When printing a colour document using Preview, some of the text is blurry. There are no problems printing the same document from Adobe Acrobat. Below is a scan of the Preview printout. There is no such blurriness to the Adobe Acrobat printout.

This problem has been niggling me for a good few years, with many different documents. It's certainly not isolated to one singular printer, or version of Preview or OS X.

Why does this happen, and how can I fix it?


  • the colour spaces in the original PDF are sRGB and gray.
  • as per the comments, I have used Acrobat to convert the page to a 1200 DPI, CMYK-format TIFF file. Printing this with Preview, all of the text is blurry (because the printer is using more than just black ink), but printing from Adobe Illustrator is perfectly sharp.
  • I expect that the problem is to do with colour-space conversions. But why Preview is printing some parts of the text as "true black" is beyond me. The fact that these regions are bounded by coloured parts of the document seems to stink of incompetent programming.

enter image description here

  • Does it happen on multiple printers? Have you tried to make a image (screenshot f.ex.) of the pdf and print that maybe? Sep 14, 2015 at 8:38
  • @MarekBettman Yep, a Ricoh MP C3502 and a C3501 (I no longer have access to the former). Though they probably run on pretty much the same drivers. But the problem occurs with Preview but not with Adobe Reader, so Occam's Razor says that my computer is at fault.
    – Moriarty
    Sep 14, 2015 at 8:41
  • @MarekBettman I converted the page to a 1200 DPI, CMYK-format TIFF file. Checking the colours with the Digital Color Meter app, the on-screen RGB colours show that the black font is (0,0,0,100) in CMYK. Printing this with Preview, all of the text is very blurry, but printing from Adobe Illustrator is perfectly sharp. My guess is that Preview is converting to RGB before printing (how can I turn this off?), but the "boundary box" effect you see remains unexplained as well.
    – Moriarty
    Sep 14, 2015 at 12:20
  • Here is the test document I used.
    – Moriarty
    Sep 16, 2015 at 11:42

1 Answer 1


I printed and then scanned the test document using my Canon MX850 (an ink jet printer with scanner, about 6 years old).

It's not perfect, but I don't see the issues (blurry text between the yellow boxes, purple stripes) that I see in your Ricoh version.

So I'd guess that the problem is the Ricoh drivers.

OS X 10.9.5
Printed using Preview 7.0 (826.4)
Printer is Canon MX850
Printed using default settings (Print Quality: Standard)
Scanned at 300dpi.

Test document via Canon MX850 print and scan

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