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Printing PDF files, text comes out as garbage

By jdclyde ·
I have been having a problem with users not being able to print some PDF files, some of the time.

Systems are running WinXPsp2.
Acrobat reader 7.0.0 thru 7.0.2, depending on the user.

Most pdf's come from external sources via email, so I have no control that most people are complete morons to use Distiller instead of PDF Writer it seems.

Steps I have done to try to resolve this issue.

Clear temp folders
Update Windows
update Acrobat reader
update print drivers (no, they are not all the same type of printer)
run AV
Run AdAware
add memory. Computers having this problem range from 256M to 1G of ram.

For one user, if she clicks on "print", and then selects "properties", and then goes back and hits "ok" it will print. If she just goes straight to print, it usually has all the text scrambled.

Other users are a hit and miss on if it will print correctly from the same source. Sometimes they print it two or three times and THEN it will print.

Anyone know of the fix?
Anyone know of an alternative to Adobe reader?

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I think so.

by TonytheTiger In reply to Printing PDF files, text ...

We had the same problem a couple years ago and were pulling our hair out until we narrowed it down to only those users trying to print to post script printers. Fortunately our lexmarks had PCL as well as PS3 capability so I set up another share to the same port (on the print server) using the PCL driver and all was fine.

[added: The symptom we were having was: The document would appear to print (disappears from the spool) and the printer even made the startup noise, but nothing would come out.]

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post script printers

by jdclyde In reply to I think so.

Most of the systems are various HP printers. A lot of them are running off a USB cable, all are local to the PC's that are trying to print.

I went into the printer properties, but didn't see anything about post script?


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PCL4,5,6 may also matter

by shardeth-15902278 In reply to I think so.

It is sort of a hazy memory at this point, but we had some similar problems with HP printers and Acrobate reader. We were able to resovle by changing to a different Pritner Driver. I am afraid I don't remember now whether the switch was PCL5 to PCL6 or the other way 'round, we had another app at the sametime with the same kinds of behevior that required the other version of PCL (which made things fairly interesting), and I don't remember which was which. It woudl be worth trying whichver version you aren't currently using though.

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Printing PDF files, text comes out as garbage

by aaron.richardson In reply to Printing PDF files, text ...

This seems to be an IE7 issue and Acrobat Reader 7.0.8, we are on XP with IE7 and it does the same thing. This happens on all of our printers regardless of the print driver. We found that it would work fine with Adobe 7.0 and would print fine but would cause an error in IE7 and cause it to close with 7.0.5. The only option for us was either to not upgrade, but with our users that wouldn't work so, we have finally just turned the view in Explorer option off in Adobe. Now when they view .pdf files Adobe will open up and the can print to their hearts content.

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Not exclusive to IE7

by jdclyde In reply to Printing PDF files, text ...

As we have not migrated to IE7 yet.

We also only had the problem when it was a pdf from an outside source, and I am betting some clueless person used Distiller instead of pdf writer, which makes a file ten times as big, with much more data included.

If our users click on the "ADVANCE" tab when they go to print, and then print, it will print just fine. how is that for insane workarounds?

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May be spooler problem

by patup In reply to Printing PDF files, text ...

I have the same problem when printing pdf documents larger that 5 pages. If I turn off the spooler it works fine.

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Here is the fix....

by derek In reply to Printing PDF files, text ...

download the file locally rather than printing it through multiple websites. Every time I download the file and print it locally versus printing it directly from a web based email or https:// site, it always works.... it is a frustration, however, removing the variables of websites, printer drivers, etc, to local network, is always easier to troubleshoot then having to deal with the variables of other coders, websites, security, and software variables.

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Dude, the problem is 3.5 years old.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Here is the fix....

Is it 'International Day of the Zombie Post' again already?

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Appears to be. and I didn't even notice the date - who does - nt

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Dude, the problem is 3.5 ...
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We just had it happen this week.

by Robert.Montgomery In reply to Appears to be. and I didn ...

It still rears it's ugly head. Adobe Reader 7, 8 & 9 and Windows NT, XP & Vista. I haven't seen a report from a user running Win7 and having the problem yet. That doesn't mean it isn't happening though. We're primarily XP currently. It appears to be an issue with Adobe reader as opposed to the OS, printer, application, etc.

I came across these posts while researching the problem tonight as this is the first time we have seen it.

We are not printing from the web but reports generated with an application that happens to generate it's reports as PDF files. If one is printed and another opened while the first is printing it will (sometimes) cause the file that is currently printing to print gibberish. There are work arounds on the web if you google it. Print as an image is supposed to work. I'll find out Thursday.

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