Section 03 | Text Formatting

PDFs may contain several types of data. These include text, raster graphics, vector graphics, and fonts (glyphs). A PDF file does not necessarily contain all the types of data and some PDF files are different from what they seem. For example, a PDF file might look like it has text in it while in fact it is only displaying an image that contains text. Text, displayed in this fashion, behaves differently than regular text when the file is manipulated by the display software.

Text in a PDF is referenced to a specific font and font size. This reference may be to fonts that are enclosed in the file itself or to external fonts that are expected to be available to the rendering software. If the fonts are not available, the output may not render properly. Internal fonts allow the characters to be available. This is discussed further in Section 5 Fonts.

Images (graphics) may be either raster or vector-based. A raster image (also known as bitmapped) is often created by scanning. The resolution of the image (pixel width and height) is determined when the file is created. The rendering software scales the picture based on information in the file. Vector-based images are built with lines and mathematical curves. These types of images can be zoomed in on without losing the quality of the image. When a PDF is created from scanned images, the PDF acts simply as a container for the image without any content text inside the file.

In this section, GlobalVision describes best practices when creating text within PDFs.


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3.1 Ensure all text is visible

RISK
Erroneous text may appear and/ or be detected on final printed materials.

ISSUES

  • Text is hidden instead of deleted.
  • Text is covered with an image or another layer to hide it.
  • Full transparency is applied to a text layer.
  • The text color is the same as the background color.
  • Text is overlaid on top of other text.

EXAMPLE

SOLUTION
Do:
Name all your text layers, so you don’t lose track of them.
Standardize on layer names.
Delete all unused layers before creating a PDF.
Apply a program-filter shadow.

Don’t:
Make your text the same color as the background.
Cover your text with images and graphics.
Create PDF documents with hidden layers.
Place live text layers under the background layer.
Duplicate text to create an effect (i.e. shadows/ bold).

TIPS

The following steps may be applied in Adobe Acrobat Pro to display hidden text:

  • Go to Tools and select Protection.
  • Select Remove Hidden Information.
  • Ensure Hidden Text is checked off.
  • Open the Hidden Text window and check off Show Only Hidden Text.
  • Ensure the hidden text does not contain any vital information.

3.2 Create artwork and PDF files with live text

RISK
Text cannot be edited and is not accessible on computer systems.
ISSUE
Outlined (vectorized) or rasterized text constitutes an image and cannot be edited. This type of text has no encoding and cannot be read or inspected by computer programs.

EXAMPLE

SOLUTION
Do:
PCreate an asset inventory.
Create PDFs with live text so that text checks of artwork files can be performed throughout the packaging design process.

Don’t:
Use the Adobe InDesign Transparency Flattener when exporting a PDF. This process automatically converts text to outline and can affect languages that have special characters or hyphens.

TIPS
The following steps may be applied to verify if text is live in a PDF:

  • Press CTRL+A to select all live text.
  • Press CTRL+C to copy all live text.
  • Open Microsoft Notepad or a new Microsoft Word document.
  • Press CTRL+V to paste all the live text.
  • Verify which text was copied correctly.

3.3 Place only visible graphic content in Adobe InDesign files

RISKS
Erroneous text may appear and/ or be detected on the final approved materials by proofreading software.ISSUE
Duplicate text may be detected.
EXAMPLE

SOLUTION
Do:
Delete all unused content in Adobe Illustrator before placing it in Adobe InDesign (live text).
Verify that there is no hidden text.

Don’t:
Leave any unused text within linked graphics.

TIPS
The following steps may be applied in Adobe Acrobat Pro to display hidden text:

  • Go to Tools and select Protection.
  • Select Remove Hidden Information.
  • Ensure Hidden Text is checked off.
  • Open the Hidden Text window and check off Show Only Hidden Text.
  • Ensure the hidden text does not contain any vital information.


3.4 Use regular and bold fonts for body text and headlines respectively

RISKS
The difference between bold and regular font styles may go undetected.
ISSUE
Using thin or light-style fonts to represent body text with regular styles replacing bold ones in titles and headlines may lead to formatting issues.

EXAMPLE

SOLUTION
Do:
Use bold fonts for headlines and titles and regular ones for body text.
Use a stylesheet to control the styling aspects of the copy in the document.

Don’t:
Replace regular fonts with light ones.

TIPS
The following steps describe how to view information about a given font when using Apple Font Book on a Mac system:

  • Go to View and select Show Font Info.
  • Select the font.
  • View the font style.


3.5 Use fonts with “bold” or “italic” variations

RISKS
Bold and italic may be go undetected by the inspection software if the font effects are created using the stroke setting.
ISSUE
False text formatting may go undetected by the inspection software.
EXAMPLE

SOLUTION
Do:
Use bold and italic fonts with “bold” and “italic” variations.

Don’t:
Apply the stroke setting to create a bold effect.
Apply the skew setting to create an italic effect.

TIPS
The following steps describe how to find out the name of a font in a PDF
using Adobe Acrobat Pro:

  • Go to Tools and select Print Production.
  • Go to Pre-Flight and Select a profile to analyze.
  • SClick Analyze and verify the results or save a report.

3.6 Keep tracking to a minimum

RISKS
Unwanted spaces may be detected by the proofreading software on the final approved material.
ISSUE

  • The proofreading software may detect an invalid space when the tracking is set to a higher value.
  • Extra spaces between letters may be detected when text is extracted.

EXAMPLE

SOLUTION
Do:
Use OpenType Pro fonts.
Adjust the tracking to less than 120% or keep it at its default value.

Don’t:
Adjust the tracking to more than 120% when using an OpenType PostScript flavor.

TIPS
The following steps describe how to view information about a given font when using Apple Font Book on a Mac system:

  • Go to View and select Show Font Info.
  • Select the font.
  • View the font type (i.e. OpenType, TrueType).

 


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