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Text display in Instructable PDFs Answered

Why is the kerning (inter-character) spacing of the text in Instructables' PDFs so goofy? Not any of the heads, but all the text. I'm using Mac OS X 10.5 and the text font used is identified as Helvetica Condensed Bold Italic. Heads are Helvetica Bold (not Condensed) and they do display correctly. I do not have any problem on my system with Helvetica Condensed Bold Italic used in any other document and no problem with numerous PDFs from other sources. And, why not a simple Arial or Helvetica Regular or Plain for the text anyhow?



10 years ago

I don't see what you're describing. I'm also running Leopard, and I've viewed the same I'ble (one of my own) in both Acrobat 9 and in Preview. In both cases the kerning is correct (visually reasonable) and the same in both. I also checked the fonts in Acrobat 9; it says Helvetica, Helvetica-Bold, and Helvetica-Oblique. Is there anything unusual with the fonts installation on your machine? Could you provide a link to the I'ble where you saw this problem?


Reply 10 years ago

Thanks for the information. Checking a little further, I had the Helvetica Condensed (Postscript) family of fonts installed. The PDFs must depend on local fonts (not embedded) and that seems to be the source of the problem. This font confusion problem is across the board with Instructable PDFs, not particular ones. Also, I do not experience similar problems with PDFs from other sources that use Helvetica (regular) when I've had that Helvetica Condensed (Postscript) family of fonts installed. However, many of these may have embedded fonts. When I deactivate that Helvetica Condensed family, the text in a PDF now displays as intended in Helvetica (regular). Activate the family and the text displays in Helvetica Condensed Bold. Oblique or Italic versions of the text are not affected and do remain as Helvetica. Another interesting characteristic when the Helvetica Condensed family is activated, is that text displays as Helvetica Condensed Bold if opened in Preview or Safari, but the same PDF opened in Adobe Reader or Acrobat displays the text as Helvetica. I've deactivated the Helvetica Condensed family and Instructable PDFs are fine.