Odd text rendering issue in Adobe Acrobat on the Mac

I have been looking at a PDF file today which has a rather ‘interesting’ feature. If you look at the screenshot, you will see that in Mac Preview, the text is white, whereas in Acrobat 9.0 it is black…

The reason that Preview is displaying it white is because the color is set outside the text command block. I presume that Acrobat is ignoring the color setting for exactly the same reason. Acrobat goes to great lengths to try and clean up sloppy PDFs and display them rather than enforce the specification. Interestingly in Acrobat on one of our Windows boxes, the text is white…

This post is part of our “Understanding the PDF File Format” series. In each article, we discuss a PDF feature, bug, gotcha or tip. If you wish to learn more about PDF, we have 13 years worth of PDF knowledge and tips, so click here to visit our series index!

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Mark Stephens

System Architect and Lead Developer at IDRSolutions
Mark Stephens has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and has diversified into HTML5, SVG and JavaFX. He also enjoys speaking at conferences and has been a Speaker at user groups, Business of Software, Seybold and JavaOne conferences. He has a very dry sense of humor and an MA in Medieval History for which he has not yet found a practical use.
Markee174

About Mark Stephens

Mark Stephens has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and has diversified into HTML5, SVG and JavaFX.

He also enjoys speaking at conferences and has been a Speaker at user groups, Business of Software, Seybold and JavaOne conferences. He has a very dry sense of humor and an MA in Medieval History for which he has not yet found a practical use.

2 thoughts on “Odd text rendering issue in Adobe Acrobat on the Mac

  1. Interesting… I wonder how it would print on a printer with Adobe PDF technology. My experience is that the interpreter in a printer is not as forgiving as Acrobat or Reader when it comes to buggy PDF. A lot of PDF files that Acrobat just repairs when it opens the file, will result in an error page when printed.

    Thanks for sharing another interesting PDF problem.

  2. It only fails on some versions of Acrobat which is even more weird!

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