I received a PDF by e-mail which is unreadable on my Mac (Lion 10.7.3) and on my iPhone (iOS 5.1.1) but the same PDF renders perfectly on Windows. If I use Chrome on my Mac, (which has its own built in PDF renderer and doesn't use the OS X one), it renders correctly as well. So far it's the only PDF I've ever encountered with the problem, but others are having similar problems.

I've attached a screenshot of the rendering problem, which is best described as rendering most text as a series of grayscale stepped gradients. Note that the grayscale 'bars' don't correspond directly to the missing lines of text. There's much more text than that.

Anyone have any ideas?

incorrectly rendered PDF

  • Do you have any idea how this pdf was created? May 28, 2012 at 16:15
  • Does it work in Acrobat Reader? Can you provide a link to the PDF?
    – lhf
    May 28, 2012 at 16:21
  • @MartínMarconcini I have no idea how the pdf was created.
    – mluisbrown
    May 28, 2012 at 16:56
  • @lhf I don't have Adobe Reader on my Mac, but I'm pretty sure it would work with Reader, as others with the same issue say that Reader renders the PDFs ok. Here is a link for the PDF: dl.dropbox.com/u/1020204/28%20a%2001%20de%20Junho.pdf
    – mluisbrown
    May 28, 2012 at 17:00

2 Answers 2


The issue would appear to be the font used for the text, a font called "Corbel"; it is a Windows only font created by MS and included in all version of Windows Vista and above.

Normally, PDF's can be created with embedded fonts, in this case the font is not fully embedded, only a subset (e.g. those characters required for the docuemnt)

Further research shows that there are a lot of issues with Macs reading PDF's created with Word 2007

Note, Chrome includes a copy of those fonts as part of it's PDF rendering engine.

  • 1
    Right! ⌘I says that the file was created with Microsoft® Office Word 2007.
    – lhf
    May 28, 2012 at 21:20

These PDFs usually contain non english words and in most cases are created using softwares other than adobe acrobat or print to pdf functionality of OS X.

However these could always be opened by acrobat reader for mac.


  • Since when were PDFs restricted to English only? May well have been created without using Adobe Acrobat, but if Adobe Acrobat can render it correctly, then OS X Preview.app should be able to render it properly as well.
    – mluisbrown
    May 28, 2012 at 17:24
  • @mluisbrown That is just not correct. There are countless examples of pdf's that display properly in one reader and not another. To be sure you can always read every pdf you really must have Adobe Reader. Also it is well known that search and copy/paste is often destroyed in non-Latin pdf's depending on how they are created and what reader is used. Sep 12, 2012 at 10:05

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