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Ligatures are broken in placed PDFs


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Here is a screenshot to show what I am seeing. The PDF (bottom) shows the "ffi" ligature correctly, while the same PDF when placed in a publisher document (top) shows the ligatures are split.

1715178576_ScreenShot2020-02-05at9_26_05AM.thumb.png.4b96c9eada46ae7f6227cc0cd1fd3b43.png

Here are the steps I followed:

  1. Created a new document. Add the word "difficult" with Adobe Garamond Pro.
    (I added the text as art text, though I first observed the problem in a text frame in a real document)
    I have attached my file from this step: ligatures.afpub
  2. Exported the document as a PDF for print.
    That is the document opened in the bottom of the screenshot above.
    Here is the PDF: ligatures.pdf
  3. I then created another new document, and I placed the PDF in the new document.
    That is the opened document in the top of the screenshot above.
    Here is the document from this step: ligatures_placed.afpub

At this point the ligature is broken, and it will remain broken even when exporting to a new PDF.

I followed the steps above on Publisher 1.7.3 on macOS 10.14.6. I also tried opening ligatures_placed.afpub in Publisher 1.8.0.535 with the same result.

-------------------

Those are the facts of the issue; now for my opinion: This may be related to the lack of a passthrough. I'm not sure about that, but you see even with the original font installed, placing PDFs is not reliable. I feel like PDFs should be placed as though they were final documents. Opening PDFs (i.e. import) is one thing, but placing a PDF should not need to be interpreted as a live editable document. The present approach of reinterpreting versus just placing it as is means there will inevitably be differences of implementation such as this. It's not just that, but I see spacing in the placed document does not match the PDF that was placed. For example, notice the spacing at the red arrows:

1969598051_ScreenShot2020-02-05at10_01_41AM.png.400e7158b83ea0484a7c8e03cf79ac51.png

I can sympathize with the challenge Serif has in regard to rethinking PDF handling, but the lack of passthrough is a real black mark that is going to come up again and again, as new users discover how unreliable it is in this area, especially as we are not here talking about unimplemented "missing" features but rather a poorly-behaved existing feature.

I admit my opinion is colored by the negative experience I am having now that I discovered I can't use the files I have created over the last couple hours and I will have to redo the process in InDesign. (That's my little rant, but I still love you, Serif. We will get through this.)

ligatures_placed.afpub

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What font embedding option did you choose when you did the Export to create the PDF file, Garrett?

For best ligature support in Affinity you may need to use All Fonts and turn off the Subset Fonts option, from what I've read. (I have not tried this with your files, yet.)

-- Walt

Desktop:  Windows 11 Home, version 21H2 (22000.613) 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 
Laptop:  Windows 10 Home, version 21H2 (19044.1706) 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
        Affinity Photo 1.10.6 (.1665) and 2.0..3  and 2.0.3.1670 beta/ Affinity Designer 1.10.6 (.1665)  and 2.0.3 and 2.0.3.1670 beta / Affinity Publisher 1.10.6 (.1665)  and 2.0.3 and 2.0.3.1670 beta
iPad Pro M1, 12.9", iPadOS 16.3, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard

      Affinity Photo 1.10.6 and 2.0.3 / Affinity Designer 1.10.6 and 2.0.3 / Affinity Publisher 2.0.3

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1 minute ago, walt.farrell said:

What font embedding option did you choose when you did the Export to create the PDF file

I used the "PDF (for print)" preset. So… (checking to see), ah yes, that default does subset the fonts.

But I just tried it again with subsetting turned off, and the new PDF (with all the font embedded rather than a subset) also fails in the same way when placing it. And that shouldn't surprise, as Publisher can't read font data from a PDF anyway.

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37 minutes ago, garrettm30 said:

And that shouldn't surprise, as Publisher can't read font data from a PDF anyway.

Thanks for checking.

And, by the way, Publisher does read the font data. And you can't stop it from reading the data, which is the basic problem with embedded PDF files as I understand it. It's reading the font information to make the text editable, rather than providing a way of treating it like a picture.

-- Walt

Desktop:  Windows 11 Home, version 21H2 (22000.613) 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 
Laptop:  Windows 10 Home, version 21H2 (19044.1706) 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
        Affinity Photo 1.10.6 (.1665) and 2.0..3  and 2.0.3.1670 beta/ Affinity Designer 1.10.6 (.1665)  and 2.0.3 and 2.0.3.1670 beta / Affinity Publisher 1.10.6 (.1665)  and 2.0.3 and 2.0.3.1670 beta
iPad Pro M1, 12.9", iPadOS 16.3, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard

      Affinity Photo 1.10.6 and 2.0.3 / Affinity Designer 1.10.6 and 2.0.3 / Affinity Publisher 2.0.3

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14 minutes ago, walt.farrell said:

And, by the way, Publisher does read the font data. And you can't stop it from reading the data, which is the basic problem with embedded PDF files as I understand it. It's reading the font information to make the text editable, rather than providing a way of treating it like a picture.

This is part of the font passthrough problem: even though the font data is embedded in the PDF, Publisher is not able to use it, instead relying on the font to be installed on the user's computer. If the font is not installed on the computer, then the PDF will not display correctly in Publisher, even if it works fine in Preview and other apps (it works fine in other apps because they do use the embedded font data).

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Good point. However, Publisher (and other Affinity applications) do use part of the information. They use the embedded font tables to deduce the usage of ligatures, at a minimum.

-- Walt

Desktop:  Windows 11 Home, version 21H2 (22000.613) 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 
Laptop:  Windows 10 Home, version 21H2 (19044.1706) 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
        Affinity Photo 1.10.6 (.1665) and 2.0..3  and 2.0.3.1670 beta/ Affinity Designer 1.10.6 (.1665)  and 2.0.3 and 2.0.3.1670 beta / Affinity Publisher 1.10.6 (.1665)  and 2.0.3 and 2.0.3.1670 beta
iPad Pro M1, 12.9", iPadOS 16.3, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard

      Affinity Photo 1.10.6 and 2.0.3 / Affinity Designer 1.10.6 and 2.0.3 / Affinity Publisher 2.0.3

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