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Thick letter L in pdf

Community Beginner ,
Oct 16, 2008 Oct 16, 2008

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Hi Again

when i export an indesign file to pdf, any letter L's in the text appear to be very thick and stand out like a sore thumb. is there any reason for this and is it possible to ge rid of this problem.

thanks in advance

Phil
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Import and export, Type

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Contributor ,
Oct 16, 2008 Oct 16, 2008

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From my experience it doesn't appear to print differently to normal. Have you tried printing?

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LEGEND ,
Oct 16, 2008 Oct 16, 2008

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Does it change if you zoom in or out? Many times horizontal or vertical strokes will appear to change weight depending on the zoom factor due to the need to use whole screen pixels. Rounding the ratio of stroke weight to resolution at a particular zoom level can cause things to either appear extra thick or disappear entirely on screen.

Peter

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Explorer ,
Oct 16, 2008 Oct 16, 2008

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Every font, or just one particular font? Prints that way or just looks
bad on screen? Capital L or lower case l?

--
Kenneth Benson
Pegasus Type, Inc.
www.pegtype.com

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 16, 2008 Oct 16, 2008

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Hi Guys

Thanks for getting back. As i am a newbie i dont fully understand the functionallity of indesign yet. The problem started when i was first using illustrator to make flyers for my company to go on the website. In answer to Kenneths response yes it does print ok and it is the lower case l but it shows up on the website. I think i may have figured it out in indesign though. The problem accured when i copied and paste from illustrator directly into indesign. When i write diretly in indesign the problem does not occur. Any reason why it does it in ai and not idd. very confusing.

to answer peter it stays proportionate to the rest of the text when zooming in and out therefore thick no matter where the zoom lies.

thanks for stopping by

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Explorer ,
Oct 16, 2008 Oct 16, 2008

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I can make this happen only if I make a single letter l, convert it to
outlines, and then copy it and paste it into Indesign.

Is it possible you're seeing this with fl (ligature) combinations only?

I want to know if your thick letter ells in Indesign are text or
graphics. What happens if you use Find/Change to search for the letter
l? Does it find the thick ones, or does it skip over them?

And you didn't answer my question: every font, or just one particular font?

--
Kenneth Benson
Pegasus Type, Inc.
www.pegtype.com

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Mentor ,
Oct 16, 2008 Oct 16, 2008

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Hi, Phil:

Peter Spier's reply (#2) is correct, but he doesn't explicitly note that it's an Acrobat or Reader display issue, not an ID error.

In Acrobat Preference > Page Display > Rendering, there are some options that may be helpful in reducing the effect.

HTH

Regards

Peter Gold
KnowHow ProServices

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LEGEND ,
Oct 16, 2008 Oct 16, 2008

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>Peter Spier's reply (#2) is correct, but he doesn't explicitly note that it's an Acrobat or Reader display issue, not an ID error.

I guess I thought that was implicit. Thanks for mentioning it. :)

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Adobe Employee ,
Oct 16, 2008 Oct 16, 2008

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Every time I've seen this problem, it has been due to someone converting text rendered via fonts to text rendered by "outlines." Solution is simple - don't "outline" text unless there is some type of special effect that you need that can only be achieved in that manner (and there are very few of those).

- Dov
- Dov Isaacs, Principal Scientist, Adobe

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Participant ,
Jul 17, 2016 Jul 17, 2016

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"Solution is simple - don't "outline" text unless there is some type of special effect that you need that can only be achieved in that manner (and there are very few of those)."


So, using a vector logo or wordmark in a PDF is a rare case or special effect scenario now? If I need to place the Shell logo (for example) in my document to be exported to PDF, I either need to contact Shell's design dept. for a live font version of their logo (yah, right) or I need to edit the two "Ls" manually so that they don't look thicker than they should in a PDF?

Or I could convert all logos to raster and worry about the resolution from that point forward (providing they don't require spot colours).

Your solution may be simple but it's far from practical. Here's a better solution: Adobe spends some of our subscription money on fixing an obvious bug instead of on finding more ways to shoehorn Adobe Stock into everything.

EDIT: I'd like to add that Apple's Preview app has no such issues and displays these "problem letterforms" just fine.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 17, 2016 Jul 17, 2016

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This thread is not about logos, it's about running text. Personally, I think a logo with real fonts properly embedded is preferable if the letterforms are not being altered, but I understand why many logos are not built that way. Loss of font hinting is not a big factor for readability in a logo, nor would I expect readers to expect to be able to search for a log using a text search in a PDF.

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Adobe Employee ,
Jul 17, 2016 Jul 17, 2016

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This thread is over eight years old. The correct responses were provided a number of years ago even if various participants don't want to believe them.

There is a control in Acrobat / Reader to turn off any artificial embolding of thin lines.

There are also issues with fonts with poor hinting.

And obviously, you can get into big trouble if you outline text for whatever reason in terms of loss of hinting that such outlining yields. And for the most part, the stated reasons for such outlining are very poor at best!

This thread is now locked!

          - Dov

- Dov Isaacs, Principal Scientist, Adobe

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Oct 16, 2008 Oct 16, 2008

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Copy and pasting of formatted text from Illy to ID will result in the
text being converted to outlines.

Bob

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New Here ,
Feb 16, 2009 Feb 16, 2009

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I work for a scientific organization. We usually receive images from our authors with the fonts in graphics converted to vector. When we import the images into InDesign, then create a pdf for proof, these graphics ALWAYS show thickened els and ones, no matter what the font was originally.
If you zoom in about 300%, they will appear correctly, but that's an annoying thing to tell people to do all the time. The pdfs are posted online, and the authors want to see their figures looking correct within the page without this awful distortion.
I've called tech support at Adobe, but no one has an answer. If someone has a work-around, I'd be glad to hear it.

Carole

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LEGEND ,
Feb 16, 2009 Feb 16, 2009

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Is it really restricted to the single glyph, or just more noticeable there? Converting to outlines removes the font "hinting" and invariably makes type look bolder.

I suppose these come in as a variety of formats, some of which may not support font embedding. The best answer is, if possible, embed the font and don't convert to outlines. If that's not possible, you should consider opening the figures in Illustrator (presuming these are files that will open there), and resetting the type.

Peter

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Engaged ,
Feb 17, 2009 Feb 17, 2009

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Do all fonts do this? Some fonts are more compatible with rendering in pixels than others, especially at small sizes. I
am having a constant battle with an organisation that insists on sending promotional e-mails with 8pt Helvetica which
always looks terrible because the characters adust left or right of their optimum position and so text has clumps of
characters rather then smooth spacing. Switching to a font designed for viewing on a screen, like Trebuchet or Verdana
may help. Even the switch from Helvetica to Arial is a noticeable improvement.

k

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New Here ,
Feb 19, 2009 Feb 19, 2009

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That's interesting. I can try a few tests and let you know. Thanks for the suggestion. Helvetica is our most frequently used font for figures. We may have to re-think that if what you're saying is true.

Carole

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Engaged ,
Feb 19, 2009 Feb 19, 2009

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That's my personal view. The best thing you can do is to try it and see if it makes a difference for you. I'd be
interested to know.

I have come to accept thickened vertical strokes in PDFs as inevitable at low magnification, particularly with sans
fonts. If you think about how few pixels you have available to render the shape of a character, even with hinting and
anti-aliasing, it becomes clear that something's got to give. So fonts that have been designed expressly for viewing on
computer monitors seem likely to have some advantage.

k

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Enthusiast ,
Feb 23, 2009 Feb 23, 2009

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This problem occurs only when ALL of the following things are true:

- the font was converted to outlines

- the glyphs in question were drawn simple rectangles with no additional points. In a sans serif font often the lowercase el and sometimes the numeral one can be drawn this way.

Seeing a problem may also require that in Acrobat's Preferences > Page Display > Rendering, "enhance thin lines" is on. But I'm not certain of that one.

The font being "designed for viewing on screen" or the like will NOT help, except insofar as that design involves more complex shapes for the el and one.

Regards,

T

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New Here ,
May 11, 2016 May 11, 2016

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This worked for me. Thank you so much.

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Engaged ,
May 13, 2016 May 13, 2016

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Alternatively, use Preferences to tell Acrobat not to mess with thin lines.

2016-05-11_225306.jpg

Allen

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New Here ,
Mar 09, 2009 Mar 09, 2009

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Hi all.

I stumbled upon this problem at work about 5 months ago as well. After days of troubleshooting & searching on the internet, I found the cause & a fix to the problem on this page:
http://www.underconsideration.com/speakup/archives/004301.html

This is a rendering bug with Adobe Acrobat/Reader. It only display it as a thicker stroke but it prints fine. If you open the same file on a Mac via the "Preview" application, the problem goes away.

By turning OFF "Enhance thin lines" in Adobe Reader's preference, you can eliminate the display problem. But since the files I was working on will be distributed to thousands of people over the internet, this was not an option for me.

If you have Illustrator, the solution would be to add a point to the vertical strokes of all the lowercase "i" & "l". It's a pain & can be time consuming but it works.

Hope this helps.

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Explorer ,
Jul 10, 2009 Jul 10, 2009

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Thanks Ellam for that advice.

But what I can't understand is - this problem with the thick Ls has been around for ages - years I reckon. What are the developers doing? We've all paid for these expensive updates year in, year out - and still the problem hasn't been fixed. In that time how many thousands of designers must have had to apologise to their clients and explain that the Ls are not supposed to be bold - its just a strange thing that Acrobat/Adobe Reader does?

And, as you say, its not a problem using Preview on the Mac - so its obviously a fixable problem!

The thing is, these days, pdfs aren't just a means to an end - in many cases they are the end product. So they need to look right at any scale - not just 800%!

Just one more thing before I finish my rant: I'm wary of creating pdfs using embedded fonts because years ago I used to do that only to discover that sometimes a different font would display on another PC/Mac. Admittedly I was creating pdfs from Freehand MX 2004. Do you know if embedding in CS4 Illustrator & InDesign is now totally, totally reliable?

Cheers

Nick

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Advisor ,
Jul 10, 2009 Jul 10, 2009

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Please don't change the subject line in the thread. Makes it impossible to follow by email.

But what I can't understand is - this problem with the thick Ls has been around for ages - years I reckon. What are the developers doing? We've all paid for these expensive updates year in, year out - and still the problem hasn't been fixed. In that time how many thousands of designers must have had to apologise to their clients and explain that the Ls are not supposed to be bold - its just a strange thing that Acrobat/Adobe Reader does?

Only those "thousands of designers" who outline their text.

Fact is, this is not a problem with thick Ls. It's a problem with thick *drawings* of Ls. If you outline your type, a lot of ugly things happen. The worst offenders are in the area of rendering for electronic display.

Stop outlining. Start embedding. I've seen font substitution problems in PDFs, but none in the last 10 years. Check proofs before printing. About 1996, a client of mine decided that everything had been working so well she could stop looking at bluelines before signing off on them. She got 20,000 copies of a book printed in all italic (except for the italic text, which printed in roman).

Ken

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Engaged ,
Jul 11, 2009 Jul 11, 2009

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Kenneth C. Benson wrote:

About 1996, a client of mine decided that everything had been working so well she could stop looking at bluelines before signing off on them. She got 20,000 copies of a book printed in all italic (except for the italic text, which printed in roman).

It caused me actual pain to read that. What a nightmare.....

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