Black text is not 100% black

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Scribus 1.4.7 on win10
Got a proof back from printshop and text is gray, not black.

After investigation I found out:
- The text is black in Scribus (CMYK 0,0,0,100)
- I can export to PDF1.5 using grayscale option and black is kept (tested by justcolorpicker)
- When I convert to PDF/X with Ghostscipt, the text is no longer black (87% black only)

- If I export to PDF/X-3 from Scribus, the text is no longer black either

The print shop prefer PDF/X-4 but can also take PDF/X-3.
How am i going to preserve black on output to PDF/X-3?

If anyone could explain the steps needed to achieve black text I would be grateful.
This seems to be a common question, but I can't find any good answers.
(tried to post a while ago, but it seems to have disappeared, please remove if duplicate)


hi sten


- update to 1.4.8
- you should not use ghostscript (without 100% understanding all parameters) on a pdf created by scribus for the print workflow
- a color picker is not a good way for checking the colors (i guess that it will give you RGB colors anyway...)
- when exporting to pdf/x-3 from scribus you should make sure that you're using the right profiles.
- 100% black is often not the best black for print... but you should not get a gray result either...

without seeing the exact files (and profiles) it's hard for me to say more...

but: scribus should do the right thing and if it does not, it's a bug.... if you're sure that you're doing the right thing, you're welcome to provide test files (a sample .sla, resulting pdf, and the profiles you're using), please upload them to .



Thanks for the reply, I only wish they would give som more advise. Some further comments:

- One reason for Gostscript is that there is no grayscale option for PDF/X-3 in Scribus. Another is that I have to merge all chapters together in the final output.
- I will certainly upgrade to 1.4.8 in my next project, but for the moment I'm not willing to test a new version unless it specifically adresses som of my problems. According to the release notes it does not.
- The result from colorpicker is consistent with the proof from the print shop that I can see for myself, 87% black i.e. gray. Until I have a better way I'll stick to this.
- 100% black is specifically requested from the print shop.
- Working with color profiles is new to me, that is the probably the cause of the problems.

I am not suggesting there is a bug in Scribus yet.

When I try to revert to exporting PDF/X-3 from Scribus another problem arises. There is no grayscale option, so in addition to not producing black text, my images comes up in color, although not visible. Can be tested by the inkcov parameter in Ghostscript. The printshop requires all BW pages to be totally free of color. There is probably another way to do this with color profiles, but I just dont know how.

Supplying the joboptions file I got from the printshop. It's kind of part of their specification.

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Here are the Scribus PDF-export settings I use (supplied)

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- 1.4.8 is a bug fix release an should not contain any regression.
- as far as i recall it does fix some icc related things.
- you don't strictly need it, but it's not a bad idea to install it.

i'm no color expert, but i guess that you will have to use the grayscale ICC profile that matches the target printer.
or a generic grayscale profile...