PDF question

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Conehatta, Jun 9, 2012.

  1. Conehatta macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2012
    I'm a Mac newbie and need advice.........I will be viewing a lot of pdf files on the Mac; I've noticed that on some documents the fonts are completely different and/or words are "bold" when they should not be. Have also noticed dashes, quotation marks, etc are missing from some of the documents.

    What's the deal? Is there something I'm doing wrong or do I need an "app" to correct this? If so, which one would you suggest? I downloaded and installed a PDF Reader app and it didn't help.
  2. TyroneShoes2, Jun 9, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2012

    TyroneShoes2 macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2011
    PDFs are a proprietary method of saving documents as jpeg images, for the most part. As such, there is no universal way to display them. If you use Preview or another non-Adobe method, the chances are less that things will be identical.

    But even if you open a PDF created in Adobe Acrobat using Adobe Reader, there is still no guarantee. Acrobat has countless ways to make a document compatible, which means it has countless ways to make it incompatible; it mostly depends on what parameters the creator used (well, not "The Creator"; the document creator).

    Sometimes the document tries to use fonts from the local machine, usually done to save space in the original (rather than storing images of the font characters it sends instructions to use a particular font). That lowers the odds of compatibility, especially if your local version of Garamond Bold is different from the version imagined or used by the document creator.

    One of the large frustrations I encounter is creating a PDF of a Pages document on a Mac and then seeing how Windows butchers it. Colors are typically off, drop shadows are too dark, etc. My best guess is that this is not an uncommon issue, once again because compatibility is not guaranteed; it is still the wild wild west out there in some capacities, and PDFs is one of them.

    It is just the world we live in. I say deal with it; it is too much trouble with little guarantee of success to reach full compatibility, if you are just trying to download a document and read it or keep it for reference. If that is not an option, you might use Acrobat to re-edit what you need changed. Acrobat is also the best tool to create PDFs to make them as compatible as possible with your target readers.

    If you are a document creator and want max compatibility, strive for that in Acrobat settings and suggest that the reader use a version of Reader that is generally compatible, rather than one that is 6 versions back. If you are just having issues displaying PDFs, make sure you have the latest version of Reader for that, as well. If the author used PDF Creator or some other tool, you may have better luck with a reader program that is from that company rather than from Adobe.
  3. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    You're probably missing the font(s) used in the PDF. This sort of thing happens when people try to open PDF check files at work. The micro line doesn't appear correct because they don't have the MICR font.
  4. MechaSpanky macrumors 6502


    Sep 11, 2007
    As takeshi74 said, you are most likely missing the fonts. An easy way to fix this is to ask whoever is creating the PDFs to simply embed the fonts and then you won't have to worry about not having all the fonts. The only other option is to make sure that you have and are using the same fonts that the original creator of the files is using. If they are using a Mac, then it should be easy to get the same fonts. If they are using Windows, Windows TrueType fonts will work on a Mac as well. OpenType fonts also work perfectly fine on the Mac (OpenType fonts are cross-platform).

    Normally the only time I run into this kind of an issue is when I receive PDFs from people who don't really know how to properly make them (and usually they are using Word to create them). Also some fonts will not allow you to embed them into PDFs, so if the original creator can't embed the font, ask them to use another font that does allow font embedding.
  5. telecomm macrumors 65816


    Nov 30, 2003
    PDF (version 1.7) has been an ISO open standard since 2008. PDFs are technically grounded in PostScript, not jpg. :confused:

    Anyway, badly generated PDFs (without embedded fonts, etc.) cause display problems. Adobe Reader is probably the best bet for displaying them as correctly as possible.

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