EPS (vector file)


Since I do a lot of contemporary music: is there an intension to add EPS as graphics export in the future?
I need to do a lot of editing and adding lots of ‘musical-technical drawings’ on scores.

PDF in itself is vector-based but not so easily editable as EPS.

Thanks for letting me know!


No, we have no plans for import of either EPS or PDF. However, you can import SVG graphics, which like EPS and PDF are vector-based.

Oh! Super! Thanks! (missed that… being too fast is often not the best way of working)

EPS, one could argue, is now a ‘legacy’ format, but disappointing to know that PDF is not planned at all.

Musings about coverting PDF to SVG

If you’re creating stuff in a vector artwork editor (or Dorico itself), then it’s easy enough to choose SVG and export; but I have many more apps that don’t support SVG. Also, if you need to convert a large number of existing PDFs to SVG, that’s more difficult. (Don’t forget that Affinity Designer et al still can’t be relied upon to faithfully import a PDF.)

There are surprisingly few (decent) PDF-to-SVG converters. I’m largely distrustful of online converters, and some will raster the image rather than keep everything vector.

Command line utilities are often provided only as source code, which you must compile yourself, and frequently require several dependencies to be built and installed first.

The only one I’ve found that is reasonably straightforward is MuPDF, affiliated to GhostScript, which comes with a command line tool mutool that has a convert option.

Window users can download a binary: Mac users have to build from source.

Download the source code; unzip the package, then in the Terminal type cd (followed by a space), then drag the folder from the Finder into the Terminal window.
Press Enter.
Then type

sudo make prefix=/usr/local install

and enter your password.
(You can then delete the source code.)

Then you can convert PDFs to SVG using such commands as:

mutool convert -F svg -o filename.svg inputfile

If there are multiple pages, the page number will be appended to each filename. Either the -F flag or the -o flag is optional. But not both.

We have looked at PDF-to-SVG conversion a bit and the one that we have had the best results with is PDF2SVG. Used in conjunction with svgcleaner you can also sort out any embedded font issues, with each unique glyph being converted to a single path and all of the references fixed up, and generally streamline and tidy the SVG file.

The technical problem is that PostScript is a fully fledged Turing-complete programming language - which just happens to produce graphics as a side effect!

I got into dependency hell with that one. I had to install cairo first (which I was quite interested in for graphics programming), which in turn wanted pkg-config, which in turn was missing some lib…

Yes, I used to hand-write my own pages! Not sure that’s actually a problem for converting, though.

I have seen some code examples for non-graphics things. The famous example is a webserver. :laughing: Not sure if PDF is quite so flexible, even if much of it is tokenised PS.

It’s an issue if you want the conversion to retain the semantic structure of the original (assuming that it had any, of course).

Presumably you do want that, otherwise you wouldn’t have complained about getting a raster-image version of the graphics in the SVG file. After all, it looks exactly the same when you print it!

Let’s just say that conversion is a solved problem. I dare say you could construct a PostScript file that might break a conversion algorithm to another vector format, but that’s not something you’re like to get from Dorico or any other app.

I have frequently seen differences in quality between pre-rastered image files and native vectors on press, even assuming that they chose the right resolution and raster method.

Unless I really am reading this incorrectly, isn’t the OP asking for EXPORT to EPS, and Daniel’s response is about import. I was under the impression that the OP might take examples into graphics program and layout their music there.


Good spot there, Robby!

Realistically, PDF is just as editable as EPS – Illustrator, Affinity, Graphic, Inkscape, etc, et, handle them interchangeably, so there shouldn’t be any problem editing an exported PDF.

… a big thanks and appreciation to you Ben on the Affinity Publisher forum about Dorico and pass-through etc. You know more than I do to be able to test and inform them. We would like this to work!

Sorry, I did indeed misread Herakles’s original post, but just for the avoidance of doubt, we have no plans for EPS export. These days PDF is a drop-in replacement in 99.9% of workflows that previously would have required EPS.

Haaa! I didn’t visit this topic for one day and whoop: so much comments! :slight_smile:

Well… and I misread your first reply and thought you meant ‘export’ :slight_smile:)))

Another question though: the handling of small graphical objects and for example replicating them is not an easy task now in Dorico. Now, I do export a the score as svg (used to export to EPS in Sibelius/Finale) to InDesign, make my illustrations in Illustrator and put them into InDesign to work with more graphical scores. Though I would love to see Dorico handling graphics more easily than competitor software. I think there is a market for that :slight_smile:

One example: the small graphical objects are ‘unreachable’ because of the frames around it and cannot be moved easily thanks to the ‘large frames’. (Am I making sense here? A little difficult to explain…)

Did you do that as a playing technique? If not that’s the way go I think.
This is an SVG as a playing technique, both unselected and selected. No frame.


jesele, my understanding is that Herakles is talking about exporting graphics from Dorico. The obvious way to do that is using Graphic Slices, but Graphic Slices have rather bold frames when you’re substantially zoomed in.

Ah, my bad. At least I got to show you my custom mute graphics. ; - )


I’ve never seen prettier custom mute graphics…

…but I’m reminded that my girlfriend once played a piece for cello and lamp :stuck_out_tongue:


Not to brag, but…