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Can Scribus create a SEARCHABLE PDF? Are there workarounds?

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I'm a DTP newbie as well as a Scribus newbie, but an old hand in IT
(60 years since - honest!)

I'm trying to help the new editor of our Village Magazine
- imaginative, very enthusiastic, but hasn't a clue about how PCs & software work

I have TWO questions

I want to put our mag publication on the village website.
I want that file to be a SEARCHABLE PDF file, just like 99% of the PDFs on the web
All I've been able to create in Scribus so far is a PDF wrapper of images of text

CAN Scribus create such a PDF?
Is there a workaround?
What other software would we need to create such a PDF?

The environment we use is Windows 10, with bags of space and adequate CPU & RAM

The unsearchable PDF I currently create renders very well using a browser
but the Gold Standard PDF software does a rubbish job.
Words like lilliput are an on screen disgrace.

Thinking about it I reckon the problem is caused because the "text" is seen by PDF as images
so the text and font settings in Reader make no difference

Why are browsers so much better than Reader?
See 3 screen snips attached, all at 100% zoom from Chrome, Edge & Reader

Can I change anything in Scribus to improve this
WHat have I not done?



Not quite sure if I understand. Any PDF you create with scribus should be "searchable", as its not an image.

If you want to upload a PDF of your publication to view/search online, you need to look into one of those page flipping services. Take a look at this one used by many publications:


if i recall correctly, scribus does not yet fully supports variable fonts... and bahnschrift can be a variable font (depending which version you download from where).

you can check in the pdf export dialog what scribus does with the font.

but the problem might also be that the text is set in a good stream.
in that case you can use software like ghostscript (or probably adobe acrobat) to improve the flow of the chars.
sometimes / often, scribus tends to place each character individually.

if you can upload a sample pdf, it's a bit easier to check what the exact problems is...


no, i don't think you can do much there.

Edit: about the messed up "ll": they will print correctly, and i think that the development version of scribus is less likely to produce such artifacts.


please, one question per post : - )

Well, what I mean by Searchable is, however you VIEW the file, (Browser, or locally using a local PDF Reader app)
I expect to be be able to do Ctrl/F (or CMD/F) for the search dialog
to enter a single word I can read that obviously isn't an image
and for the dialog to find and select that word
so that I can COPY it to the clipboard and paste it into any Text Editor

You can't do that with a PNG, obviously, but I don't know how in Scribus
to create a PDF searchable as above.
SO I can't do it on my PDF

as attached

Thank you v much for such a prompt reply

@digirew  PDF sample now posted of what you generously called my "publication"  :D :D :D

Apologies to Mr Moderator for not reading the posting rules properly.
I won't re-offend

My issue about rendering was with Arial Regular 12pt
as in the the repeated lilliputs at the end of my sample PDF

It's the adverse visual impact that I want to resolve. Can't sensibly put that on the web, can I?
The paper print is fine, as you say

BahnSchrift is a local TrueType font on my std Win 10 box, loaded from the system, and with subset unchecked...
... thinking about that, I haven't restarted Scribus since the time I unchecked some Subset chkboxes
Might that be relevant?

The PDF Export dialog says Bahnshrift is embedded, and Arial is Outlined
All other dialog options are at default settings

As a DTP newbie I don't understand what you might mean by "the text is set in a good stream"....?

I'm using stable version; wd you recommend trying the current dev??




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