5 Replies Latest reply: Jan 11, 2013 11:26 AM by Larry Kyrala
luclast Level 1 (0 points)

My new lion imac renders some fonts in pdf files as squares. I trensferred applications and setting from my old snow leopard macbook which was working ok. Problem appears in preview, skim, filemaker but not in adobe reader. Seems like the lion pdf renderer is not working correctly?

iMac, Mac OS X (10.7.2)
  • cathy fasano Level 2 (340 points)

    Odd -- this sounds like a bug that was in 10.6.7, but I would have expected to here much wailing and gnashing of teeth if it had reappeared in Lion.


    Do you have a list of fonts that do this?

  • luclast Level 1 (0 points)

    It seems that the problem is with good old Helvetica. Acrobat Professional identifies the "boxed" fonts as:



    Type: Type 1

    Encoding: Ansi

    Actual Font: Helvetica

    Actual Font Type: TrueType



    According to FontBook, this Helvetica is installed on my system:


        PostScript name    Helvetica

        Full name    Helvetica

        Family    Helvetica

        Style    Regular

        Kind    TrueType

        Language    Afrikaans, Albanian, Azerbaijani, Basque, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Cornish, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Faroese, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hawaiian, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Kalaallisut, Kazakh, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Manx, Norwegian Bokmål, Norwegian Nynorsk, Oromo, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Swiss German, Turkish, Ukrainian, Uzbek, Vietnamese, Welsh, Zulu

        Version    7.0d20e1

        Location    /System/Library/Fonts/Helvetica.dfont

        Unique name    Helvetica; 7.0d20e1; 2011-04-05

        Copyright    © 1990-2006 Apple Computer Inc. © 1981 Linotype AG © 1990-91 Type Solutions Inc.

        Trademark    Helvetica is a registered trademark of Linotype AG

        Enabled    Yes

        Duplicate    No

        Copy protected    No

        Embeddable    Yes

        Glyph count    2.194



    I guess there is a Helvetica mix-up. The PDF seems to contain a Type 1 version, which is substituted with the standard Apple system Helvetica dfont version, but they don't match.


    This is indeed a long-standing problem, not really Lion specific. But I would have thought that by now it would have been solved. Why all those conflicting font formats and encodings anyway? What a mess this is!

  • PaulCommentary Level 1 (40 points)

    I can confirm this in Lion 10.7.3. Helvetica does seem to be the culprit. My PDF came from Hyatt and was generated by Oracle. I can read the **** thing on my iPhone but not in Preview. Acrobat does open it as stated.

  • Kurt Lang Level 8 (36,645 points)

    Do they look like this?


    Screen shot 2012-07-09 at 7.21.50 AM.png


    If so, those are generated by the font LastResort. That can be caused by a missing font, or cache files corrupted badly enough that they can't be read.


    Close all running applications. From an administrator account, open the Terminal app and enter the following command. You can also copy/paste it from here into the Terminal window:


    sudo atsutil databases -remove


    Terminal will then ask for you to enter your admin password. As you type, it will not show anything, so be sure to enter it correctly.


    This removes all font cache files. Both for the system and the current user font cache files. After running the command, close Terminal and immediately restart your Mac.

  • Larry Kyrala Level 1 (10 points)

    Although the original poster never replied, I'm going to chime in.


    This is a common problem, look here: http://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/24209/this-pdf-displays-with-question-m arks-instead-of-letters


    The simplest solution is to use Adobe Reader for Mac, although other approaches are listed here and there.