PDF text corrupt/unreadable on Mac and iOS

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by illjazz, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. illjazz, Apr 30, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012

    illjazz macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    #1
    I never have problems opening PDFs. But of course, just when it counts the most, (job offer, Murphy says hello), the PDF is unreadable. I tested it on my MBP, my girlfriend's MBA, my iPad AND iPhone. Unreadable everywhere.

    Then, quick Google search. Turns out Google Chrome uses its own PDF renderer and can open it just fine straight out of gmail.com.

    Short of downloading Adobe Reader (and I'm perfectly happy with Preview!), can you think of another way to make this PDF Mac compatible?

    Check out the screenshot to see what I mean. Thanks!

    EDIT:
    To avoid confusion, I marked the parts that I blurred out intentionally with red circles.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. greenvomit8 macrumors newbie

    greenvomit8

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    #2
    Ditto

    I have the same problem with some pdfs. I also want to avoid Adobe Reader if possible
     

    Attached Files:

  3. illjazz thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    #3
    I haven't been able to fix this. Thing is that I know that the PDF is perfectly viewable on Windows. But OS X and anything iOS fails catastrophically. Short of having to use Reader, I'm not sure what possible solution there is.
    If it's a PDF you create yourself, I'm sure you can do something differently when you create it on Windows to make it more compatible... but if it's a PDF you received from someone, well, what then?
     
  4. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Location:
    Near London, UK.
    #4
    I've had to install Adobe, much as I hate it, for this sort of eventuality, I have this problem with a very small percentage of pdf's.
     
  5. mluisbrown macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    Location:
    Lisbon, Portugal
    #5
    Received a PDF today that has exactly the same problem as above when opened in OS X Preview and on iOS. Most of the text is rendered as a series of grayscale stepped gradients.

    The same PDF opens fine in Chrome's internal viewer (on my Mac) and with Adobe Reader on Windows. Haven't tried Adobe Reader on my Mac, but I assume it would work also.

    Very strange.
     
  6. greenvomit8 macrumors newbie

    greenvomit8

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    #6
    Bit the Bullet

    I bit the bullet and installed Adobe Reader. It wanted to use an incredible amount of HDD space to install and hesitantly I said yes go ahead.
    Amazing thing was that it rended the pdf files that I was having trouble with fine and what i was truly amazed by was that it opened pdf files faster than Preview especially as I've experienced it to be a slow resource hog in Windows . Unbelievable!
     
  7. mluisbrown macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2011
    Location:
    Lisbon, Portugal
    #7
    Reported this issue on Ask Different and apparently the issue is with PDFs created by Microsoft Word 2007 which doesn't embed fonts correctly.

    Still, if Chrome and Adobe Reader can render the PDF, Preview should also be able to. Reported a radar bug to Apple.

    As for installing Adobe Reader, surely Chrome is a much less bloated alternative?
     
  8. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #8
    This ^

    I have adobe reader on my Mac and on my iThings so when I get one of those cluelessly created MS pdf's I can still open it. I also use Chrome but there are times I want to see a pdf outside a browser so I put up with Adobe pdf just for those times. I never allow Adobe software to "take over" opening pdf's on any of my devices.
     
  9. greenvomit8 macrumors newbie

    greenvomit8

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    #9
    Google Chrome

    Good point about Google Chrome mluisbrown. I had it installed but didn't think of trying it and yes it works fine with Google Chrome so thanks for the workaround. : )
    I also confirmed that the pdf doc that I was viewing was made using Office 2007.
    In regards to the special embedded font issue, I'm just taking a wild guess at this but could it be that Apple may need to include more fonts in it's Operating System which includes all of the Office 2007 fonts?
     
  10. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #10
    No.

    Besides the fonts aren't necessarily missing. The font embedding is not standards compliant. They are embedded but only Adobe Reader seems to be able to find them. Never mind the fact that the NATIVE format for moving data around in OSX is pdf, somehow MS figured out how to break it. This is a throwback to the days of Word, Excel and Powerpoint omitting closing tags in exported HTML to trip up Netscape so content could only be viewed in IE. I try to always resist the temptation to install MS software on my Mac just so I can read files people send me in email.

    I installed Office 2010 on my wife's Mac and the fonts that came with it screwed up OpenOffice which could no longer run until I reinstalled it and got its fonts back again. I did notice that Office 2010 added a LOT of fonts to OS X and I wouldn't want all that clutter in a base install.
     
  11. tholius macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #11
    Big problem with preview, not gray bars

    see http://www.patrickharvey.com/badpreview.tiff for the example. Acrobat on the left, preview on the right. Same file. Document created by cvision technologies' PDFCompressor 5.0.696
     
  12. mcsunvt0 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    #12
    So for someone creating PDFs using Microsoft Office (Word, for example) products, how can this problem be avoided? Should he/she enable or disable something before creating the PDF?
     

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