I have been working on this technical issue for a while and can't seem to get around it. :^( I am stroking text in Indesign, and exporting the file to a pdf. The pdf seems to convert the stroke to a vector that does not match the original stroke. Specifically, the inside of small, circular letters are messed up; e.g., the letters like "a," "o," and "b."

Below are two images. The first is when I exported the file to a PNG format, and the second is a screenshot of a PDF export. Is there any method to export to pdf without distortion that doesn't itself distort the text (like double layering or converting to outline)? If not, what is the best way to fix this?

I've uploaded the file here: Download. The issue also occurs with Calibri Bold, if you need a common font to test. The issue is present in: Mac OS Preview, Foxit PDF Viewer, and Chrome. There is no issue with Adobe Acrobat, but cross-platform support would be appreciated.

Thank you so much for your help! :^)


What the export is supposed to look like: What the export is supposed to look like

A distorted pdf. Please notice especially the "o"s in the title: A distorted pdf. Please notice especially the "o"s in the title.

  • What happens if you change the font? Just curious if the font might be the cause.
    – MG_
    Feb 9, 2018 at 18:12
  • Thanks for responding! The font may well a contributing factor, I am using an open source font. However, I testing the issue with Calibri Bold, and that had the problem too.
    – Johnlpmark
    Feb 10, 2018 at 18:41
  • Would you happen to be using Mac OS Preview to view the PDF? I tested a PDF I generated from your INDD, and Preview shows the problem, but Acrobat does not. I also rasterised the PDF in Photoshop and there was no problem.
    – MG_
    Feb 11, 2018 at 4:26
  • Hmm, good call; I don't see a problem with Acrobat either. I use Windows, but my default is Foxit PDF Viewer. The problem is also present in Chome, which has native PDF support. Would it seem that Acrobat is the only program that supports this feature? Is there any way to get cross-program support?
    – Johnlpmark
    Feb 11, 2018 at 4:58

1 Answer 1


The issue is present in: Mac OS Preview, Foxit PDF Viewer, and Chrome. There is no issue with Adobe Acrobat, but cross-platform support would be appreciated.

If the issue is only present in the less-than-ideal PDF viewers, then it's an issue with the PDF viewer, not the PDF. If Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader render the PDF correctly, the PDF is fine. Many lower-end PDF viewers, such as Apple's Preview, browser plugins etc, are not designed to render everything 100% accurately.

You can try and circumvent the issue by expanding and flattening artwork before generating the PDF. Or rethink the design and the necessity of such a stroke (it is really unnecessary in my opinion, there's enough contrast between the blue and white without it).

  • Thank you for the response. Although less than ideal, most PDFs viewed today and this one in particular, are viewed through browsers with native PDF support. Also, Foxit Reader is a leading company for PDFs. Although Adobe may not view this as an issue, the situation is a problem. As for the design, perhaps you are right that it is too much. However, this post will exists to help someone else with better design skills. So regardless of the design, I think it would be great to resolve the underlying technical issue.
    – Johnlpmark
    Feb 11, 2018 at 5:21
  • 1
    In order to "resolve the underlying technical issue" you need to contact all the low-end PDF viewer manufacturers and tell them to adhere to Adobe standards for development. There's no way to correct anything on Adobe's part. It's up to the other viewer manufacturers to render PDFs correctly.
    – Scott
    Feb 11, 2018 at 5:52
  • 1
    @Johnlpmark this is the inherent feature of vector renderers. You gain no 100% control over the process. If the vendor of the rendering engine cuts the corner and it shows defects then theres not much you can do except not use the feature. Nevertheless foxit is in the wrong here! Much like rendering artifacts of web browsers. Though PDF reader vendors dont do nearly as much work to be 100% compatible. You may try to expand the stroke. So if you want to be sure theres no errors you need to test on all possible PDF readers and adjust separately for each and every one. Good luck with that.
    – joojaa
    Feb 11, 2018 at 9:39

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