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Question: Preview: Table of Contents is ignoring formatting

Preview is missing a feature. Before going further I’ll admit it is a minor feature, but nonetheless, the omission needles me. The bug description below is deliberately thorough, to allow other to reproduce the problem and variations of it.

PDFs exhibiting the problem have been made with the following 18 lines of PostScript.


/PageWidth 72 def /PageHeight 432 def

<< /PageSize [PageWidth PageHeight] >> setpagedevice

/FontNames [ /Times-Roman /Times-Italic /Times-Bold /Times-BoldItalic ] def

0 setgray

0 1 3


/i exch def /FontName FontNames i get def /FontNameText FontName 32 string cvs def

matrix currentmatrix PageWidth 0 translate 90 rotate

FontName 54 selectfont 18 18 moveto FontNameText show setmatrix

mark /Dest FontName /View [/Fit] /DEST pdfmark

mark /Action /GoTo /Dest FontName /Title FontNameText /F i /OUT pdfmark


} for

The PostScript is also available at

I have converted the PostScript to PDF using Adobe Distiller 8 (the latest version on my Mac), to make

and also with the GhostScript installed at to make

The relevant line of the PostScript ends “/F i /OUT pdfmark”, which makes an ‘Outline’ item, that is, an item which appears with View > Table of Contents. Observe the “/F i”, which sets the formatting, over the four pages i looping from 0 to 3 in steps of 1. This /F defines the Formatting: 0 = Plain, 1 = Italic, 2 = Bold, 3 = Bold and Italic; as explained on page of 27 of

Viewed in Preview 6.0.1 (765.6) on OS X 10.8.4 this looks like

User uploaded file

Oops: formatting ignored. Me needled.

But in Adobe Professional 8 the two PDFs look like:

User uploaded file

User uploaded file

Much about the Acrobat is messier than Preview, but it does correctly display this aspect of the PDF. Please could Preview do so as well?

Going back to the PostScript one could also add something like “/Color [0 0.6 0]”, which would set the colour of the text to dark green. That seems to be ignored by both Preview and Adobe Pro 8 (I don’t have v11 to test). Again, a fix would be welcomed.

And why do I care? Because the long PostScript program I maintain (see for manual and code) uses these features.


Posted on


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May 1, 2014 4:08 PM in response to jdaw1 In response to jdaw1

This problem not fixed as of Mavericks 10.9.2 with Preview version 7.0 (826.4).

May 1, 2014 4:08 PM

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May 2, 2014 11:46 AM in response to jdaw1 In response to jdaw1

Apple doesn’t routinely monitor the discussions. These are mostly user to user discussions.

Send Apple feedback. They won't answer, but at least will know there is a problem. If enough people send feedback, it may get the problem solved sooner.


May 2, 2014 11:46 AM

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User profile for user: jdaw1

Question: Preview: Table of Contents is ignoring formatting