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David Allen

Publisher v Quark – Export as PDF text rendering problem

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Hello, when exporting a PDF from Publisher, I've noticed very poor text rendering when viewing in Acrobat. The quality improves and the letter forms (in this case Franklin Gothic) look more natural once zoomed in, but you have to zoom a long way. The dots in "i"s are joined to make them look like "l"s and the curved parts of letters like "s" look particularly awful. Attached is a spread from the original in Quark which is superiour, as well as a version made in Publisher. I've gone for standard settings for the PDF. I'd like a smooth transition to Publisher, but I fear my client will not be too pleased when viewing a proof PDF made in Publisher. Any tips? Thank you.

Publisher – digital high quality.pdf Quark – screen medium.pdf

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You seem to have used Type 1 fonts in your Quark export and TrueType fonts in your Publisher export, so the files are not comparable.

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Hello Lagarto, thanks for looking. Oh that's odd. Both made on the same machine. I'll check if I've go other versions of Franklin lurking somewere. Only one family is running in Fontbook with no duplicates reported though.

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So I disabled the Franklin Gothic that was running and replaced it with a newer OTF version I have (Acrobat says it's a Type1 font, I thought OTF was different?). Publisher actually made a much cleaner PDF than the Quark original. So a nice result there! But I keep getting a warning in Publisher that Franklin Gothic Book is missing. When I click on "Locate" in Font Manager nothing changes. Any advise welcome.

Publisher – digital high quality 2.pdf

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1 hour ago, David Allen said:

So I disabled the Franklin Gothic that was running and replaced it with a newer OTF version I have (Acrobat says it's a Type1 font, I thought OTF was different?).

At least Adobe Acrobat Pro X shows legacy Type 1 PostScript and OTF PostScript, as well as legacy TrueType and OpenType TrueType,  with the legacy symbols. I suppose OTF fonts should look equally well rendered on screen, disregarding the flavor, and as far as I know, the TrueType flavor of OTF should even have better support for hints so basically they should be rendered at least equally well on screen as OTF PS flavor fonts? Were these both versions OTF fonts?

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OTF fonts are a type 1 Postscript type. Some OTF fonts are TTFs wrapped in an OTF container (for lack of a better phrase).

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Ah there's a familiar name and icon, Mike W! So OTF could be either T1 or TTF just to add to the confusion. The point I'm at now is that I thought I'd cleaned out old Franklin Gothics. Disabled them from Fontbook and put any other copies in trash so they are out of the picture. Then loaded the new OTF version, which makes a lovely PDF with very crisp characters even at smaller sizes (attached in previous post). Do either of you have any ideas why Publisher is not able to locate Book despite it being part of the new family added, all fonts verified? And if I say "ignore preflight" it will make the PDF anyway and appear well rendered as well as Book being listed in Acrobat. Only the latest PDF has the new OTF version.

 

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9 hours ago, David Allen said:

Do either of you have any ideas why Publisher is not able to locate Book despite it being part of the new family added, all fonts verified?

Are you using a font manager? That could explain these kinds of problems. But as long as font loading / embedding problems are resolved, I do not think it should be possible to have different results when exporting a PDF with embedded fonts from QXP than exporting from Publisher...

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Font management is just Apple's Fontbook. Just opened the QXP original and no font warnings. It also made the PDF with the new OTF family including Book.

 

 

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I created a test document with legacy Type 1 PostScript, OTF PostScript flavor, legacy TrueType and OTF TrueType flavor, and then exported the same document in PDF/X1a format from InDesign CS6, QuarkXpress 2018 and latest Affinity Publisher release version, and cannot see any obvious differences in quality of sceen rendering. I am on Windows (Pro 10, latest version, 4K 250% app scaling and 1600 x 900 100% app scaling tested).

But one thing that is quite interesting and which I do not understand (and have not noticed before) is that QXP export shows all fonts (including TrueType legacy and OTF versions) as "Type 1" in PDF File > Properties Fonts tab??? Does Q somehow embed fonts differently than ID and APub? That could then definitely have some effect on the way fonts are rendered on screen.

Can you shed any light on this, @MikeW?

font_rendering.thumb.jpg.da751c224e89f5da7a698e5c182bd173.jpg

fonts_in_pdf_qxp.pdf

fonts_in_pdf_apub.pdf

fonts_in_pdf_id.pdf

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From my side, this is likely my last post of the day...about ready to pull off the packer brisket I started at 4am on the smoker...

I believe there's a Q preference for font encoding. I may be wrong. Probably am. I'm hungry. 

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OK, thank you both for the input so far. Way past my bedtime here, so I'll pick up on this soon. I'm hoping someone at Affinity can shed light on Publisher is not able to locate a font that's there. And QXP can see!

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The fact that Quark created PDF shows fonts that use TrueType outlines (whether in legacy fonts or OpenTypes) as Type 1 fonts probably means that same fonts have been used in both PDFs. I really do not know what Quark does here and could not find any setting that specifies how fonts should be embedded in PDFs.

The difference in rendering when using the PDFs you posted is clear especially in 125% zoom mode, when using Adobe Acrobat and using its font smoothing for Laptops/LCD. But I could not reproduce it with the test PDFs included above, nor when generating the same text with ITC versions (TrueType flavor) of Franklin Gothic with Quark and Publisher:

fontrendering_apub_qxp.thumb.jpg.df96a29041327932eda7e7850c99b8dc.jpg

Above I'd say that Publisher-generated PDF even renders a bit better (125% view).

It is clearly also dependent on the rendering app. Here is a screenshot of the PDFs you had included in your post when viewed in Foxit (at 125% zoom state):

fontrendering_apub_qxp_foxit.thumb.jpg.25c721fc883315db91bd063cd6c1c69f.jpg

So it would appear to be a viewer and font-dependent problem, and based on these comparisons, not related to font technology itself. 

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I ran now a test on macOS using QuarkXPress 2018 and Publisher (latest release), but could not experience similar problems with Helvetica Neue Light (TrueType outlines). Actually I think that Publisher-created PDF (on the left) renders a bit better:

2023270812_Screenshot2020-07-19at13_46_56.png.851f92500a6d5835ea0ba13319096649.png

Oddly PDFs created with macOS version do not show embedded fonts as Type 1 outlines, but as TrueType outlines (in a situation where the font is a TrueType), so showing all fonts as Type 1 outlines might well be a bug in the Windows version of the app. Because there is no similar confusion in the macOS version, my assumption that identical Franklin Gothic fonts might have been used when exporting the PDFs (but QXP just doing some kind of a conversion to Type 1 when it embeds the fonts) is probably wrong.

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10 hours ago, Lagarto said:

The fact that Quark created PDF shows fonts that use TrueType outlines (whether in legacy fonts or OpenTypes) as Type 1 fonts probably means that same fonts have been used in both PDFs. I really do not know what Quark does here and could not find any setting that specifies how fonts should be embedded in PDFs. ...

The setting I was remembering is in the Settings.xml file located in the application folder. The line I was remembering is:

    <FontStyleSettings AllowFauxStyles="false" PreserveTrueTypeFontsInPDFOutput="true">

I am uncertain the effect if that statement in bold above was changed to false. (Though I do know the effect of the first part of that statement when changed to true...)

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15 hours ago, MikeW said:

<FontStyleSettings AllowFauxStyles="false" PreserveTrueTypeFontsInPDFOutput="true">

I added this line in my Settings.xml (under C:\Program Files\Quark\QuarkXPress 2018) and launched Quark but it still exports PDFs with Type 1 fonts even when using TrueTypes (legacy or OpenTypes). On macOS, it embeds TrueType outlines for TrueType fonts, and this setting does not exist in Settings.xml file there. Could it be that there are user settings somewhere else that override general app settings?

EDIT: 

<FontStyleSettings AllowFauxStyles="false" PreserveTrueTypeFontsInPDFOutput="true"> </FontStyleSettings>

does not have effect, either (that is, closing the FonStyleSettings with a closing tag). Obviously the Windows version does Type 1 conversion, as there is a file called TrueTypeToType1.dll in the app folder -- it is just strange that the macOS version does not do this, and that disabling the feature does not appear to been documented. I do not think that TrueType outlines have been any kind of issue for print jobs in ages, and at least not the (non-legacy) OpenType versions. 

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My concern was how the original was rendering in Acrobat Reader. As all my clients will be viewing proofs in Reader only. And probably older versions on steam-powered PCs! Attached are two screen shots for comparison. And if I can ask another question in this topic (or should I start a new one?), is now I have loaded the new OTF version of Franklin Gothic, I am still getting a warning about Book missing in this document. I made a new clean test spread and placed some Franklin Gothic Book text, made the PDF and no warnings – so all good there. Then I went back to my report with all the styles already set up and "edited" body copy character style to be the new Book (despite it saying it was already there), and still on opening and making PDF's I have the warning. It works but it's a worry or at least an irritant! Any ideas how to force the document to "see" what it is seeing, but doesn't know it?

Publisher New OTF .png

Publisher Original.png

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Try to find and replace all occurrences of non-found font using the Font Manager (under the Document menu), or Find and Replace with formatting. There might be references to old fonts also in the styles.

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3 hours ago, David Allen said:

Attached are two screen shots for comparison

I could not see any obvious difference between these two screenshots (Publisher - digital high quality and Publisher -digital high quality 2) -- how do they differ by production / fonts? The one you posted initially had definitely some problems especially at 125% zoom state (slopes of s characters e.g.).

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As far as I am aware, Truetype fonts are defined using quadratic bezier curves, while Type 1 fonts are created using cubic bezier curves. The latter has more control points, and the former less. Converting a Type 1 font to a Truetype is a lossy process, and information is lost, and such a conversion should be avoided.

Anyway, in my experience PDF readers render T1 fonts generally better than TT fonts. OTF fonts can contain either format (as MikeW pointed out), so an OTF is no guarantee for a high quality font. And TT fonts may include hinting, which is again lost in a direct TT-->TT conversion, which leads to issues as well. Many free fonts online are poor conversions from their original source files.

I checked the original document in PDF Exchange viewer, and the result is as expected: the TT version looks pretty bad in comparison to the T1 Quark document.

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41 minutes ago, Medical Officer Bones said:

As far as I am aware, Truetype fonts are defined using quadratic bezier curves, while Type 1 fonts are created using cubic bezier curves. The latter has more control points, and the former less. Converting a Type 1 font to a Truetype is a lossy process, and information is lost, and such a conversion should be avoided.

Anyway, in my experience PDF readers render T1 fonts generally better than TT fonts. OTF fonts can contain either format (as MikeW pointed out), so an OTF is no guarantee for a high quality font. And TT fonts may include hinting, which is again lost in a direct TT-->TT conversion, which leads to issues as well. Many free fonts online are poor conversions from their original source files.

I checked the original document in PDF Exchange viewer, and the result is as expected: the TT version looks pretty bad in comparison to the T1 Quark document.

Thank you, this is useful info.

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5 hours ago, Lagarto said:

Try to find and replace all occurrences of non-found font using the Font Manager (under the Document menu), or Find and Replace with formatting. There might be references to old fonts also in the styles.

So I checked Font Manager once more and it says Book is missing. I clicked on the only button available "Locate" and nothing happens. I'm not allowed to substitute font here, so I'm not sure what this box is for. Even when I tried another font that's in the document Locate, just shows me where the font is in the document, but doesn't allow any more than that. Perhaps I'm missing something here?! Moved on to Find and Replace, ah now this looks promising. But! Whichever I choose here: Format or various character or paragraph styles I'm told at the bottom "no results found". This includes fonts not listed in pre-flight as missing. Thoroughy baffled now.

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