Preview deleted/ate/hidden ALL of the text in my PDF!?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Milchschokolade, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. Milchschokolade macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2014
    After annotating a 200+ page PDF for hours upon hours... I opened it today to discover ALL of the text is missing. The pictures are there, highlights, charts, but all of the text is missing.

    It is not invisible. It is missing. You cannot even select it.

    The annotations I made were mostly highlights and some text boxes - all done within Preview. I thought maybe it was some rare glitch. So I went to restore an earlier version, only to discover that all of the versions are like this, every single one. All the way back to the VERY first highlight made. The only version that displays the document text is the clean version, before I made the first annotation.

    The next step was trying the document on a different app. I used GoodReader on iPad. Same problem. Please see pictures attached.

    My questions:
    1. Is there a way to fix this document? That is restore all the text and retain the highlights/annotations? Or is it permanently corrupted, and my only option is starting over from the clean version?
    2. More importantly, does anyone know what causes this issue and how it can be avoided in the future? If I can't fix this file, this bug will cost me DAYS of work. I want to avoid running into this ever again.
    Details about my system:
    OS X 10.9.5 (White MacBook Unibody, Mid-2010, 2.4 GHz C2D)
    Preview Program: Version 7.0 (826.4)
    Please let me know if you need any other details.

    Original File

    Preview (OS X)

    GoodReader (iPad)

    Thank you for your help.
  2. mfram macrumors 65816

    Jan 23, 2010
    San Diego, CA USA
    Have you tried rebooting? Maybe something went wrong with the font rendering or something.
  3. Fishrrman, Feb 24, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017

    Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    You might try opening the file using Adobe Reader (I -think- that's the name) and see if it reads properly.

    Other than that, you may have to reach for your backup file and "start over" … :(

    Some additional suggestions:

    1. Put the damaged file on the desktop, in plain sight
    2. RIGHT click on it, and choose "Open With"
    3. What choices do you have?
    4. Try EACH and EVERY available choice to see what happens.

    You may be able to open using a graphics app. You won't be able to copy the text, but at least you may be able to "see" it.

    I just did a test with the "iCab" web browser, and it opened a newly-created pdf file with text in it.
    So does Safari.

    So does the little app named "Skim".
  4. Milchschokolade thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2014
    Fishrrman, thanks for your suggestions. So far nothing I have done has brought the text back. The only thing I cannot try is the graphics app (such as photoshop) as I do not have them installed. But I tried just about any PDF viewer/editor as well as various web apps (dropbox, google, etc.)

    If anyone else has any idea what to do, please share.
  5. MechaSpanky macrumors 6502


    Sep 11, 2007

    I think the app that Fishrrman is referring to is Adobe Acrobat Reader, not Photoshop, it is a free viewer although you can't edit PDF files with it much unless you upgrade (subscription) to Acrobat Pro but you maybe be able to use it to check your file. You could also do a Creative Cloud trial and it would come with Acrobat Pro which is way more powerful than OS X's Preview app. I used to like Preview, it was good, stable and could do quite a bit of editing. More recent versions are horrible, in my opinion and it seems like it is getting worse with each OS release. For me, the new magnifying tool (not the glass but the magnifying rectangle) is worthless and they have removed "Fit to Window". Good luck getting it all sorted.
  6. jimthing macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2011
    London, UK (Europe, Earth, Space)

    AVOID in Sierra!

    Sorry but your edits are likely all gone. So I'd suggest cutting your losses and starting again. (I feel your pain, as its a horrible thing when masses of hours of work gets flushed like this!)

    There are some major bugs in the current version of Likely these are somewhat going to be fixed in 10.12.4, but nothing is certain as to whether all or most things will now work.

    I strongly suggest you annotate using another app entirely, and make a copy before doing anything with Preview of said docs.

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5 February 23, 2017