Problem with file sizes

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I am a new user of Scribus, and I believe it is a great tool.

I am using Scribus 1.4.5. Since January I am publishing a simple monthly magazine in a community and distribute it as pdf by means of an email group.

In the beginning after a few tests, I built my first document with various fonts, colors and master pages I will be using : cover page, left page and right page. Than I created the first magazine. For each new magazine I get the file copy of the previous one, and by deleting and adding new articles, pictures etc I am building the new one.

I have observed a growing trend in the size of the .sla and .pdf files. But I suspect that the increase in .sla file size is much more important.

Following are the .sla and .pdf file sizes of the past 4 magazines and the new magazine for May.

issue  scribus    pdf    pages
  #1     3.03 MB  2.23 MB    12
  #2     2.25 MB  2.52 MB    20
  #3    11.31 MB  5.04 MB    29
  #4    22.42 MB  6.87 MB    32
  #5   127.98 MB 15.44 MB    28

As you can see there is some trend towards bigger .sla files. I suspect Scribus keeps rubbish data from the previous .sla file and so may be that data is accumulated in the file. By rubbish I mean that I delete a box but it is not really deleted. it stays inside the file.

Between issue 2 -> 3 : I added 9 pages and may be a bit more pictures (on the average), but the .sla file doubled and so did the .pdf. So I cannot say much about it. I also didn't suspected anything at that time.

Between issue 3 -> 4:  I added just 3 pages more but the .sla file doubled again. The .pdf just got greater by 1/5 th of the previous one so isn't this really weird ?

Now I am preparing the 5 th issue. My number of pages actually went down by 4 this month, but the .sla file is 6 times bigger (!) and the .pdf file 2.5 times bigger (!).

I decided to copy the .sla #5 and remove all those pages but leave those whom I require in each each issue and use this .sla file as a template to start each month's magazine from scratch from this .sla. I deleted all pages and went down to 6 pages: just the cover page (1), two inner pages (2,3), two empty pages (4, 5), and the closing page (6). I also created the .pdf file.

This is what I got !!!

issue  scribus    pdf    pages
  #5   127.98 MB 15.44 MB    28
templ.  54.61 MB  0.99 MB     6

The first issue with 12 pages was at least three times bigger than this. The pdf may be considered as OK but the .sla is really weird.

I decided to do another test because I might be doing something wrong with the pictures and there were quite a lot of pictures in issue 5. What I am actually doing is this: I use a free picture editing software named "Photofiltre". I copy paste or open the picture in this application and then I resize it to my needs most of the time I am not saving the picture to disk but I am just copy-pasting it from this software into scribus' picture boxes. I suspected that, may be what I copy even after the resize of the picture might not be that of the actual file to be saved. So may be I have to save the pictures first on disk and than get them by means of the "get"option into the picture boxes in scribus. I did this. I usually resize my fotos to fit in an 800x800 pixel box, but this time I was quite conservative and resized them to fit in a 600x600 box. I saved them to disk and used the "get" option to load them into the picture boxes. This is the result:

issue  scribus    pdf    pages
  #5   127.98 MB 15.44 MB    28
new    82.17 MB  9,25 MB    28

The sizes of my pictures on disk are much less than 150 KB and many even less than 100 KB. SO may be the difference of 40 MB decrease was due to such a problem.

But both files are still too big.

I compressed the pdf by means of web page. and the resulting pdf file got down to 4.18 MB which is satisfactory. But for me the .sla file size is much more important because this show that there is some problem is scribus.

I'd like to know if you have such an experience, I couldn't search all the forums for this, I just found discussions abıut the pdf sizes. Which are not of much relevance to me.

Many thanks in advance,


Welcome to the forum Vasil.

Wow, those are large SLA files!

Just to put those sizes in perspective, the first 300 pages of "War and Peace" at 8pt saves at around 6.8MB. (The text itself is just over 3MB.)

I think the problem you're having with the size of the SLA is that you are - as far as I can tell - copying an image to the clipboard and then using the "Paste from Clipboard" function. This means that the whole image is embedded in the SLA so the more images you have and the larger they are the SLA will get progressively bigger.

You should normally only put images in image frames by using the "Get Image" function (which you mention a little later). This creates a link to the image file instead of embedding the image and helps to keep the size of the SLA down. It also means that you can update the image file and Scribus will automatically update the document with those changes.

Basically don't use "Paste from Clipboard" and you'll have fewer problems with SLA size.


Garry thanks for your response.

This I know very well. But I prefer the pictures rest within the .sla because the directories can undergo changes. You will say once you get the pdf the .sla file is not anymore needed. You are also very right bout this :-)

Now look what I did : I deleted all pages except the first one which Scribus doesn't allowed me to delete. On this page I only see the master cover page and nothing else. The size of the .sla is still 53 MB !!!

issue  scribus    pdf    pages
  #5   127.98 MB 15.44 MB    28
test2.  53.47 MB  0.40 MB     1

There is definitely some bug in Scribus and I don't understand why anyone else haven't yet realized it :-)

So I understand that deleting objects doesn't really delete them from inside the .sla file. At least remain some garbage part of them. So one can have to start all the time from scratch or from some very initial template file all the time. But this is not the easy way to create daily, weekly or monthly magazines because in time you create new corners for example corner for different articles, corner for puzzle, corner for poems, etc and you want them to have ready at hand creating the next magazine. The easiest way is to edit the last magazine and create the new one.

Sorry for my English, I am using 4 languages at the same time and from time to time I am mixing words :-)


Is it possible to copy objects between two .sla files?


hi vasil

you should definitely change your workflow!

  • don't ever use copy&paste for images.
  • build a template for the magazine
  • put your image frames with the mentioned special corners into the scrapbook.
  • use 'file' → 'collect for output' in order to archive your workfiles. the placed images will be copied in a folder together with the .sla file (and other used stuff, if you like...)
you can import pages, colors, paragraph stiles... from one project into a new one.



Thank you very much Utnik...
And I was just looking to what a Scrapbook is :-)
It seems that you can also export import objects from different versions of Scribus...
I'll certainly use this feature...


Vasil, if you could make the very large one-page SLA available to download from somewhere then someone might be able to figure out what the problem is. (This forum won't allow you to attach files that large.) You can use the "Collect For Output" function to include everything used by the document so that whoever looks at it has the full information.

It sounds like there's a bug at work somewhere but without being able to see what's happening in the actual file there's not much anyone can do to see what it is and fix it. (It's definitely strange though.)


You can try and compress the files with [link to online tool that does not exist anymore]


hi octavo

compressing a fat .sla file with a .pdf converter? – are you sure about that?
...and for this strange recommendation you reactivate a forum thread wich had its solution almost five years ago???