose of TeX (Render Frame) is probably to typeset math, which is very hard to do properly in most DTP applications without special extensions/plugins. But to use that feature, you'll have to install TeX on your machine (the best and the easiest way being TeXLive ( for all platforms, or, for Windows users, MikTeX ( is a nice alternative too).

You can read about some basic infos regarding TeX here ( or, a more comprehensive intro here (

EDIT: I attached a quick example of some math produced by pdflatex in Scribus via Render Frames.
Title: Re: What is PDFLatex for?
Post by: javierdl on May 02, 2012, 04:55:49 am
Again, thank you both guys :) !!!

Have a good one,