PDF from Layout - scenes dropping out

I have been using SU and Layout to create Construction Documents. I always export my drawings from LO to pdf. Most of my floor plans are created using more than one scene from a SU model inported into LO. A demo plan will include the “existing” scene and the “demo” scene laid on top of each other. The proposed plan will use the “existing” scene and the “new” scene. Each scene will use a style with background. I align the scenes and it looks good in LO, I add notes and dimension, and I am good to go. I export the drawing to a pdf, open the pdf and it looks fine, but when I print, some of scenes drop out. I think they are masked because the PDF is reading one of the scene as behind the other in LO. One odd thing is that on my Mac the PDF reads fine, but the Plan Examiner at NYC DOB can’t see the “existing” scene in some of the floor plan. They don’t all drop out, just some. Any wisdom to be had on this issue would be welcome.

OT-GC SET 2020-03-23 page 7.pdf (461.0 KB)

It would be helpful to see your LO file and the PDF that you generated from it.

the link below has LO file and the pdf of that page.

I just uploaded the pdf for this page and the screenshot sent to me by Mr. Lin at the DOB

try exporting a PDFX-3 from Preview and see if he can view that…

it’s a quartz filter for windows friendly pdf’s


John might be on to something. I opened your LO file on my Windows machine and exported the attached PDF which looks right to me. Fonts might be different but things all seem to show up for me. Does this look like what you are expecting to see?

A-101 - 3 Floor Plans.pdf (925.3 KB)

What do you mean from Preview?

I don’t know how to make a pdf x-3

Yes Dave. That is the output I need to submit to DOB.

I turned off everything but the SU model in LO and un-grouped the scenes and made this pdf. Which looks fine on my machine, but I don’t now what it will look like on a Windows machine.

A-101 - 3 Floor Plans test.pdf (1.4 MB)

This is what I see on the first page.

You might as well send the PDF I uploaded to DOB.

That is what the first page looks like.

Sending the page you sent me doesn’t really help. I need to identify the problem and find a working solution, but you knew that.

I have been using a program called PDF Expert to edit my pdfs. I think i have to just spend the money to get a copy of the Mac OS full working version of Acrobat.

I use pdf expert to combine several pdf files into a single larger multipage pdf. There may be some flaw or weakness in how those larger files look on a Windows machine. Or even how they print from my Mac.

In the absence of an identifiable issue in LO, I start there.


Preview.app is the default mac application for opening pdf’s…

in the File menu you have options to export…


Sorry. I thought the PDF I exported from your file looked like what you were after. You wrote:

I was suggesting you could use that PDF. Apparently it isn’t what you need.

Sorry for trying.


Please don’t take offense. Yes that is the kind of output I need, but I have to be able to do the work myself. That was three pages of an 18 page set. And there are sets for Landmarks and for Structural Design. I cannot turn to you every time I need a pdf.

What you did was a big help, and I tried to explain why I need a solution to the problem. You are always there to offer advice, and I really appreciate it, but you must see that you doing the work for me is not a solution.


Thank you. I was able to create the PDFX-3 file. I added it to the dropbox folder mentioned above.

If you or Dave would be so kind as to open it on a Windows machine I would be very grateful.

I just tested this and it still does not print properly.

Also does not work on a Windows machine.

Back to the drawing board.

I opened your pdf in Inkscape and was able to determine that there is a layer/mask of ‘new walls’ that is covering your missing walls. In the image below I’ve moved the faulty layer/mask to the right so you can see the outline of the new walls.

Perhaps this is enough of a clue to allow you to find a solution.

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That makes sense to me. The question is where are those layers being generated and why do they only show up in some places?

Your clue led me back to LO. There I checked on the scenes that were failing to print. I found that in most, maybe all of the cases I had used a clipping mask. The difference between the ones that work and the ones that don’t is the fill setting on the shape used to clip. When there is no fill, there is no problem. There may still be a mask layer created, but it is transparent. When there is a fill turned on, the mask layer hides whatever is behind it. This does not show up in LO and it doesn’t generally show up in the pdf on my iMac. But it does show up when the pdf is opened on a windows machine or when I print the pdf from PDF Expert. I think it doesn’t happen if I print from Acrobat reader.

So, sWilliams, thank you for the clue. I will post again if this fix proves to be less than 100% effective.

Thanks to DaveR and john_drivenupthewall as well.