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Adobe Acrobat anti-aliasing depends on what created the PDF?


macrumors 603
Original poster
Aug 15, 2001
The Cool Part of CA, USA
I just had a very confusing experience that searching didn't come up with any explanation for. I'm really curious what's going on here and couldn't suss it out from looking at the file details, so kind of hoping somebody else can shed light on it.

What happened: Used Acrobat DC to bundle some individual PDF pages (all black and white lineart) into a PDF. Saved it. Opened it in Acrobat; it displays without anti-aliasing (so thin black-on-white lines look ugly, particularly at intermediate zoom levels).

Opened that PDF in Preview. Like everything in Preview, it displays with anti-aliasing, so hard lines look much smoother.

Saved the PDF in Preview. Changed nothing. File size went up slightly. Now when I open it in Acrobat, it also displays with anti-aliasing, and looks the same as Preview. Much better for this content.

As far as I know, when Preview saves a PDF it doesn't recompress it, and I couldn't find any file options in Acrobat specifying the type of anti-aliasing to use, so I'm kind of at a loss for what's going on here. I actually discovered this accidentally, since I changed my workflow slightly to avoid an intermediate step of saving with Preview when producing multi-page PDFs, and was confused when the finished product looked awful in Acrobat where previous things didn't. I finally discovered that it was saving it at least once in Preview that made the difference.
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