Stable version of Scribus gets exporting for print-on-demand services

Stable version of Scribus gets exporting for print-on-demand services

Due to popular demand newly released Scribus 1.4.4 features exporting to PDF/X-1a, a standard popular with print-on-demand services.

The feature was backported from the unstable version which is still in the making, so people who deal with POD companies have just got an early solution (as one Scribus user put it, PODs seem to be obsessed with receiving files as PDF/X-1a:2001).

What’s so special about PDF/X and PDF/X-1a in particular? Adobe designed this series of standards to improve the situation with exchanging printable documents in the PDF file format, so it put a number of restrictions, such as:

  • all fonts must be embedded into the document;
  • no RGB or LAB data in the output, only grayscale, CMYK, and named spot colors can be used;
  • no non-printable data such as audio/video clips is allowed, also no forms or JavaScript;
  • no encryption.

For more details have a look at the relevant Adobe’s page.

Since PDF/X-1a is so strict, Scribus disables nearly all features on the Extras, Security, and Color tabs in the PDF exporting dialog. It also silently converts all RGB images you have in your document to CMYK as per color management settings.

Note that if it’s your first time running Scribus, you will have to go to the Preferences dialog, then enable and setup color management. Otherwise PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3 exporting options won’t show up, and rightfully so.

One of the early adopters provided a quite positive feedback on the beta of 1.4.4:

Recently I reported that the full colour PDF/X-1 Cover *and* Interior exports in 1.4.x passed all premedia checks with LSI.

I can now report back that the actual proof worked too. The *entire* process worked like a charm. The final "proof of the pudding" is the colour proof hardcopy (paperback), which arrived today, and looks just darned GOOD!

Everything lines up, the colours are bright with solid contrast, it's simply a good job, and such a relief to not have to use a separate program to export to this specific format any more. Well done, Scribus team!!!

Other than that, changes in v1.4.4 are somewhat subtle:

  • updated barcode plug-in;
  • more featureful Autoquote script;
  • a new script to align images in frames;
  • improved support for alpha channel in Photoshop-generated TIFF files;
  • a few new color palettes (one from Newspaper Association of America, and one for geographers);
  • fixes for Windows 8.x..

Developers also made Scribus look for ICC profiles in other system folders to match state-of-the-art color management specs for UNIX systems.

For download links and more details check out the press release. A few collabortion projects that the Scribus team is currently involved with deserve a special coverage.

There is still no estimated time of arrival for 1.5.0 release that should bring a lot of long overdue features such as lists and footnotes. However the team maintains a roadmap to visualize their progress towards v1.5.0.

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4 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. There is no repo for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS users yet.

  2. Great to see scribus going! Still using it from time to time, but on a more basic level.  Hopefully others benefit from these changes though! :)

  3. This is terrific news. v1.5 of Scribus, which is the development branch, supports PDF/X-4, which is also good news. I am designing CD artwork with Krita and Scribus, and now that PDF/X is supported, I can submit to replication services like Diskmakers, who previously only supported InDesign, Quark, etc. but now accept PDF/X

  4. Is it available for Ubuntu Users ?