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Jumbled text from PDF file

Community Beginner ,
Jul 01, 2020

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Recently using CC after CS5 for ten years. Very disappointed that this issue STILL exists. When opening a PDF file in Illustrator that has been created in Word or Excel and uses Calibri and/or Cambria, the result is unusable jumbled text (see attached). The solution I've used is to export PDF to EPS, however that results in all text being outlined, making it uneditable. I don't have the original Word/Excel file to edit (subcontractor), and would prefer to not outline type overall. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Correct answer by Ton Frederiks | Adobe Community Professional

Illustrator was never designed to be a generic PDF editor.

You may be a subcontractor, but that does not mean that you cannot ask the contractor for decent material to work with; the original office documents.

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Jumbled text from PDF file

Community Beginner ,
Jul 01, 2020

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Recently using CC after CS5 for ten years. Very disappointed that this issue STILL exists. When opening a PDF file in Illustrator that has been created in Word or Excel and uses Calibri and/or Cambria, the result is unusable jumbled text (see attached). The solution I've used is to export PDF to EPS, however that results in all text being outlined, making it uneditable. I don't have the original Word/Excel file to edit (subcontractor), and would prefer to not outline type overall. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Ton Frederiks | Adobe Community Professional

Illustrator was never designed to be a generic PDF editor.

You may be a subcontractor, but that does not mean that you cannot ask the contractor for decent material to work with; the original office documents.

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Bug, Type

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97

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Jul 01, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 01, 2020

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Illustrator was never designed to be a generic PDF editor.

You may be a subcontractor, but that does not mean that you cannot ask the contractor for decent material to work with; the original office documents.

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Jul 01, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Jul 01, 2020

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This often doesn't reflect the reality of what source materials are available to the client, who may be too far downstream from the source data / document. In any case, some complicated charts that are made in Office are impossible to recreate without heavy legwork in Illustrator, and since Adobe absolutely refuse to bring the chart tool into the 21st century, the best way to get access to the vectors of the chart is via PDF. It'd be handy not to have to mess around with the text, but the PDF/A workaround I posted below seems to work. 

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Jul 01, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Jul 02, 2020

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Good call on the "downstream" comment. Thank you for that. I did put in a request for original document, but I know how that usually goes . . .

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Jul 02, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 01, 2020

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In addition to the good information above, you can try running some Acrobat Preflights to properly embed the fonts, Tools> Print Production> Preflight> Fixups, which may or may not help when you open the PDF in Illustrator. You could also try placing the PDF into a new Illustrator file (as a link), this would not allow you to edit the PDF, but it's unclear why you are opening a PDF in Illustrator. You can make minor edits in Acrobat, and if extensive changes are needed, it's usually better to make the edits in the original format and export to a new PDF (as already mentioned), or save the PDF as a text file and then copy & paste it into InDesign where it can be properly formatted. Another option is purchasing a plugin to convert the PDF to an InDesign file. If you need to outline the fonts (as a last resort), using an Acrobat preflight is usually considered the best method.

embed preflight.pngFix font problems.png

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Jul 01, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Jul 02, 2020

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Doesn't work: text then becomes jumbled in the PDF file; only way is to outline.

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Jul 02, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Jul 01, 2020

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Somewhere buried deep in the community threads I found a workaround for this that works for me: open the PDF in Acrobat and Save As > PDF/A. For whatever reason, when you open these PDF/A files in Illustrator it works fine, for me at least.

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Jul 01, 2020 0
cathicar LATEST
Community Beginner ,
Jul 02, 2020

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Didn't work; thanks, though!

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Jul 02, 2020 0