Author Topic: Combining PDF  (Read 5137 times)

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Offline Publi-Script

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Combining PDF
« on: April 23, 2007, 11:17:51 AM »
Hi all,

Sorry to disturb you on such a fine day (well here anyway).

Anyone know of this bug that corrupts embedded fonts when combining PDF's?

Is there a way arround that?

Scenario:
Quark documents are tranformed into PDF (via Adobe Distiler) with all fonts embedded.
The printer then combine the PDF together before printing.
Result:
Some fonts come out garble on the printed document (mostly fonts that were embedded into images that were imported into Quark).
« Last Edit: April 23, 2007, 11:20:56 AM by Publi-Script »
Michel Lemieux
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Offline larsen67

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Re: Combining PDF
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2007, 12:56:17 PM »
I've not heard so much of font issues with the more recent versions of Acrobat which one are they doing this with? How are they combining the PDF's. Using insert pages or create PDF form Multiple files… I think the latter may be cleaner but may have only appeared in V7. There used to be an age old postscript method to do this cleanly from a folder of PS files to create one PDF. Glenn will probably have a much better idea though…

Offline marcusstringer

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Re: Combining PDF
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2007, 07:19:12 PM »
Hi

Are they Saving or Saving As?

Are the fonts screwy after they combine and before they save or after they save?

Can you replicate the problem?

What are the font's that go screwy?


Offline Glenn

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Re: Combining PDF
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2007, 09:21:52 AM »
I've collected a bit of info on this from various forums. It's extremely rare and I think there are at least two mechanisms.

Basically if you try to combine two embedded fonts of the same name on to the same page you can trigger this. The protection here is that a when a font is subset it is supposed to collect a unique (generated randomly) name. I've also heard of cases where combining pages from several pdfs into a single pdf can cause characters to drop.

Things to avoid:
Using Acrobat to merge, insert or replace pages, in particular PDFs pages created with Distiller 7 being merged, inserted or replaced in Acrobat 5.
Attempting typos using Acrobat Professional's TouchUp tool.
Placing EPS files with embedded fonts into InDesign 2 or InDesignCS and then Exporting to PDF.


My own experience of this problem is limited to this workflow/scenario
8 Advertisments created in InDesignCS2 each Exported to PDF (font subset or fully embedded made no difference) on one PC. All these advertisments used the same font.
These placed advertisments placed on to a single InDesignCS2 page on a different PC and Exported to PDF.
This final page PDF is placed into a final InDesignCS2 document (along with the other 59 pages) combined with headers and footers and Exported to final PDF (which I receive).
PitStop reports nothing amiss, and on screen in Acrobat all looks OK. However when RIPped there are one or two cases where the text scrunches up and prints on top of itself.

There are various fixes, but perhaps of more use are some of the things that don't work:
Extract the page in Acrobat then use PitStop to convert text to outline works. Interestingly at the point before outlining Document Properties>Font Usage shows fonts of the same name to be subset several times.
Changing the font in the advertisments where text is scrunching on output tends to move the scrunching somewhere else on the page.
Printing postscript and Distilling the from the final InDesignCS2 file works but I wouldn't suggest this for the whole file.
Making each font set unique in each advert works but isn't very practical.
Going back to the 2nd PDF and trying to RIP without headers and footers has no effect.
Cut and paste from the original InDesign Advertisment documents into the final InDesign document then Export to PDF works.
I've suggested to the designer that InDesignCS3's ability to place InDesign documents as Links should probably sort this out.


With regards to quark I have another customer who has a very similar workflow using Quark7 instead of InDesignCS2 (yes they place pdfs) it seems to work for them, but I do have to insist that they produce the final PDF via Distiller or it won't RIP here without me telling the RIP to ignore missing fonts.


My best guess here is that, its either during the conversion from pdf to postscript or if subsets get transcoded that these things go wrong. Quark seems to suffer less because it converts pdfs to postscript internally and presumably uses the "unique font subset name". Sending postcript to Distiller from IDCS2 gives Distiller control of organising the embedding of fonts, (but does rely on IDCS2 converting potentially complicated PDFs into simple postcript). Letting the RIP convert the PDF to postscript, as almost all RIPs do internally, sometimes results in only one subset getting through.

I'm sure Robert Zacherl would know precisely how it all works, anychance of tempting him over here :)
« Last Edit: April 24, 2007, 09:37:35 AM by Glenn »

Offline Publi-Script

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Re: Combining PDF
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2007, 10:02:46 AM »
Thank you for your input Glenn,

I am now entering the part of troubleshooting I hate the most: I cannot reproduce the problem (mind you I wasn't the one that created it in the first plae)
I just started with the same PDFs that I did combine them using diffrent methods and they all seem fine. This leaves me to believe that other things are at play here (loaded fonts, OS type, etc.)

...
Basically if you try to combine two embedded fonts of the same name on to the same page you can trigger this. The protection here is that a when a font is subset it is supposed to collect a unique (generated randomly) name. I've also heard of cases where combining pages from several pdfs into a single pdf can cause characters to drop.
I have experienced this on occasion where the "dropped" characters where mostly (if not all) in the high ascii range (accented character for us French users)

Things to avoid:
Using Acrobat to merge, insert or replace pages, in particular PDFs pages created with Distiller 7 being merged, inserted or replaced in Acrobat 5.
Attempting typos using Acrobat Professional's TouchUp tool.
Placing EPS files with embedded fonts into InDesign 2 or InDesignCS and then Exporting to PDF.

We normally combine PDF's by way of the "Insert pages" menu.

...
I'm sure Robert Zacherl woulkd know precisely how it all works, anychance of tempting him over here :)
I did send him an invitation but he has yet to respond ;-(
Michel Lemieux
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Offline Glenn

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Re: Combining PDF
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2007, 10:29:43 AM »
Dropped glyphs in the high ASCII numbers is the most common problem with combining PDFs in Acrobat.

rzacherl suggested (to larsen67) that if you have access to the postcript files of the standalone documents then use the merging functionality in Acrobat Distiller by using the "RunDirEx.ps" or "RunFilex.ps" file supplied by Adobe.

If anyone can explain in a little more detail how to actually use these files I'd be grateful.

Is there a real need for you to combine pdfs, most printers are happy to take individual pages or batches of pages.

Offline Publi-Script

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Re: Combining PDF
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2007, 10:44:10 AM »
Is there a real need for you to combine pdfs, most printers are happy to take individual pages or batches of pages.

Funny you are mentionning this, the one that comnibed the files WAS my "printer"... Well actually it is a "copy" place with whow we decided long ago NEVER to send the actual Quark documents. I end up troublehooting their setup much too often to my liking.
Michel Lemieux
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Offline Glenn

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Re: Combining PDF
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2007, 11:04:58 AM »
from larsen 67
Quote
How are they combining the PDF's
from marcusstringer
Quote
Are they Saving or Saving As?
does this make a difference Marcus?

Offline larsen67

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Re: Combining PDF
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2007, 11:33:11 AM »
Glenn, to my surprise those files are still there in my V7. Its nothing more than a simple script with the exception that is written in postscript language. Open the text file RunDirEx.txt the instructions are enclosed commented out change the file paths as required do save as then distill the text file. If I remember rightly this is the old school way for clean fonts. It was back in V5 that I think I last used this option. When things were even more buggy.

Offline chardonnay

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Re: Combining PDF
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2007, 02:40:03 PM »
Quote
Are they Saving or Saving As?
does this make a difference Marcus?
[/quote]


When you do a 'save as' in Acrobat, the routine is that Acrobat 'optimizes', or 'cleans up' the file. Probably the file size reduces (especially after many 'saves'). Duplicates of fonts are discarded in this routine also. 

However, other than doing this with the 'pdf optimizer' the actual codation settings remain untouched.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2007, 02:49:17 PM by chardonnay »