Bad character spacing in PDF

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Re: Bad character spacing in PDF

Postby ksoltys on Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:45 pm

Well, I turned off short-line elimination and hyphenation, and checked that I was working with the proper output medium, and it doesn't make any difference. So I guess I'll have to wait and see what sort of response I get from my bug report.

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Re: Bad character spacing in PDF

Postby LTinker68 on Wed Nov 19, 2008 4:26 pm

I just noticed the same thing happen in my "Note" and "Tip" paragraph classes. It doesn't seem to be as much of an issue anywhere else in the output. The difference between those paragraph styles and all other styles is that those two paragraph styles are set to use the "Humanist 777 Lt BT" font, while everything else is set to use the "Humanist 777 BT" font.

Those two classes also had an auto-number format that called to a span class that had bold and italics set on it, so that "Note: " was bold and italic but the actual contents of the note were not. The italic effect came through but the bolding of the font didn't.

I just tested the same effect in Word and generated a PDF from it, and the PDF output displayed the way I wanted it to, so Flare seems to have a problem with lighter styled fonts. At least from this example.

As a workaround to my two problems, I set the letter-spacing property on the p.note and p.tip classes to a value of -.25pt. That brought the letters in the font closer together so that there wasn't such an exaggerated spacing between characters. Then for the auto-number format, I changed the mc-auto-number-class span class to use the "Humanist 777 BT" font. So "Note:" is written in Humanist 777 BT (with bold and italics) but the content of the note is using the "Humanist 777 Lt BT".

Modifying the letter-spacing value may help in the short-term for those who feel the letter spacing is exaggerated in PDF output.
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Re: Bad character spacing in PDF

Postby Nita Beck on Thu Nov 20, 2008 6:20 am

As Kevin sugggested above, I did send a bug report to MadCap re this issue as it presents itself in my situation.

In the process of describing the problem to MadCap, I tried an experiment that might shed some light for others having the problem. I discovered that, if I moved the project to my XP machine and then generated the PDF from there, the output was much, much better. The character spacing was still not perfect, but it was much better than when I ran the project and generated the PDF on Vista. So my workaround will be to generate the PDF that I'll deliver to my client on XP rather than Vista.
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Re: Bad character spacing in PDF

Postby KevinDAmery on Thu Nov 20, 2008 7:17 am

I forget, does Vista change how it handles fonts compared to older Windows versions? Could be (yet another) Vista problem....
Until next time....
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Re: Bad character spacing in PDF

Postby LTinker68 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 9:07 am

From what I understand, yes, it does, but in my case, I'm using XP. Haven't switched to Vista and I don't wanna. And it wasn't my entire PDF output that had spacing problems -- just the light font in my notes and tips.
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Re: Bad character spacing in PDF

Postby ksoltys on Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:15 pm

The cause of the problem has been found. It turns out to happen if you have large fonts installed, i.e., 120 dpi fonts instead of 96 dpi. I have to thank MadCap support for digging into this.

So if you're having this problem, go into the Desktop Properties - Settings tab, click Advanced, go into the General tab and change the screen font size to Normal from Large. You'll have to reboot for it to take effect. PDF generation works just fine at that setting.

They'll be issuing a fix for it in an upcoming patch.

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Re: Bad character spacing in PDF

Postby Nita Beck on Sun Dec 21, 2008 8:55 am

I certainly appeciate the hard work of the tech folks...

As it turns out, I have had my Vista machine's fonts set to normal not to large all along, so I don't see how this is the culprit. Furthermore, if by an upcoming patch you mean the one issued around 12/18, I am still seeing the problem after having installed that patch, although the character spacing is somewhat better on Vista. It's still not right, but it's better. (I had reported earlier that the spacing was not quite so bad if I generated the PDF on my XP machine, rather than on my Vista machine. Now I'd say that the bad spacing is equally not quite right on both machines.)

I still hold out hope that the character spacing will be completely fixed someday.
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Re: Bad character spacing in PDF

Postby LTinker68 on Sun Dec 21, 2008 5:28 pm

I can't remember... Are you using an Open Type font or a True Type font? Because Flare has a problem with Open Type fonts. I'm no longer seeing the spacing issue with the light font in v4.1.40 PDF output. I also always had the DPI set to 96 and was using True Type fonts, so something changed.
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Re: Bad character spacing in PDF

Postby KHHS on Mon Dec 22, 2008 1:50 am

In my case, changing the font-size to 96dpi helped a lot. I just tried it and it looks good, after i took out the negative spacing setting, which i had tried as a workaround. Last time i tried to produce PDFs, I ended up going back to Indesign, that means: no single sourcing. But now i will give it another try.

But with the 96dpi-setting the display fonts are really tiny on my notebook (1680x1050 - glad i have new glasses!) so i would really appreciate a solution for 120dpi!
This is about letter-spacing. I think the word-spacing already improved with the latest update (4.1.40).
Thanks!
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Re: Bad character spacing in PDF

Postby Nita Beck on Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:22 am

Lisa, I'm aware of the issue with Open Type fonts so my workaround for the bad character (bad letter) spacing has been to go with the least common demoninators, Times New Roman and Arial. Since I installed the latest update, the bad spacing is somewhat better, although it still not right. Particularly "ugly" are any words with double L's, such as "will" and "drill," which, when set in Times New Roman, have too much space between the L's. Other letter combinations, such as "fi" and "th" are too close when set in Arial, but look fine in Times New Roman. At least the spacing has improved to the point where I'm not embarrassed to deliver the PDF to my client.

Overall, I'm grateful for the incremental improvement and remain hopeful that the problem will eventually be completely resolved.
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Re: Bad character spacing in PDF

Postby dmarshall on Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:40 am

I'm using Flare 2017 now on Windows 7 Professional, have a project that is in a Git repository and shared with 3 other writers. All of us are using the same version of Flare, and the same git repository. I am the only one with this exact same problem!

I've uninstalled everything Madcap-related, re-installed Flare, removed all my Git repositories related to the problematic one, re-cloned them.... the problem persists but just for me!

I'm going nuts! The current "workaround" is to get a co-worker to build PDFs for me. This is *not* an acceptable workaround.

Did anyone who submitted a support ticket ever get a solution?
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Re: Bad character spacing in PDF

Postby cdschroeder on Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:03 am

dmarshall wrote:I'm using Flare 2017 now on Windows 7 Professional, have a project that is in a Git repository and shared with 3 other writers. All of us are using the same version of Flare, and the same git repository. I am the only one with this exact same problem!

I've uninstalled everything Madcap-related, re-installed Flare, removed all my Git repositories related to the problematic one, re-cloned them.... the problem persists but just for me!

I'm going nuts! The current "workaround" is to get a co-worker to build PDFs for me. This is *not* an acceptable workaround.

Did anyone who submitted a support ticket ever get a solution?

Do you have a high resolution monitor with DPI scaling on? Changing my desktop zoom to 100% or disabling DPI scaling for MadCap Flare fixed this issue for me.

If you call support, they will tell you that it's an issue with Adobe, not them, so there is no foreseeable permanent fix.
Casey Schroeder

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Re: Bad character spacing in PDF

Postby kemulholland on Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:08 pm

I am seeing the "bad spacing in PDFs" issue too, since I upgraded to Flare 2017.

The tl;dr: Tech support provided a work-around!
"This behavior is actually due to a bug in Flare where the DPI settings on the machine will cause inconsistent spacing between characters, rather than an error during the build... A fix for this would be to switch the DPI (dots per inch) setting on your machine to 100%. Please go to your Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Display > Change display settings > change the DPI to 100%. Then please log out of your machine, then log back in (these changes may not apply until you have logged out of your machine)."

I've tested this and it works.

On my Windows 8 box (don't judge, it's what they gave me), it's Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Display. The heading is "Change the size of all items." The slider needs to be all the way to the left. Apply, reboot, build the PDF. Then put everything back to a sane size and reboot again.

Bug report 107497.
In my environment, I can replicate the problem 100% of the time as follows:
* In body text, using a paragraph or character style that has a monospaced font causes spacing issues in headers/footers (page layout).
* In a table cell, using a paragraph or character style that has a monospaced font causes spacing issues throughout the document.
I built a clean test project using factory defaults, and can replicate the problem 100% of the time by changing the text in one table cell from the paragraph style p to the paragraph style pre.

Might be related to an interesting thing that turns up in the PDF''s Properties box - when I look at a PDF built using Flare 2017, the Advanced section under the Description tab shows "PDF producer: madbuild, PDF Version 1.4 (Acrobat 5.x)"
Older PDFs that I built before upgrading to Flare 2017 show "PDF producer: madbuild, PDF Version 1.6 (Acrobat 7.x)"
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Re: Bad character spacing in PDF

Postby dmarshall on Thu Jun 08, 2017 5:53 am

Turns out, what fixed it for me was wiping my PC and reinstalling *everything* from scratch, including Flare. No more issues with this, now! (though I've got other issues instead... :lol: )
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Re: Bad character spacing in PDF

Postby marvin mallari on Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:28 am

Hi Folks,

I noticed this post and wanted to let everyone know that this specific behavior has been resolved since Flare V8 and reverified that it is still fixed in Flare 2017 r3. If you are experiencing similar issues please do not hesitate to contact Support and provide your projects.

Support Inquiry
https://www.madcapsoftware.com/support/contact-options.aspx

Bug Submission
https://www.madcapsoftware.com/feedback/bugs/
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Re: Bad character spacing in PDF

Postby cdschroeder on Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:08 pm

marvin mallari wrote:Hi Folks,

I noticed this post and wanted to let everyone know that this specific behavior has been resolved since Flare V8 and reverified that it is still fixed in Flare 2017 r3. If you are experiencing similar issues please do not hesitate to contact Support and provide your projects.

Support Inquiry
https://www.madcapsoftware.com/support/contact-options.aspx

Bug Submission
https://www.madcapsoftware.com/feedback/bugs/

Marvin, I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say thanks for the update! If the issue is finally fixed, that will make my life a whole lot easier! But just so you are aware - many of us reported this issue on versions more recent than v8. I know that I reported it when using v11 (I have an open case for this), and also saw it in v12 and 2017 r1. I'm not sure about r2 and r3 because I eventually gave in and left my display at 100% permanently.

Maybe Adobe issued a patch recently that fixed it across all versions? At the time, the support team told me that it was a well-known Adobe-side issue, and there was nothing the Flare devs could do. Either way, I'm glad to hear it's no longer a problem. I'll have to try it out soon.
Casey Schroeder

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