Common PDF issues and how to solve them

Common PDF issues and how to solve them

Due to the fact that there are so many applications and services used to read and edit PDF files, it could lead to several type of errors and compatibility issues.

Let’s have a look at some of them and how you can easily solve them:

Incorrect PDF Dimensions

It might happen that when you use Print to PDF from another application for instance MS Word, the vertical spacing increases, arising in the page being unable to print in A4 format. This might be due to the fact that your printer is outdated and could be resolved by simply updating your driver for your printer. If the problem persist, try converting the file from a different application. This problem could also occur due to the settings of the paper size when printing. Ensure that you have set your sizes correctly before pressing the print button.

Missing Bleed in PDF files

By bleed we mean extending the PDF objects or images beyond the printable area so that you don’t have a white border around the image or content when you print the PDF document. You can easily amend this by manually adding extra bleed to your design objects, extending them beyond the trim line. Your other option is to while exporting your documents from your design tool to PDF to ensure that bleed is added. If you are working on a Microsoft Word or Excel document you can set the margins before converting the file to PDF. Microsoft gives you the option to choose custom margins which will resolve this issue.

Color Problems

In many cases the colours displayed on your PDF is not the same as the original file. This happens when some documents are not colour managed and the application uses a default color management policy to decide how to render colours, which then results in a difference in colors. Some PDF converters have functionalities and features that ensure that the colour renders correctly so make sure you always have the latest version downloaded. This problem could also occur as most images are in RGB but when we print it prints to CMYK. A lot of applications allows you to set your default image from RGB to CMYK which will eliminate this issue.

Missing or wrong fonts

When converting your file to PDF, it is possible that your original font changes to a substitution font. This could be due to various reasons which includes:

  • Font substitution
  • Unable to embed fonts
  • Wrong font mapping due to naming differences
  • Unknown font

To be able to solve this you could convert formatted text into Bezier curves so that they become graphical elements instead of text elements. On some applications it is possible to embed the font to the font family but it is dependent on which application you are using.

Overprint issues

In PDF overprint essentially means that colored objects overlap each other resulting in some elements becoming different colors or disappearing altogether. You can overcome this by checking your output preview in the print section of your PDF editor and choosing the option to simulate overprinting. This will highlight the problematic areas which you can fix by adjusting the objects and layer properties.

High Ink Coverage issue

This issue is typically related to the type of print paper you use or your color profile settings. The problem occurs due to excess ink so you need to ensure that you are using the right paper to print on.

PDF is a very versatile format which also makes it very complex due to the fact that it can bridge between multiple applications. Therefore it is important to ensure that your settings are set correctly to avoid issues that could ultimately interfere with the print quality of the document.

It is important to ensure that the version of PDF converter you are using is the latest version as most of them have fixes for the known errors which can avoid a lot of frustration.

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