Saturday, 30 May 2009

Scribus output, pdf and jpeg

This is aimed squarely at the SoFoBoMo crowd but should be useful for others putting together pdf books for the web. I know several will be using Scribus as their layout software.

I'm using Scribus as my layout software, as I have done in the past. Normally when I'm playing around with layouts, I export a partial book to pdf to see how it stacks up. Last night I made a minor error in the options I chose and felt it worth pointing it out.

There is an important option in the pdf output dialog (below) where the type of image embedded can be selected. I accidentally chose "Automatic". Running a layout with just 10 images in it gave me a 7MB pdf file, even using the "medium" compression setting. I then re-ran the export but with jpeg selected, suddenly the same material was only 1MB. An issue to note. I don't know what image format Scribus chose under "Automatic" but it clearly wasn't as compact as jpeg. Visually there was nothing different in the output.

Scribus pdf generation: several options for images - chose JPEG

It might be that other pdf generating software has similar options around the format for image embedding, I don't know as I don't have access to other options. If anyone else knows of similar options in other software, post a comment.


  1. I use Word and it gives me two choices in saving as a pdf document. Standard and minimum size. I saved my first book using "Standard" and uploaded it at 13.1 MB (before I realised the second option was there). I since resaved it using the minimum size and it came in at 2.23 MB. Too bad I can't delete the uploaded file already at sofobomo and upload the smaller version.

  2. Which version of Word? I've never seen a direct pdf option in Word without some kind of add-on.


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