Common PDF Printing Issues And How To Solve Them

If you have downloaded a PDF file and want to print or amend it for use in the future – you might be feeling frustrated by issues such as missing fonts, transparency and colour. Here, we explore these three most common problems when printing PDF files and how to solve them.

Files in PDF format are usually built up of numerous layers of colour, images and text. Transparency features are usually added by the creator when two or more layers overlap to create effects such as shadowing, opacity and feathering. However, this transparency often doesn’t translate when printed so these effects may be lost and layers missed on the print out.
To remove the risk of transparency features ruining your print out, flatten the PDF before printing so all the layers become one image and what you see on screen is what you print out.

To flatten a PDF in Windows:
– Open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat
– Click File, select Print and then ‘Adobe PDF’ as the printer and click OK
– When prompted, save under a different file name
– Reopen the new file as print as normal

Missing Fonts
If the creator of the PDF has used a font which you have not installed on your computer, then this may be substituted with another font or just ignored when printed. There are two options to solve this problem: either flatten the PDF using the methods above or find and install the missing font onto your computer.
To complete the latter, you can contact the creator and request information about the font used or try and identify the font using WhatTheFont or Identifont.

To upload a font to Windows:
– Locate the font and download from source if available
– Open the Start menu and select Control Panel and click Appearance and Personalisation, then Fonts
– Click File and select Install New Font
– In the Add Fonts dialogue box, select the drive where you want to install the font
– Under Folders, double-click the folder which contains the font(s) you wish to add, select the font(s) and click Install

If you are printing out a colour PDF document on a mono printer, there is a risk that the black and white printer may struggle to create a print which clearly detects and reflects tones. This could lead to a print out which does not offer clarity, potentially hiding text and blurring images.

To improve the clarity of the prints, it may be necessary to change the printer’s contrast (especially if the PDF you are hoping to print is locked and therefore cannot be edited directly). The process for changing the contrast of a printer changes with model and make but generally an option for Colour/Intensity can be found in the Printer Driver Setup. It may take a little bit of trial and error when adjusting the contrast bar between low and high before finding a setting which prints the desired PDF in the desired clarity.

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