Wonky PDF fonts.
June 14, 2006 11:21 PM   Subscribe

Why is the font rendering in the .PDF documents I'm reading so bad? Errors in the document, or can I fix it? (Examples inside)

I've been reading a few papers today from some online journals, and some of them are coming up with dreadful font rendering for the sans-serif text (Adobe Acrobat 6, Windows XP).

Example A.
Example B.

Characters are vertically displaced or squashed. The errors appear to be on a pixel rather than relative level - if I zoom in to 400% magnification, the text looks normal. What could be causing this? Disabling or changing Adobe Reader's font smoothing options don't make a difference.
posted by Jimbob to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
a lot of PDFs look like that, it has to do with the fact that they're, I think type-1 fonts or something which don't have rendering hints built in for lower resolution.

I don't think there's anything you can do to fix it, other then to print the documents as intended.
posted by delmoi at 11:34 PM on June 14, 2006

Do you still see the rendering errors with a file viewer like Foxit Reader, Adobe Acrobat Reader 7, or GSview? That'd help you narrow it down to if it's just a problem with your viewer or not.
posted by majick at 11:38 PM on June 14, 2006

Response by poster: I can test it out on those viewers in a few hours when I'm on my home PC - no installation privellages here at work. I'll see how they compare.
posted by Jimbob at 11:40 PM on June 14, 2006

Best answer: Yeah, that happens when the embedded font is just outlines, with no hinting (as would be present if it actually embedded TrueType or OpenType fonts.) I find that this is typical of files produced from older versions of LaTex. They look fine when printed though, so the best thing I can tell you is just print them. Or get a display with sufficiently high enough resolution so that hinting is not necessary.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:02 AM on June 15, 2006

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