Continuous Text for PDF


the PDF format itself can handle continuous text.
It would be nice if Scrivener could export PDF that way.

My application for that feature is that I want to send only one file type to my test readers and let them the freedom to read it wherever they want - PC or tablets.


Keith would have to comment upon the technical factor of whether this is even possible. I do know we have code injection capability—and can add PDF features that otherwise are not handled by the base system—but that is quite a bit different to modifying the underlying RTF to PDF conversion routines. That’s the heavy lifting and most of that stuff tends to be buried in Apple’s libraries.

Otherwise it’s not a bad idea, in my opinion. I do agree that using continuous paragraph output would be a small improvement to the quality of the output, particularly where copy and paste is concerned.

I don’t think this is possible, I’m afraid - not with the PDF kit tools we use. The way PDF files are generated is via the standard Cocoa printing features. Basically, OS X allows anything that can be printed to be turned into a PDF. But before that happens, the pages have to be passed off to the print system internally, by which time they are already pages. And I can’t find anything in Apple’s PDFKit that would take an existing document and convert it to a continuous document.

That said, I haven’t much experience with continuous PDF documents, and am happy to explore it further (although it doesn’t look hopeful). Could you please provide me with a sample continuous document, so that I know exactly what you are after?

Thanks and all the best,

Might it be easier for Scrivener to compile into an intermediate format … then map to textframes in scribus which can export continuous PDF format?

Devonthink can turn web pages into continuous pdf (I never use webarchives these days – I always clip to continuous pdf in DT). It might be worth asking them how they do it.


I still don’t exactly know what continuous PDF is… I assume it just has no pages and is one big scrollable document? Any examples?

Yes, it’s just one very long image (and text) with no page breaks. I’ve emailed you a clipping of this present web page courtesy of DTPO. It’s not particularly long, but as far as I know there is no particular limit (though I wonder if there might be a limit because of the number of pixels you can put in an image).


The importan part for me is that the line breaks aren’t hardcoded.
So the displaying device chooses the line breaks like in html depending on the screen width and the font size.