How to make PDF files created on PC read properly on a MAC

Discussion in 'macOS' started by kelhami, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. kelhami macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2011
    I have a client for whom I edited a book. I am working on a PC, she is on a MAC.

    I edited her book in MS Word format, converted to a PDF and sent it to her. When she opened it in Adobe Reader (the processor is 2.4 ghz intel core 2 duo) version 10.0.1. The document was all messed up.

    There are weird spacing issues, the fonts are messed up, things are underlined that werent before, etc. Its designed to be an e-book, and it must be viewable on both PCs and MACs.

    The fonts used include: Book Antiqua, and a user-made free font called "odstemplik" which I downloaded from, and wingdings. There are differing margins (for alot of quoted text), a 2 full page images (front and back cover), bullets, and both bold and italicized text. There are also bookmarks for the table of contents, and headers and footers.

    I'm working on Vista Home Premium 2007. She is on Mac OSX

    How can I make the document "universal" in that it is viewed the same on both pcs and macs (as an e-book)?

    -Saving as an .rtf and having her convert it to .pdf on her Mac (created new issues with fonts/spacing)
    -Saving as an .rtf then converting to .pdf on MY pc and sending it to her (same problems)

    -Ive heard something about doing javascript (which im not too familiar with) to tell the file to change fonts when opened on certain platforms.

    -Saving the pages as images (how?) and then converting to pdf.

    PLEASE HELP ME!!! Im about to friggin SNAP!
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    That's an odd issue as PDF was designed to be platform independent. you make it on a PC, it will look identical on a Mac, or linux machine.

    Did she email you screen shots of the issue?

    What did you use to encode the document into PDF? Adobe, cutepdf, another product?

    Its possible if you didn't use adobe it did not embed the fonts and so adobe on the mac substituted the missing font. If memory serves me, adobe acrobat has the ability to embed fonts as an option when rendering PDFs

    I'd also reach out to the adobe forums, they're probably much more attuned to issues like this
  3. njaremka macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2010
    i hope i'm not stating the obvious, but... did you open it up in adobe before sending it back? maybe something in the conversion from word to pdf got messed up, and it has nothing to do with her being on a mac?
  4. Hansr macrumors 6502a

    Apr 1, 2007
    Use a real PDF creation tool? Word is a word processor not a DTP tool. The default print to PDF utility is crap, cutepdf is a bit better but for layouting a book you really should be using something like Indesign (you can get a 30 day trial from Adobe's homepage).

    Fonts being messed up is most likely because they are not being embedded.
  5. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    Word has always created very good pdfs in my experience and it is also a none issues to embed links and tables of content which is often much more difficult or impossible with pdf printers such as cutePDF.
    It offers options though. Did you try them out?
    I never had any problems with PDFs but I also never tried exotic fonts. Embedding fonts as mentioned should solve the problem
  6. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I was taking a class a few semesters ago where the prof created content in MS Office that was messed up on my Mac. I downloaded adobe reader for OS X and I could see things correctly. Once I was done with that class, I stopped using adobe reader because I like the built in pdf viewers in OS X (quick view and preview) a lot better for everyday use.

    So there are two things to try here. One is to try pdfexchange to create the pdf. Another is for the Mac user to try adobe reader for OS X.
  7. ScoobyMcDoo, Aug 9, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011

    ScoobyMcDoo macrumors 65816

    Nov 26, 2007
    Austin, TX
  8. njaremka macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2010
    you guys need to read better.
  9. larkost macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2007
    As Hansr said, the problem is that Word (which to repeat is lousy as a desktop publishing system) is not embedding the font used into the document, so if you get to a system that does not have that exact font it will substitue some other font in its place, and that tends to look lousy.

    The solution is to use a real desktop publishing system that embeds fonts into the PDFs. This is the fault of the tool you are trying to use, and you will have similar problems on any platform, i.e.: the Mac is not the problem here. You would have the same problem on a Windows computer that did not have that exact font, and that can even be the case between otherwise identical Windows computers that have different versions of Windows, or even different version s of MS Office installed on them.
  10. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Oops. I didn't see that the OP had tried Adobe Reader on the Mac. My suggestion about a better pdf creator on the Windows side is still valid. Try pdf exchange lite (always embeds fonts) for $24 or try the freeware pdf creator.
  11. cgrendy3 macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2011
    DH had problems recently with a PC-created PDF file working correctly on his MacBook Pro (os x10.6). When I opened the file using whatever the native PDF reader is on his Mac ('Preview' or 'Quick View' maybe?), the PDF appeared correctly on the screen, but, when I tried to print the PDF file... well, let's just say it was a mess! :(

    I played around a bit... and, finally thought to download Adobe Reader for MAC. The combination of using 'Adobe Reader for Mac' to open the file, but using the print option in 'Finder' in the Mac menu (not from within the Adobe Reader PDF file) let us print the document out correctly formatted, with proper fonts, etc. So, Adobe Reader worked fine for us in that case, but, I'm posting here because the title of this thread caught my eye. I too will be dealing with various PDFs -- but in the opposite situation -- I plan on using WORD for MAC to create files and then convert these files to PDF, although my recipients will likely be using PCs to read my PDF files. I'll gladly try the other PDF creators as well as the 'actual' DTP tools mentioned here so I might circumvent this issue entirely, but something is still bothering me...

    Question: If a person creates and/or converts a file into a PDF (regardless of the computer platform, OS, PDF or DTP tools they are using) but uses what is considered a universal font, such as TIMES NEW ROMAN, will the PDF document work okay on any system as long as the user has a PDF reader of some sort? I mean, if both the creator and the recipient of the PDF file use what is considered a standard font, could these PDFs read well regardless of the user's set-up? Does the problem being discussed here lie exclusively with how the software handles 'font embedding' and not just a quirk or conflict with the specific font that is being used in the creation of the PDF? (I hope that's clear... sorry!)

    I realize this is a separate question from the original question posed here -- I'm not trying to highjack the thread -- I just thought both questions seemed interrelated ;)

    Thanks for any insight or input... and, I will be using some of the suggestions made here for future PDF issues!!
  12. larkost macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2007
    There is no such thing as a "universal font". There are many, many versions of fonts, such as "Times New Roman" that you will find on most computers. Even if they are from the original font house that created it originally, they have produced quite a number of versions of it since 1931 (see the WikiPedia page on it). And that is only considering the very deliberate changes in the look of the font over time. There are also constant revisions to the metrics and spacing as layout engines have gotten better over time.

    And this is not even considering things like printers substituting the version of the font that they have built in (what probably happened to you). You can't trust that any two computers will have identical fonts on them, unless both are using networked font management software, or someone knowedeable has been very careful in managing them.

    There is no getting around the need to embed the font, and from there the need of real desktop publishing software. And there is nothing from Microsoft (or Apple) that fits that bill.
  13. cgrendy3 macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2011
    @larkost... well, that sure helps! I did not realize that a font with the 'same name' might be different in different applications... but, it does make sense! Thank you.... now to find the tools I NEED to embed those fonts and make sure my PDFs are user friendly... :rolleyes:

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