PDFs and fonts can be a tricky combination

Are the italics in your PDFs not staying italic?

The first thing to remember is that when you make a non-italic font italic using the italic style button in the program, you didn’t really use an italic font. The same goes for bolding a font in the program.

When you use the style buttons in an application, what happens is the application electronically alters the font. The problem is, sometimes when you create the PDF or send it to your printer (a company like Printing Partners not your desktop printer), the font reverts back to its original form.

Possible reason why:

If you are using a TrueType font, sometimes using the style controls is the only way to get an italic or bold, a good TrueType font has an italic or bold face that is then swapped out when you print, but not all TrueType fonts have this. So when the PDF is made the program’s instructions to italicize the font may not be used, so the font goes back to normal.

Most high-end printer RIPs (Raster Image Processor) will remove the italic instruction applied by the program, and so the font reverts again.

Bolding is a little different, what the program does is double-strike the font. If you were to magnify the text you would see that there is two of each letter just slightly offset from each other. This makes the fonts appear bold. This instruction is usually not deleted by the PDF or RIP, which is why most of the time the bolding will remain.

This same situation can happen to the other styles you can apply in the program.

Why is my printout right, but my proof from the printer is wrong!

It all comes back to the RIP. Most desktop or inkjet printers don’t have a RIP, so they don’t use all the font information when they print. An inkjet printer uses the screen font (the same thing the computer uses to render the font on screen) to print your page. So it keeps all the style instructions that you used.

It is always best to use a typeface that has all of the characteristics you will need. Don’t rely on a style to work. If you are purchasing TrueType fonts, make sure you buy one with all of the faces included. They may cost a little more, but they can save a lot of frustration.

One last suggestion. If you are creating a PDF make sure that in your settings you are fully embedding the font. In the PDF dialog box, where is mentions “Subset fonts when percent of characters used is less than:”, always put in 0%. This will embed the entire font and will help to minimize any font problems you might be having.

Good luck!

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