Reduce PDF size

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Michael Eager

Hi --

We want to convert a small (12 or 16 page) newsletter from InDesign to Scribus.  With InDesign, a print-quality PDF is less than 2Mb and web-quality PDF is less than 1Mb.  The PDF generated by Scribus is 45Mb.

What can I do to shrink the PDF down to more manageable size?

-- Mike


Scribus 1.4.0 on Windows Vista 32-bit



i face the very same problem.

even i followed the links an tried out everything offered there my PDF file will not be smaller then 12mb@ 72dpi max, 300dpi would make 14mb.
i also tried the hardway by using the scripts and programs from the scribus wiki
result was as bad as with scribus export function

dokument contains 36 pages atm, with one picture (mostly jpg's) on every page.
the pictures i use vary from 72 to 150dpi and make up 1.6mb in total.
fonts used are audimat and calibri

in detail: tried to export a weboptimized pdf (target: 1-2 mb). scribus v.1.4
settings:   pdf 1.4

general: checked: save textframes as pdf article

compress text and vectorgrafik
- jped
- minimal
- 72 dpi

fonts: nothing embedded, nothing transformed to curves

everything else: default

i also get an error report in the beginning: "overflowing text", "objects out of page", "image resolution less then 144DPI" on various pages.


It has been said over and over again: The size of Scribus PDF does not mainly depend on the graphics, but on how Scribus places text on page.

Scribus places each single glyph on the page separately, most other applications place glyphs one line at a time, but that does not give the accuracy Scribus can give.

So, for example OO Writer would do something like:

Set cursor at x,y
Write text "Hello World!"

While Scribus will:

Set cursor at x1,y
Write text "H"
Set cursor at x2,y
Write text "e"
Set cursor at x3,y
Write text "l"
Set cursor at x4,y
Write text "l"
Set cursor at x5,y
Write text "o"
Set cursor at x6,y
Write text " "
Set cursor at x7,y
Write text "w"
Set cursor at x8,y
Write text "o"
Set cursor at x9,y
Write text "r"
Set cursor at x10,y
Write text "l"
Set cursor at x11,y
Write text "d"
Set cursor at x12,y
Write text "!"

All those cursor relocations take up space in the PDF.

The reason Scribus does like this is because it is targeting at printed materials, where you want that accuracy.


sry i am a complete scribus newb and from what i have read so far it looked very much like the image size will (also) add up to final PDF size.

i attached an example pdf generated of a typical page of this report pictures are probably not responsible for my unwanted outcome, how can i optimize my text boxes (or whatever else may be responsible for the file size).

thx so far


[attachment deleted by admin]


A lot of people think that images are the main issue because that is the case with most other applications creating PDF. But many Scribus users have tested using lower resolution images to reduce the PDF size without success, so the conclusion is that with Scribus it is generally not the images that are the problem.

You tests indicate the same: Reducing image size does not affect the PDF size very much.

Also note that the PDF will include all objects in the document even if they are not visible. You have warnings indicating that there are objects outside the pages and text in frames that does not show. These will be included in the final PDF, so you should locate them (use the Outline window) and delete or correct them.


Just tested with my book - just right now 263 pages.

PDF Output 72 dpi: 9009 KB
PDF Output 150 dpi: 27732 KB

So there is depending on the resolution a severe difference in the PDF size like expected.
Founder of PEGE - Planetary Engineering Group Earth
Founder and CEO of


I guess your book contains a lot of small images.

Michael Eager wrote about a 12-16 page document that ended up being 45 MB, that is twice as much as your biggest file.


well, solved 99% of the errors, still no smaller pdf size. i'll switch to indesign for future projects


Of course you are free to switch to Indesign. The Scribus team will give you the money back for Scribus. Oh, wait... right... Scribus is free.

Meho R.

@rbt, try testing with fonts other than Calibri (for which is known that it, along some other MS fonts, is problematic), embed them and see how that reflects on size. I did some tests with pictures ~100KB, on ten pages, with 3 font files embedded, and the resulting PDF was around 3.5MB. Also, creating an example .sla file containing 2 or 3 pages and posting it together with example images and fonts would make troubleshooting much easier.

On the other hand, if the file is intended for print, its size shouldn't be an issue at all.


Quote from: rbt on April 18, 2012, 11:48:56 PM
well, solved 99% of the errors, still no smaller pdf size. i'll switch to indesign for future projects

Just tested picture parameters

Compression quality maximum - 120 dpi -> 22 MB
Compression quality medium - 150 -> 7 MB
Founder of PEGE - Planetary Engineering Group Earth
Founder and CEO of