The link I provided is to the PDF with problems. There are blackened areas. I think they are being caused by two river layers. The boxes around these two grouped rivers match the black boxes in the PDF. The layers are originally EMFs exported from ArcMap.

I'd like to figure out how to get rid of the black boxes with out losing the rivers.

If you need more explaining please let me know!

  • To add to my question, the rivers I was referring to are filtered with a drop shadow. I was reading this sometimes causes problems when saving to PDF. The thing is, there is a drop shadow on the river in the inset map. But, that looks fine on the PDF?
    – Pfalbaum
    Jun 9 '17 at 19:58
  • Now I appear to have solved the issue. When saving to a PDF click the 'Rasterize filter effects' box and lower the dpi until the PDF looks satisfactory. I put it down to 450 dpi and the blackened areas disappeared. I should note I'm using the 32 bit Windows version 0.92.1.
    – Pfalbaum
    Jun 9 '17 at 20:52

I tried to open your PDF in Adobe Acrobat and in PDF-XChange Editor. In both there were a 2 black boxes which could be deleted. Unfortunately it's impossible to see how much stuff was already replaced by those boxes and got lost when those boxes were deleted.

At least text Des Plaine River has no blue line nearby. See the screenshot after deletion:

enter image description here

My suggestions:

  1. remove the problematic effect in the source, if possible
  2. Check yourself, if editing the PDF do not remove any valuable data. You can try free demos of some other PDF editors if you cannot get Acrobat. Check for that PDF-XChange Editor and Foxit Fantom.

A modern version of Adobe Illustrator also can open the PDF. I believe that my antique Illustrator were knocked down by the drop shadows or other effects.


When creating a pdf... I have found it is a best method/ most reliable, in order to create/ merge your image to a clean pdf print, is to remove any multiple layers and merge the images as a single layer. BOL- Best of Luck


Yes, I did this. The Rivers were both made up of multiple sections. I ungrouped everything to the point where it couldn't be ungrouped anymore. Then I grouped the rivers separately in their entirety. I added a drop shadow to each of the rivers. This, I found out, was causing the black boxes in the PDF. When saving to PDF click the "rasterize filter effects" and gradually lower the DPI until the boxes go away.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.