Preserving document layout

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Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:58 pm

Postby aardvark » Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:13 am

I sometimes transcribe ancient documents into Word (.docx) files, and as far as possible try to preserve the layout of the originals - eg line and page breaks in the same place. Also for handwritten documents I sometimes use a mixture of fonts to represent different people's handwriting.

When using doPDF to convert the files to pdfs, I find that if I embed the fonts the file size becomes vastly bigger than the original .docx file, so I tend not to embed fonts.

What I would like to know is, if the fonts I used are not available when the pdf file is opened and the pdf reader chooses a substitute, will the layout of my document nevertheless remain exactly the same, or is it liable to change when different fonts are used? While it is not the end of the world for the fonts to be changed, it can matter a lot if the page layout changes.

Please can anyone help with this?

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Postby Softland » Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:01 pm


The layout will not change if a different font is used when creating the PDF but if the PDF fonts are fairly different in size or length than the original font, they will not be shown correctly in the document after conversion. So it is recommended to use embed fonts every time you have a different font in the original file to preserve the way it looks in the PDF document after conversion, even if the size will be bigger.

Thank you.

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Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:58 pm

Postby aardvark » Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:02 pm

I'm a bit confused by what you say, but if I've understood correctly, if I've created a pdf file without embedding fonts and then open it on a computer which doesn't have one of the fonts available and my pdf reader substitutes a very different font, then the layout of the document may change.

I have tried a bit of experimenting, and it is something that seems to vary with different pdf readers. I've only tried one or two documents, but Adobe seems to manage the font substitution reasonably well by adjusting the size of the font it uses to be as close as possible to the original one, thus maintaining the document layout pretty well. However, another pdf reader I tried made a very poor attempt - not just messing up the layout, but not even presenting anything readable.

Different documents and fonts may of course produce different results.

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