Computer Annoyance of the Day: PDF995

Normally, I create documents in OpenOffice, format as necessary, and then export as a PDF file. It’s easy, it’s simple, and except for a few little annoyances – like a handful of fonts that don’t show up correctly in PDFs – it works pretty well.

Sometimes, especially for work, I have to modify – usually resize – already-existing PDF documents whose source files aren’t available. This shouldn’t be a big deal: usually it’s making documents fit nicely onto letter-sized paper. (A4, not a real problem. Legal-sized, rather more of a problem.) To do this, I open the PDF file in Adobe Reader, then “print” to a file using the PDF995 printer driver; by setting the “paper source” and other options, I can get everything resized really easily onto the preferred-size paper. There’s just one problem, though:

Most of the time, I’m resizing images – maps, charts, blueprints, photos, or whatever, and for this the PDF995 driver works beautifully. However, when resizing text documents, things go horribly, horribly wrong: the PDF995 driver apparently enforces a strict separation between lines of type, meaning that, in a lot of typefaces, ascenders and descenders get cropped, badly. (This means the “tail” of lowercase y, g, and q letters disappear – making them appear to be v or o – and lowercase j in some typefaces becomes an i.) This is, as you can imagine, incredibly annoying.

Does anyone know another, free, way of resizing PDF file page sizes, which doesn’t screw up typefaces (or, at least, as badly)?

Published in: Geekiness, General | on September 9th, 2008| Comments Off on Computer Annoyance of the Day: PDF995

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