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Author Topic: Can Scribus create a SEARCHABLE PDF? Are there workarounds?  (Read 888 times)

Spilly

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Can Scribus create a SEARCHABLE PDF? Are there workarounds?
« on: September 24, 2020, 08:59:38 pm »
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

Q1
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

Q2
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?

spilly

spilly
Win 10 bog std laptop
Scribus v1.5.5 64bit
in IT for 60 odd years, but zero DTP experience so far

digirew

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Re: Can Scribus create a SEARCHABLE PDF? Are there workarounds?
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2020, 09:12:25 pm »
Spilly,

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: https://flipdocs.com/

a.l.e

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Re: Can Scribus create a SEARCHABLE PDF? Are there workarounds?
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2020, 09:30:50 pm »
A1

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...

A2

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.

A0

please, one question per post : - )
« Last Edit: September 24, 2020, 09:33:31 pm by a.l.e »

Spilly

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Re: Can Scribus create a SEARCHABLE PDF? Are there workarounds?
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2020, 09:39:16 pm »
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

spilly
Win 10 bog std laptop
Scribus v1.5.5 64bit
in IT for 60 odd years, but zero DTP experience so far

Spilly

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Re: Can Scribus create a SEARCHABLE PDF? Are there workarounds?
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2020, 10:16:59 pm »
@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??

spilly

 
spilly
Win 10 bog std laptop
Scribus v1.5.5 64bit
in IT for 60 odd years, but zero DTP experience so far

utnik

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Re: Can Scribus create a SEARCHABLE PDF? Are there workarounds?
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2020, 11:17:22 pm »
hi spilly

your .pdf file looks very strange. some of the characters are combinations of overlapping vector shapes – and there aren't any embedded fonts at all (neither fully embedded nor as subsets…)
scribus generated .pdf files are usually searchable (as long as you didn't outline the text.)

i don't know what went wrong here.

utnik

Spilly

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Re: Can Scribus create a SEARCHABLE PDF? Are there workarounds?
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2020, 12:13:33 am »
I'm VERY pleased to read your reply
as I really can't accept my results to date

I've simply downloaded the stable 1.4.8 version, accepted defaults, and created the test PDF you've seen

I added a few styles in F3 style manager, but no more than that

My first excursion into Scribus was to patch an advertiser's copy for which I only had a PNG of the advert
The copy was WHITE text on BLACK background and the original phone no was wrong
but parts of the ad were a distorted, stretched image of an unknown font, so oo-er  :o

I hammed a similar advert up more or less to scale in MS Word, swapping fonts until they matched the figures I needed to change.
After that it was easy - put an opaque rectangle over the bad text; and place good text in WHITE font on transparent background over the top -  :D :D
That gave me clues about how the DTP system works - the key is the Style Manager methinks
-------

I've been looking for a way to export my Scribus styles, but haven't found one yet.
(Makes you thankful for MS Excel & Word's Help files doesn't it?... AND the forums & MVP guys too of course)

All I've done is create a text frame on a blank page and type the rubbish text you see, formatted into 4 paragraphs
NB The First para is a No Style string of characters, followed by Newline;
the other paras use a defined style, of which I have three altogether.

The fonts were all collected from Win 10's fonts folder,

To create the PDF I just did File>Export>Save As... PDF, with everything in that dialog at default settings

I attach as a single set of 5 small files in use
    The .SLA story
    • a Snip of the Story editor
    • Snips of the both tabs in the Default para editor
    the PDF result I create from that

I am very grateful for your interest and hope to hear more soon

spilly



spilly
Win 10 bog std laptop
Scribus v1.5.5 64bit
in IT for 60 odd years, but zero DTP experience so far

digirew

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Re: Can Scribus create a SEARCHABLE PDF? Are there workarounds?
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2020, 02:24:23 am »
Spilly,

I would recommend you download the dev version 1.5.5 and try it again to see if it resolves your issue.


I tried your .sla file you posted in 1.5.5, while I dont have the bahnschrift font, when I exported to PDF it created the PDF correctly.... and "searchable".

Spilly

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Re: Can Scribus create a SEARCHABLE PDF? Are there workarounds?
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2020, 11:31:39 am »
@digirew  BINGO! That's answered both my questions  :) :) :)

Conclusions:

STABLE RELEASE 1.4.8 has serious some shortcomings
  • Release 1.4.8 creates a PDF file that is usable by print houses
    but has shortcomings in how text is represented in the PDF
  • Text appears to be held as images, possibly of each individual character, in a PDF wrapper
    Adobe Reader does NOT render it properly
    yet browsers CAN render it properly at various zoom levels!
Development Version (v1.5.5, Aug 2019)
  • PDFs created by v1.5.5 contain textbox content as text strings
    with formatting held separately
    (I'm guessing: I don't know PDF internals).
  • Because the PDF contains text strings it is "searchable"
    in the Find dialog of any PDF Reader used
  • The Acid Test (for me) is that Adobe Reader renders it perfectly
I was asked, as an IT "expert" (Joke!!!) to advise on DTP software selection,
but I'm a DTP newbie AND a public domain software newbie too,
so not best qualified.
The main DTP user would likely panic at unexpected software crashes
so I took the "cautious" path and chose the Stable Release 1.4.8

It looks like that was not the best route for us.

I'm very grateful to those who have replied to this thread
and particularly to Digirew for his test of my stuff in v1.5.5

Thread SOLVED and One happy customer  :D  says THANK YOU
spilly
Win 10 bog std laptop
Scribus v1.5.5 64bit
in IT for 60 odd years, but zero DTP experience so far

a.l.e

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Re: Can Scribus create a SEARCHABLE PDF? Are there workarounds?
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2020, 11:35:45 am »
hi spilly

it's not about post rules, but common sense. if you ask several question at once in a written form, the replies will be hard to read...

i could not read all the details in your further posts and replies, but here some input that could help:

- the development version contain much code that helps with modern fonts. arial is a huge font and won't probably be included as is in a pdf and bahnschrift -- afaik --is a font that if it's not its ttf version will challenge the scribus capabilities.

the text in the pdf you are sharing is all outlined, which is probably to be expected in 1.4.
with 1.5 you will probably obtain some subsetting, and the text will probably be at least partially searchable.

just be careful that you cannot open with scribus 1.4 document that have been saved with 1.5: work on copies of your documents until you're 100% that you want to make the switch to the development version.

a.l.e

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Re: Can Scribus create a SEARCHABLE PDF? Are there workarounds?
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2020, 11:37:57 am »
p.s.: Scribus is not public domain software!
if you're starting your career in consulting for free DTP software you might want to read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_software : - )

utnik

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Re: Can Scribus create a SEARCHABLE PDF? Are there workarounds?
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2020, 01:07:20 pm »
the text in the pdf you are sharing is all outlined, which is probably to be expected in 1.4.

not really! when i export the .sla file shared by spilly to .pdf, the part in 'bahnschrift' is not searchable, but the rest is.
usually text in .pdf files generated with scribus 1.4 is real text (selectable and searchable…)

there seems to be a problem with the scribus installation (or with the exporting process) on the machine of spilly – and 'bahnschrift' may have something that doesn't work with scribus 1.4, but does with 1.5.

utnik

a.l.e

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Re: Can Scribus create a SEARCHABLE PDF? Are there workarounds?
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2020, 01:28:36 pm »
hoi utnik

i was not suggesting that every text is outlined with 1.4.

but afaik arial and bahnschrift are fonts that are likely to be outlined in 1.4.
of course it all depends on the exact font file installed / used.

without seeing the exact files, i can suppose that you can override the outlining of arial (it it gets outlined because it's big) but not bahnschrift (because scribus 1.4 does not know how to include / subset it)

all this is from reports i've read, since i'm not using scribus on windows and have not used 1.4 for many many years now (and i can't install and use it anymore on my system due to the missing qt4)

utnik

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Re: Can Scribus create a SEARCHABLE PDF? Are there workarounds?
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2020, 01:44:41 pm »
hi ale

what is called 'outlining' in the .pdf export dialog of scribus 1.4 is in fact creating (and embedding) a so called 'type 3 font'. this sort of 'outlining' keeps full searchability.
if you need real outlines, you have to generate them via 'item' → 'convert to' → 'outlines' – and this doesn't work for individual paragraphs.

utnik

Spilly

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Re: Can Scribus create a SEARCHABLE PDF? Are there workarounds?
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2020, 02:27:06 pm »
Hi guys

You've all been chatting while I was preparing this & doing other things
Thank you for your interest.

Let me first say that the BahnSchrift font is NOT a problem to us
I just happened to use it in my first excursion into Scribus, and I got the result I needed.
So for this test stuff I just used the .SLA I had saved earlier and fiddled with it

My issue all along has been with Arial Reg 12pt not rendering properly in my Scribus 1.4 PDF
- though in my ignorance of DTP, I couldn't then put it as simply and clearly as that.
With your help, I'm now more with it.  Thanks guys

My personal experience has been mainly Excel & VBA, not images and fonts - or much text either for that matter


@a.l.e
Thank you for your replies this morning

On your PS at #10: I stand corrected - again!  ;)

I was uncertain how to categorise Scribus, but too idle to look up the precise definition of "public domain software".

I've now installed 1.5.5 and the result is exactly what I hoped for.
Arial 12pt is "searchable" in the 1.5 PDF and renders in Acrobat Reader

We can now get ourselves organised, so that each successive issue of our village magazine is easy to produce.
I don't think our editor has yet grasped the potential of the F3 Style Manager
so I'm hacking up a "Starter for Ten" for her in 1.5

We don't have a huge investment in previous issues to migrate between versions,
so we will both take the plunge, remove 1.4, substitute 1.5.5 and take it from there.

Now that I've seen 1.5.5 for myself, I can understand all your comments better.

----


My PS
At 82 years next, I'm not starting any consulting career.

But, in the same spirit as the Scribus team (including you as Mod), I give my time for free
and try to get a Gift aided donation to a local charity in exchange for my efforts.

Sadly I was born too soon for the IT revolution and the fantastic training available today.

I remember reading about Bill Gates cross compiling earlt BASIC on some DEC boxes;
and years later someone mentioned "Object Oriented Programming", saying I'd like that...
In the light of some more recent experiences, he was quite right.


I suppose I am distinguished from most forum members not only by my age
but also by my claim to have programmed an electronic computer with a hammer
The approved programming equipment for the Powers Samas PCC (Programmed Control Computer) was
  • a PCB with lots of XY holes
  • a box of copper rivets
  • a hammer and
  • an anvil!
My journey from Punched cards > mainframes > 8 and 16 bit microprocessors > DOS > Windows > phones, and copper to fibre...  unbelievable!

Gratefully


spilly
spilly
Win 10 bog std laptop
Scribus v1.5.5 64bit
in IT for 60 odd years, but zero DTP experience so far

 

palmate