I am making an interactive pdf in Indesign CS6, using Quicksand (from Google fonts) as main font. In InDesign, at 100% view, everything looks fine and the text is easy to read. (left text in the image below)

However, when I export to pdf and view it in Preview, the text in the pdf looks much lighter and is therefor not so easy to read anymore. (text to the right) In Acrobat and Safari the pdf looks fine.

Difference in fonts after exporting

Can someone please help me out with this? The pdf is for digital use, so I would prefer to make it look the right way in Preview as well. Is there something that can be done, or should I just take the loss?

Thank you!!

p.s. Here are some try-outs with different types and colours

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • Hello LUZ, welcome to GD.SE and thanks for your question. Please be advised that pdf viewers (all of them!) are positively awful at displaying pdfs correctly, especially if those files are actually optimised for print instead of the screen. The result will also vary wildly from viewer to viewer. If you have any questions about GD.SE, have a look at the help center or feel free to ping one of us in Graphic Design Chat once your reputation reaches 20. Keep contributing and enjoy the site! (En, te zien aan je tekst: welkom! :) )
    – Vincent
    Jul 16, 2015 at 10:29
  • Do you have the same effect when the text is 100% black?
    – Max Wyss
    Jul 16, 2015 at 11:26
  • @Vincent Haha, dankjewel! I do want to use the pdf for online viewing only, do you know some tutorials or key words I can google so I can learn to make it look as good as possible in different pdf viewers? I tried to look something up at Lynda.com but realized I don't know what kind of course to look for.
    – LUZ
    Jul 17, 2015 at 12:02
  • @MaxWyss Yes I do, I added a picture of this experiment in my question.
    – LUZ
    Jul 17, 2015 at 12:04
  • 1
    You'll need to ask Apple why Preview fails to render PDFs properly. It's really an issue with that app and you could spend hours trying to reformat so things look correct in Preview.. then they may appear incorrect in other PDF viewers.
    – Scott
    Jul 17, 2015 at 17:18

1 Answer 1


Preview.app uses Apple’s font rendering system. This can be slightly adjusted in Preferences.app, but it is simply going to render differently than in an Adobe product.

If the on-screen appearance of your type is really important, you should probably get a font which is optimized for use on screens.

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