Professional Printing PDF Export Options

• Jun 11, 2012 - 20:09

Although PDF files exported by MuseScore are perfect for printing, and give high-quality results, large printing houses require PDF/X-1 or PDF/X-3 formats.

CURRENT BEHAVIOUR: MuseScore exports to standard PDF-1.4 format.

CURRENT WORKAROUND: Expensive external PDF manipulation software like Adobe Acrobat.

DESIRED BEHAVIOUR: Options to export to PDF/X formats, including using CMYK colour-space and possibly ICC profiles. (The excellent people at the Scribus project might be able to help)


(This is one of 8 features I am suggesting concerning printing/layout in MuseScore, with publishing houses' standards in mind. The score out of 10 is how badly I feel this feature is lacking.)


Currently all the printing, including saving as PDF, is done using Qt and QPrinter. As far as I know, Qt doesn't support CMYK images and PDF/X-1/X-3. So this feature is very unlikely to be seen before Qt does something about it. IMHO, it's not a job for MuseScore. As you mentioned, Scribus is one of the very few open source sofware to support this feature and somehow it's cool. You can import a PDF generated by MuseScore in scribus to convert it.

In reply to by Nicolas

Thanks, Nicolas. I had a feeling that MuseScore developers had nothing to do with the printing, so this feature request was a bit of a shot in the dark.

Unfortunately, Scribus cannot import PDF's generated by MuseScore 1.2 without errors. The workaround at the moment is do painstakingly convert each PDF page to an SVG in external software (Ubuntu has pdftocairo installed by default) and then import and lay out each page in Scribus.

That is only if you want to send your music to a professional printing house which demands PDF/X formats. Often, local printers will accept normal PDF 1.4 files....

In reply to by etienne

I was having the same problem. Getting several PDFs with several pages from musescore to Affinity publisher for CMYK/100k printing. So it is not enough to simply convert RGB to CMYK.

The first step with pdftocairo works much faster with this script (also on MacOS, if you install poppler via homebrew):


cd ../folder_with _the_pdfs

mkdir svg (makes subfolder "svg")

while [ $a -lt 10 ] // set 10 => highest page number of the pdf with the most pages
for i in *.pdf; do pdftocairo $i svg/$i-seite$a.svg -f $a -l $a -svg; done;
a=expr $a + 1


This script will loop through all pdfs ($i) and through all the pages up to 10 in this example ($a).

Otherwise inkscape has poppler/cairo included if someone needs a graphical user interface. It is slow though but does the same job and you have to import every single page instead of all pages / several documents at once.

Affinity publisher / Scribus et al. should now be able to import the svgs without problems. They are in RGB still, however.

In reply to by jsasso

Does cutepdf do something above and beyond MuseScore's own built in PDF conversion (file->save as, choose PDF from drop down)? I kind of doubt it does CMYK separations, etc. Not that is normally an issue for music, which is typically just blank anyhow.

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