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PDF from InDesign opened in Illustrator has random text lines converted to vectors

Community Beginner ,
Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

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I have created a text contract template in InDesign, which I exported as PDF.

 

My client will import the PDF to Illustrator to make a few text edits, to customize the contract for each of their own clients. 

 

When the PDF is opened in Illustrator, some lines of text have been converted to vectors, while others remain live text. It is apparently arbitrary, but strangely the vector-converted text is always a full line across a paragraph, never just one letter / word / partial line. 

In ID I have tried removing all Paragraph and Character styles, exported with other fonts, and copied the text into NotePad and pasted back into InDesign in an attempt to strip out hidden formatting. Still the same lines come out as vectors. 

 

Attached screenshot shows how the file looks in Illustrator in Outline mode.


Thanks!

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correct answers 6 Correct answers

Community Expert , Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

Which PDF standard have you used ? PDF/X-4 or something older?

 

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Community Expert , Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

Illustrator isn't a general purpose PDF editor. If your client needs to make changes downstream from you, consider building the thing in Illustrator to begin with. That usually works quite well.

 

Alternately, you could use form fields to allow your client to make some changes.

 

Tour client could also make edits directly in the live text with Acrobat; this is still a troublesome workflow that will likely have some major problems, but it seems like it would be kinder to the document than a round

...

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Community Expert , Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

As was said, Illustrator is not meant to be a PDF editor, so this is absolutely the wrong approcah for your client. Opening a PDF this way has many limitations. There are several reasons why outlining might happen. The most prevalent is the presence of ligatures. If you have ligatures turned on in your text in InDesign, turn it off and try again. You'll see amarked diffrence, but it won't eliminate all outlining. PDF code writes text in a series of line objects and If there's even ONE ligature i

...

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Community Expert , Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

Yep, that would be cumbersome indeed to handle in Illustrator, wouldn't it? I'm glad that Brad had the answer on hand for you, and in your shoes I'd stick with a workflow that works. But if you, or your client, have more challenges working iwith InDesign PDFs in Illustrator, it may be worth the effort to move over to a forms-based workflow, or just using Acrobat (which I've personally, found more reliable as an occasional PDF editor). 

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Community Expert , Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

InCopy... 

 

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Community Expert , Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

As long as you know what could work against you, Good luck!

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Community Expert ,
Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

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Which PDF standard have you used ? PDF/X-4 or something older?

 

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Community Expert ,
Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

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Illustrator isn't a general purpose PDF editor. If your client needs to make changes downstream from you, consider building the thing in Illustrator to begin with. That usually works quite well.

 

Alternately, you could use form fields to allow your client to make some changes.

 

Tour client could also make edits directly in the live text with Acrobat; this is still a troublesome workflow that will likely have some major problems, but it seems like it would be kinder to the document than a roundtrip through Illustrator. 

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

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I might look into setting it up only with editable form fields to be more foolproof in general

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Community Expert ,
Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

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As was said, Illustrator is not meant to be a PDF editor, so this is absolutely the wrong approcah for your client. Opening a PDF this way has many limitations. There are several reasons why outlining might happen. The most prevalent is the presence of ligatures. If you have ligatures turned on in your text in InDesign, turn it off and try again. You'll see amarked diffrence, but it won't eliminate all outlining. PDF code writes text in a series of line objects and If there's even ONE ligature in a line of text, or some weird kerning, the whole line has to be converted to outline to preserve its appearance and spacing.

 

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

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Nailed it, ligatures were the culprit!

As for the workflow - I'm building the document in InDesign because that's the appropriate app to manage designing a multi-page text document such as a contract. It would be really cumbersome to keep multiple title headings etc consistent in Illustrator, especially with needing to accomodate revisions. 

The final product needs to be a PDF that can be emailed to my client's client. Between those points, my client needs to customize a few things like names and dates. He is reasonably competent in Illustrator and this workflow hasn't been a problem so far. If not Illustrator, would Acrobat be more suitable for my client to make his edits? 

Thank you all for the quick responses!

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Community Expert ,
Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

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Yep, that would be cumbersome indeed to handle in Illustrator, wouldn't it? I'm glad that Brad had the answer on hand for you, and in your shoes I'd stick with a workflow that works. But if you, or your client, have more challenges working iwith InDesign PDFs in Illustrator, it may be worth the effort to move over to a forms-based workflow, or just using Acrobat (which I've personally, found more reliable as an occasional PDF editor). 

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Community Expert ,
Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

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InCopy... 

 

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Community Expert ,
Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

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As long as you know what could work against you, Good luck!

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