Previous 1 2 3 Next 38 Replies Latest reply: Mar 23, 2010 4:42 PM by Tom Gewecke
skidogallard Level 1 (0 points)
When I copy and then paste text from a PDF in Preview into Pages, the resulting text is gibberish symbols. The odd thing is it only happens with some text in the PDF and other PDFs do the same thing.

I have a screen recording to demonstrate my problem. http://blip.tv/file/2823667 View it in full screen to see the text.

MacBook 2.2Ghz Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.6.1), iWork '09
  • K T Level 7 (23,705 points)
    The general approach at this time is to ask if you've checked for any problematic fonts (all languages) with Apple's Font Book (look in the Applications folder). Find and remove all duplicates also.

    Start there to be sure all fonts that are in play come out with a clean bill of health.

    Don't hesisate to perform wholesale deletion of old and/or little used fonts - be skeptical of anything that has come from Office 2008, including those related to an Equation Editor installation.
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 (77,125 points)
    When I copy and then paste text from a PDF in Preview into Pages, the resulting text is gibberish symbols.


    Do you have the same problem when pasting into TextEdit? Or when doing the copy/paste from Adobe Reader?

    In general, the PDF format is not reliable for copy/paste operations, as some methods used to encode text in it make this operation impossible.
  • skidogallard Level 1 (0 points)
    I'm running a fairly fresh install of Snow Leopard, so I don't have any extra fonts installed. I validated all of my fonts and they all passed. I also don't have MS Office installed.
  • skidogallard Level 1 (0 points)
    It did the same thing pasting into TextEdit. I just installed Adobe Reader and gave it a try. Its still doing the same thing. The odd thing is, I believe I've copied and pasted what's messing up before. Would it be possible for a PDF to become corrupted like that?
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 (77,125 points)
    The odd thing is, I believe I've copied and pasted what's messing up before. Would it be possible for a PDF to become corrupted like that?


    I don't think so, but PDF behavior is hard to predict (other than just viewing and printing).
  • etresoft Level 7 (27,786 points)
    Can you provide a link to a publicly available PDF that produces this problem?

    Apple did make changes to PDF copying and pasting in an attempt to extract higher quality text. Sometimes you would get spaces between each letter.

    If I had such a PDF I could compare the differences in 10.5.8 and 10.6 and provide a bug report (with offending PDF document) to Apple.
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 (77,125 points)
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/86630/internet%20use%20decreases%20social%20interaction. pdf


    It looks to me like that part of the text has been transcoded into the Unicode Private Use Area for some reason. I've seen in this various other pdf's, and I think it is a bug in the app which produced the pdf. PUA code points are undefined, so the OS displays the Last Resort Font symbol for that range.
  • etresoft Level 7 (27,786 points)
    I can't copy that text in 10.5.8, 10.6.1 or XP with Acrobat. Perhaps it was done on purpose
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 (77,125 points)
    Perhaps it was done on purpose


    The doc data says there are no restrictions regarding copy, print, change, or save. Adobe Reader properties indicates some non-standard fonts are used -- presumably that is what happened in the parts that can't be copied.
  • etresoft Level 7 (27,786 points)
    Tom Gewecke wrote:
    Perhaps it was done on purpose


    The doc data says there are no restrictions regarding copy, print, change, or save. Adobe Reader properties indicates some non-standard fonts are used -- presumably that is what happened in the parts that can't be copied.


    I was thinking about if maybe they didn't want just that portion to be copied.
  • skidogallard Level 1 (0 points)
    That's odd that they wouldn't want the source citation copied.
  • etresoft Level 7 (27,786 points)
    I'm just guessing. However or why they did it, it is an interesting way to prevent copying a selected portion of a PDF document. Even if you had some Russian hacking tool to crack the password, you still couldn't copy it. I even tried re-printing it to PDF - no luck.
  • skidogallard Level 1 (0 points)
    I don't know if this changes anything, but I did print that from the web to PDF while at school on a Windows box. I can't remember what the PDF printer was though.
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