12 Replies Latest reply on Jul 15, 2014 3:56 PM by rob day

    Exporting PDF format for web viewing, fonts look bad

    mblaney Level 1

      Hey everybody I'm relatively new to indesign so sorry if this is a simple one. I'm doing a newsletter in indesign, which will be used stricktly for web viewing. Whenever I export the file as a pdf the body text fonts look a bit off, as though they are slightly pixelated around the edges. This is not as noticable in the artcile titles with larger font, but any smaller font (i'm using size 14, and futura book) and it gets this pixelation, it is even more noticeable in the thinner type sets of the font. Another odd thing is the first page of the newsletter the fonts are more messed up looking than the following pages where the same font types and sizes are used, the only major difference is the first page has a photo on it, but the fonts that look weird are below the photo not overlaying it or anything like that. I turned off all the compression on the pdf export, also tried it will varying amounts of compression but still have the same issue. And I am viewing this in Mac's Preview program, not acrobat.

        • 1. Re: Exporting PDF format for web viewing, fonts look bad
          Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant
          1. First of all: Apple Preview is NOT a proper PDF viewer as it supports only a substandard of the PDF standard, a lot of PDFs are shown wrong in Apple Preview. Avoid using this program in reading PDFs, use Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat.
          2. Did you use transparency with your font? Take care that all text elements are above transparency, I would recommend to put the on their own layer and put this layer to the top most.
          3. To go more into your problem, we would need some more important information as there are:
            • Which version of InDesign?
            • OS?
            • How did you create your PDF? Export or Print? Which Export?
            • Which settings did you apply with creating the PDF?
            • Which fonts? Family? Type?
            • Please show a screen shot from InDesign, with the text selected and the layer panel opened.
            • Another screen shot how it looks like in Acrobat.
          • 2. Re: Exporting PDF format for web viewing, fonts look bad
            mblaney Level 1

            First off thanks for the help Willi, no i did not use any transparency for the fonts, all the text elements are on their own layer which is also the top layer. I'm using indesign cc, os 10.8 (mt. lion), i exported with pdf for print (i also used the interactive pdf and got the same issue), all the fonts are futura standard either using book, light, or heavy. Looking at my document in acrobad everything looks fine, but I've noticed from the past newsletter on the website (which i did not create) the body text pixelation is there here is a example of what I am talking about. So I'm wondering if my pdf looks fine in acrobat, will it still look fine once posted up or will i get a similair type of issue?   http://dinet.org/images/newsletters/2014_Spring_Dinet_Newsletter.pdfhttp://

            • 3. Re: Exporting PDF format for web viewing, fonts look bad
              Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

              Your link is not working for me.

              But I was NOT talking about using transparency for the fonts, I was asking if you used OTHER object nearby above the fonts, like an image with layer or transparency mask.

              Check the transparency flattening preview (Window > Output > Transparency Flattening Preview) and look into the different tests to see where the font could be affected.

              I mean this:

              1.png

              2.png

              • 4. Re: Exporting PDF format for web viewing, fonts look bad
                mblaney Level 1

                Ok, just checked through all the flattening preview highlights and everything looked fine in that. Since my exported document looked perfectly fine in acrobat, but sort of pixelated in mac's preview, is there any way around that? or will my pdf always just look bad in programs like preview, or other online viewing software that are not a proper pdf viewer? Sorry about the link i was trying to link directly to the last newsletter which did not work, here is a new link to the website and the newsletters are aligned on the right side: http://dinet.org/index.php/information-resources/newsletters

                • 5. Re: Exporting PDF format for web viewing, fonts look bad
                  Bo LeBeau Level 4

                  Just downloaded the 2014 Spring Dinet Newsletter.pdf and the fonts look fine in Acrobat Pro.

                   

                  I noticed on page 9, the top Q & A on the right side there is a thin white stroke that partially cover up the word "to" .

                  white_stroke.jpg

                  • 6. Re: Exporting PDF format for web viewing, fonts look bad
                    mblaney Level 1

                    Ok so here's my qeustion: without actuallly downloading the file and just viewing in on the websites online pdf viewer I notice, especially on the first page body text (black on white backing) that the font doesn't look crisp, it looks kinda bad. Its pretty noticeable when zooming in at 125%. Even downloading the pdf to adobe reader for me has the same affect. So assuming that acrobat will not be used to read these files for the majority of viewers,  is there a way to make the fonts look good? or in other words lets say you use a program like mac's Preview which is not a proper pdf viewer, will you always get a compromised finished work when viewing pdf files from indesign, or is there a way to make everything look as clean as it does during an indesign session.

                    • 7. Re: Exporting PDF format for web viewing, fonts look bad
                      Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                      Apple Preview is not a good PDF viewer. You could add a layer in InDesign, cover everything up and writ the text, that tis PDF should be viewed only with Reader and Acrobat. Turn off the visibility of that layer in InDesign and export it as PDF. Only in Reader and Acrobat this layer will not covr the content, everyone else with wrong PDF viewer will see this hidden layer, because non Adobe viewer ignore any hiddel property with layers.

                      • 8. Re: Exporting PDF format for web viewing, fonts look bad
                        mblaney Level 1

                        Ok, thanks everyone for the quick responses.

                        • 9. Re: Exporting PDF format for web viewing, fonts look bad
                          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          Ok, just checked through all the flattening preview highlights and everything looked fine in that. Since my exported document looked perfectly fine in acrobat, but sort of pixelated in mac's preview, is there any way around that?

                           

                          If you are serving the PDF via a web address it will very likely be viewed in a browser (not downloaded and opened in an app like Preview or Reader). All of the browser displays have slightly different anti-aliasing, which you can see if you zoom in on a screen capture of the text. Here's a line of text from your PDF at 100%, magnified to 400% in Photoshop. From top to bottom Safari, Chrome, Firefox:

                           

                          browserpdfs.png

                           

                          There's nothing you can do about the anti-aliasing quality of the different browsers and apps. The PDF you posted has live transparency, so it isn't a flattening issue.

                          • 10. Re: Exporting PDF format for web viewing, fonts look bad
                            Danny Whitehead. Level 4

                            You could try flattening when you export the PDF, by selecting Acrobat 4 Compatibility and the High Resolution Transparency Flattener preset. The drawback of this is visible stitching on your transparent objects in Preview etc.

                             

                            By the way, that body font's Gill Sans Light, not Futura. While the real problem is non-Adobe viewers' rendering of transparency, maybe a slightly heavier font would be more forgiving.

                            • 11. Re: Exporting PDF format for web viewing, fonts look bad
                              mblaney Level 1

                              Rob Day - thanks for the replies, yea the pdf reader in the browser was really where I was noticing the issue, and preview as well, while acrobat everything looked great.

                               

                              Danny - thanks i'll give that a try just to see the pros and cons of each, and i didn't design the last newsletters, mine is not actually up yet but for mine I was using futura which is a bit bolder than the gill that you saw on the last one, its really those thinner type fonts that seem to be more affected by the "anti-aliasing" filter from what Rob said, i'll probably try a few different type sets to see which ones are preserved the best

                              • 12. Re: Exporting PDF format for web viewing, fonts look bad
                                rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                yea the pdf reader in the browser was really where I was noticing the issue

                                 

                                There's really nothing you can do about it. View in Chrome, the current version is pretty good, but you can't control the end browser. You can also consider using fonts designed for screen—Typekit has a number. Also a common web technique is use dark gray rather than black—small black type is challenging to anti-alias because of the contrast.