Monday, October 26, 2009

Yet Another PDF/Acrobat Pro Rant

I'm in PDF hell yet again today and had to vent. Now that iText fixed my
searchability problems (CFPDFFORM fail), I'm noticing cases where the font
in particular fields in the generated PDF does not in any way match the
settings that are in the PDF form when you look at the settings in Acrobat.

For example, all the form fields in one of the PDFs I'm working with are
set to font face Times New Roman and "Auto" for the font size. Random
fields here and there show up as Arial instead of Times New Roman and come
out some massive font size, even though other fields with the same amount
(or less) text are a reasonable size and are the correct font face.

Since I only recently figured out how to do mass changes of the font face
on multiple fields (usability fail; and this doesn't work consistently by
any means, but it's faster than doing it one by one), I thought I missed
setting the font face correctly on a field or two. But lo and behold when I
open the PDF form in Acrobat Pro the font is CLEARLY set correctly, yet the
generated PDF still renders the font incorrectly.

All that's bad enough, but the PDF size issue is really starting to kill
me. The particular PDF I'm modifying started out at about 500K in size. I'm
having to experiment with some things to figure out these annoying font
issues, so I changed all the fonts from Times New Roman to Arial, saved the
PDF, and the file size went up to 800K. I then changed the font back from
Arial to Times New Roman (which is what it was originally) and the file
size is now 1MB.

What. The. @$&*.

I'm sure there are stupid subtleties or fancy Acrobat Guru tips and tricks
of which I am woefully unaware but my file size shouldn't grow by 200K
every time I save it, so I'll declare this a "fail" and try to suffer
through. Once I get these god-forsaken things working if I never have to
touch Acrobat the rest of my natural life it'll be too soon.

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