crumbling adobe
June 3, 2005 12:21 PM   Subscribe

Why does my PDF print as gibberish?

I've downloaded a pdf from a state gov website and tried to print it out...all the text in the form boxes come out in some weird characters. I've tried printing other pdf's and same story. Other text documents are fine. I'm running XP Pro with plenty of memory, have updated and no avail. Last time I printed a pdf was months ago, and it was fine. Now, nothing.
posted by atchafalaya to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
And you're still using the same printer as before? One that has printed PDFs without problem?
posted by jdroth at 12:32 PM on June 3, 2005

Yep. It's driving me crazy.
posted by atchafalaya at 12:36 PM on June 3, 2005

When printing a pdf you should have an option to Print as Image. That should work around any font issues you're having. Hope this helps.
posted by twins521 at 12:44 PM on June 3, 2005

I've had a similar problem if the PDF is set to print at 600 dpi which is above the 300 dpi capability of my printer. See if you can reset in printer options.
posted by garbo at 12:56 PM on June 3, 2005

Some apps that create PDF files have options to deliver the font set into the resulting PDF in case it is viewed on machines that do not have that font set. Maybe the file(s) you are using think you have some font that you don't have, and the creator may have failed to set the file to deliver the font (or set the file to use an alternate font in the event of the desired font's absence)?
posted by dontrockwobble at 1:03 PM on June 3, 2005

Okay, the printer can do 1200x1200 dpi, and I tried Print as Image and all it did was crank through a blank page. My frustration increases. The fonts I can't say much about; the document seems to send Times New Roman an Courier.
posted by atchafalaya at 1:14 PM on June 3, 2005

It sounds like there is a definate font conflict going on somewhere. Perhaps the pdf is using a different version of a font that is installed on your PC.

As a workaround can you try to open it in Photoshop or Illustrator and rasterize or outline the fonts? What about taking a screenshot of it if quality isnt 100% necessary?
posted by helvetica at 1:55 PM on June 3, 2005

Try a different PDF reader - Foxit is excellent, fast and free.
posted by blag at 2:44 PM on June 3, 2005

It's printing as I write, via Foxit. Thanks, blag.

I would have tried Photoshop or Illustrator, but I got rid of them a while back. Thank you anyway, helvetica.

Thanks for all the help, everybody!
posted by atchafalaya at 2:56 PM on June 3, 2005

You're welcome. I recommend it to everyone - it loads up in about 2 seconds rather than the 20s that Adobe's heap-of-crap takes.
posted by blag at 3:35 PM on June 3, 2005

You may not have the correct font loaded on your machine (perhaps Arial Unicode).

If your printer has a Postscript mode, use that, and it should print perfectly.
posted by curtm at 9:25 AM on June 4, 2005

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