Feature Request: Convert to Outline

For one reason or another, Dorico’s output doesn’t play nicely with most programs I use for creating layouts. Most of this would be instantly solved with some kind of convert to outlines feature. Even with embedded fonts, which I know Dorico does, there’s always some kind of heart break in converting the files correctly to outline when importing them into another illustration program.

Has this been considered? My thinking is that there’s no good reason to continue to embed fonts in the first place. Maybe going straight to outlines or being able to select an option for it?

Also, pretty please? :slight_smile:

Or ask the other programs to work properly? Dorico produces PDFs that are entirely to spec. Any layout app worth its salt should place a PDF correctly.

Affinity Suite doesn’t, which a major hole in its feature set.

DatO, InDesign is your friend here. I use it daily and it works great with Dorico PDFs.

Hi Ben,

Affinity isn’t the only offender. I’ve had issues with Illustrator as well.

Hi Dan,

That’s a no go for me. Can’t afford the software.

What issues have you had with Illustrator?

There are ways to convert fonts in a PDF to outlines: GhostScript is the most reliable one, on all platforms, though it is command line. However, on the Mac, it’s easy to bundle a script into a GUI utility.

Last time I tried (which was a while back) I opened pdfs in illustrator and glyphs were off, missing, or line thickness was way off.

I’m okay with some command line. How would you do this in GhostScript? I have Windows 10, and I can use PowerShell in simple ways.

On Unix/Mac, it’s something along these lines:

/usr/local/bin/gs \
	-dBATCH \
	-dNoOutputFonts \
	-sDEVICE=pdfwrite \
	-sOutputFile="$outputFilename" \

The \ is just to allow each command on a new line, making it easier to read.

Thank you for this. I’ll give it a shot when I have a chance.

Ghostscript is perfect for this (and for other PDF manipulation), but I’ll add that it doesn’t come built-in to the Mac operating system (unless that’s changed in a recent release?).

For anyone looking to install it on macOS from scratch, using the Homebrew package manager (available at https://brew.sh) is the simplest way (sorry, I can’t help with Windows, but there should be lots of helpful guides out there).

Once you’ve followed the instructions and installed Homebrew from within Terminal, the following command (also typed into Terminal) will install Ghostscript:

brew install ghostscript

Now you have access to the command gs and can use it as per Ben’s comment above (and you can just use gs if you want, it doesn’t have to be the full /usr/local/bin/gs). Replace $inputFilename with the actual input file path, and replace $outputFilename with the actual output file path. As per the comment, this is for Unix/Mac only… the equivalent Windows command will have a slightly different syntax.

Ghostscript, as with most command line tools, doesn’t warn you if you try to overwrite an existing file, so please be careful when specifying the output file. If you don’t have experience with the command line, there is always the potential to mess things up on your computer if you type something incorrectly, so anyone looking to do this should proceed with some degree of caution and look at examples online if there’s any confusion.

It’s also worth mentioning that Ghostscript doesn’t allow you to overwrite the file being read from, so you can’t use the same path for the output file as you are for the input file; you have to write to a new output file first, then you can delete the original if you want.

The simplest way is just to download the Mac installer package, which is maintained here:


On the Mac, it’s very easy to create an Automator action that uses these commands, so you can apply them to files as ‘Quick Actions’ or as droplet apps.

Ben actually created a short but detailed tutorial: https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?p=872828#p872828

Which is super easy to use and literally saved a project of mine. Thank you!

Fantastic resource – I hadn’t seen that tutorial before. Thanks Ben!