Helvetica Font not printing correctly when converting from InDesign to PDF with Acrobat Pro

New Here ,
Sep 14, 2021 Sep 14, 2021

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   The company I’m with has a set of five PDFs that we’re using to reprint a book.  One of the five PDFs is having a serious glitch (corruption?) that distorts any occurrence of Helvetica fonts. While we are planning to phase out Helvetica and other Type 1 fonts (per Adobe’s notice that those will no longer be supported in the future), we need to proceed with trying to get the Helvetica to display properly for our current printing preparations. Time is of the essence.

   The problem occurs when the InDesign files are exported to Adobe Acrobat Pro.  When the PDF is generated, any occurrence of text in a Helvetica font is distorted. The space between letters is jumbled.  The problem appears to be isolated to only one of the five PDF.  To our knowledge, we used the same processes and software to create and update each of the five PDFs, so we don’t know why one would be different.

   Some other observations that might provide clues: 

  • The problem only occurs in one of the five PDFs that (to our knowledge) uses all the same fonts and settings as the other four PDFs
  • The InDesign source document for the PDF file in question was created with previous earlier version of InDesign.
  • For the PDF in question, during creation of the PDF, after exporting the file from InDesign to Acrobat, not only does the Helvetica in the new PDF look distorted, but the Helvetica in the InDesign document becomes invisible, at least temporarily.
  • On one of our computers, a PC,  according to the file properties, the file in question downloaded as a “Microsoft Edge Document (.pdf)” as the default whereas the other four PDFs in the set downloaded as “Adobe Acrobat Document (.pdf).” The graphics specialist working on this assures me that no Microsoft applications were used when creating, updating files, or exporting to generate a PDF.
  • The problem may have started after a PDF was generated from the InDesign file in which the print marks (crop lines for trimming and color registration) were not included (settings for Print Marks were turned off when creating the PDF). In this version of the PDF (the one without print marks) there is no jumbled Helvetica text. It appears normal, except that Helvetica Normal was somehow swapped out for Helvetica Light in the conversion process. (If we can figure out how to add back in the printer marks into this PDF without going back to our source file, this may be one way to solve the problem).

Questions:

  1.  Any thoughts on how we might generate a PDF without the Helvetic distortions? 
  2.  Is it possible to add printer marks (crop lines for trimming and color registration) into a PDF that currently does not have this (or has the setting turned off?).

Thank you,

Marc

TOPICS
Edit and convert PDFs , General troubleshooting , Print and prepress

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Community Expert ,
Sep 14, 2021 Sep 14, 2021

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What System?

Are the PDFs created using Export PDF?

Check the Document Properties > Fonts in each of the affected PDFs and report what it says for the Fonts/embedding.

If you have on file to share here, we can take a look.

 

 

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Adobe Employee ,
Sep 17, 2021 Sep 17, 2021

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Hi There,

 

Thanks for reporting the issue here

We're checked on the latest build for the same workflow and found no issue with the same.

 

Can you update the Acrobat's version to the latest available; as we recently provided a fix related fonts?

Can you share us the file(s) tried to printed and observed issue on?

Also, please share the OS version details, Acrobat version details, and any other setup related details (if applicable)

 

We'll try to help you with the issue observed at your end.

 

Also, regarding changing or adding details in the printed file; one can use JavaScript tool in Acrobat for customization.

 

Regards,
Swapnil Srivastava

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New Here ,
Nov 07, 2021 Nov 07, 2021

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The exact same thing is happening to me... Quark exporting to pdf is not working with helvetica only.  It looks like it's some sort of old courier font, but more distorted.  Kerning is off as well. Letters are right on top of one another.  Only helvetica, strange. Never saw this before.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 07, 2021 Nov 07, 2021

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What system are you working with? And how are you creating your PDFs? Can you share a file?

As this is an Adobe community, we can look at your PDF from that point of view but cannot help you with issues with Quark products. You would be best going to their forums.

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New Here ,
Nov 07, 2021 Nov 07, 2021

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Brand new mac (2 weeks old out of box)
Running OS 12 (Monterey)

No worries, I changed Helvetica to Arial and the pdf exported fine.
I have over 30,000 fonts, it's just very weird for Helvetica to be the
problem font.

--
Thank You,
Rich Legnini
917-529-2943
Bronx Ad Group • Bronx Dynamix • Arturo Viale

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Community Expert ,
Nov 07, 2021 Nov 07, 2021

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We have grown so used to thinking that Helvetica is part of the system (as well as the other basic "LaserWriter" fonts, but Apple abandoned the Type 1 versions even before OS X came out in favour of dfont and then TrueType. This caused some minor issues over the years, and many design professionals learned quickly to override the dfont and TrueType versions with the (soon-to-be-sent-packing) Type 1 versions, usually because we use font managers and could easily do that. Well, that time is past as these basic fonts are built into a protected System fonts folder and cannot be disabled, and removing them is even more problematic. And trying to activate Type 1 versions at the same time, even if successful, will cause conflicts and all sorts of trouble, much like what you are experiencing now. Not that it matters, as the Type 1 versions will no longer work soon. There is no "free" . otf replacement for these fonts. Most of us got the fonts bundled with our printers or older Systems waaaaay back in the day. Unfortunately, Adobe no longer licenses these basic fonts anyway (they have reverted to Linotype's control, hence not in Adobe Fonts), so if you want the true Helvetica match we know and love in .otf format, you need to buy the package from Linotype directly, or have previously purchased the Adobe Font Folio OpenType edition that still had them (albeit renamed Helvetica LT Std, etc, to avoid conflicts).

I haven't installed Monterey yet to see what has happened with Helvetica there, but based on anecdotal reports, it isn't any better.

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