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Try setting up the language to Hindi in Paragraph Style Options>Advanced Character Formats>Language and see if that helps. What font are you using? Have you tried Mangal?
I tried setting my language to Hindi in the paragraph styles but didn't notice any change.
Thank you for the Mangal tip! I installed a free version of Mangal and tried it in my Nepali document and most of the letters are now working! Is there anything you might suggest for getting the remaining characters to work?
It might have to do with how the PDF was created. Do you know what application was used (File>Properties>Description>PDF Producer). Also, what font do you see in Acrobat (File>Properties>Fonts)?
By the way, Mangal is a Microsoft licensed font that comes with Windows 7, 8 and others. See here: Mangal - Version 1.20. I wouldn't trust "free" fonts offered by some websites.
The PDF Producer says: Mac OS X 10.9.5 Quartz PDFContext. I took a screen shot of the fonts they used; see attached. I wondered if the Times usage would correspond with missing or substituted characters but that doesn't appear to be the case. The ones I checked were Devanagari just like the characters that are rendering accurately. Times is used for all punctuation throughout the document! When I copied from Acrobat and pasted into InDesign, the punctuation appears to have translated accurately from Times into Devanagari, so I don't know why they would have used Times.
I will also note that the characters that aren't rendering properly are showing up in two different ways. Some are replaced by rectangles and some are replaced by other characters like the pound, plus or percentage signs. I could try to figure out a reason for the difference...
Interesting. In order to post your screen shot you need to use the camera icon. Check the comment by David W. Goodrich on this thread regarding PDF creation: Indesign does not show all Chinese characters. Hopefully he'll see this thread and comment as well. If you can post a sample .pdf that would be better. You can use dropbox or similar and post the link here.
Thank you for sharing that thread with me. Goodrich suspected the Quartz engine was causing the problem and that is the same PDF producer used for the document that I am copying from. Interesting! Sounds like the problem may lie in the way that the PDF was created as you suspected. If that is the case, can you recommend a way to create the PDF without using the Quartz engine?
I tried to use the camera icon to attach the PDF that I am copying from and got this warning message: "That image type is forbidden."
Right. You cannot post pdf direclty, only images. That's why I suggested using a cloud storage service like dropbox.com. You put it there and place a link to the file here.
What format is the original document where you are getting the pdf from?