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Christiaan

PDF error: Bad Font

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I've got two separate people saying they can't open a PDF because there is an error with a bad font.

Any ideas? I've tried saving it in Acrobat Pro too with no luck.

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Did you run a 'Check Document' with Acrobat Pro ?

It will flag all the font issues ...then its a matter of replacing the sucker(s).

Font Boo.app will validate the System Fonts. There's also a program called Font Finagler that analyzes and fixes them prior to usage.

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A pain in the bum but saving the PDF in Preview.app fixed the problem.

I had a look in Acrobat at the fonts and they were missing their names; so something very wrong.

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I wouldn't be too quick to blame the fonts.

I have been having trouble with some letter spacings when using Export>pdf (see Printing/Plotting forum) whereas Print>pdf is OK - there may be a problem with the particular pdf program that VW uses for Export. Seems there is more than one way to make a pdf.

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I just noticed: In Export PDF, the text command (optn 0) for degree, eg 90?, looks fine in VW. Acrobat and my print service make it an infinity (sideways 8) and Preview cannot see it at all. Print/Save as PDF (I know, it's just an image pdf) shows the degree symbol as intended in both Acrobat Reader and in Preview.

-B

Edited by Benson Shaw

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Christiaan as I understand it:

- The export process embeds the fonts in the document, and if the recipient doesn't have all of the embedded fonts on their computer you then get the font error message.

- The Print to PDF process maps the fonts as ink blobs which is why the recipient doesn't get the error.

If you stick to using 'vanilla' fonts that are common on most computers you are unlikely to have the problem.

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It seems as if the fonts are not being embedded properly though. If I look at the font properties of an exported PDF in Acrobat the fonts aren't named. Once I resave the file using Preview and then look at the font properties again in Acrobat they're all named and look to be correctly embedded (being Arial and Helvetica).

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Mike's point is relevant, as usual. Export of Geneva shows proper degree symbol, Avant Garde shows infinity sign instead. PDF is compared to sending the recipe rather than the finished product. Recipient needs to supply the ingredients.

-B

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Just one more point about fonts.

Remember, that Helvetica (or any other font) being on two machines does not necessarily mean that they are the same font.

There are lots of different versions of a lot of fonts. If you are going to be trading files back and forth with someone regularly, make sure that you truly have identical versions of the fonts. That means that you need to be on the same platform (Mac or Windows) and use the fonts that ship with the operating systems, or purchase the fonts from the same vendor at the same time for both machines.

This will help with the PDF transition and even more so with font use inside of Vectorworks.

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Well, what Mike described doesn't appear to happen when I print to PDF. If I open a print-to-PDF file in Acrobat there are fonts embedded (it says they're embedded). As I would expect.

And, Pat, we are not going through a PDF transition. We've been doing this for years. This problem has just cropped up recently for some reason.

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Christian,

I understand that this is not something new for you. Sometimes I add things to these threads just to get the published for people who are researching problems in the future.

As to this just starting, Has anything changed on your systems? Your signature says you are still on VW2008 SP3. Is that correct? Have you upgraded the OS? Made any other changes? Installed new fonts? Or is this truly a random thing that started out of the blue?

Just some ideas to help with the troubleshooting.

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Hold on a minute - I am the recipient as well as the sender, so I don't think it has anything to do with someone else not having a non-embedded font.

I used Export>pdf and then opened the pdf using Acrobat Reader, and letter spacings were incorrect, using both Helvetica and Tekton. I purchased Tekton from Adobe, so it's a legit font (somewhat elderly maybe - I still have the floppy disks it came on!).

I emailed Adobe who replied

the software that created the PDF file is VectorWorks (PDFTron PDFNet) and we don?t have the resources to reproduce nor determine how the third party reads and converts the Tekton font.

So it may not be a font problem, but the particular program VW uses to make pdf's in Export.

Edited by D Wood

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My guess is the problem has been there for quite some time but I can't figure out what's triggered two clients to suddenly say that they have this bad font problem.

Can't say I've ever heard of this idea from Mike that the other people need to have the font on their own system. My understanding of PDF and embedded fonts is that this is one of the very things it's designed not to do.

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Here's some screenshots of what Acrobat sees at File > Properties. One is exported out of Vectorworks and the other is that same PDF but resaved in Preview.app:

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