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Typical problems and their solutions

Font related problems

I see '#' characters instead of Cyrillic / Chinese / Japanese / etc. characters in the PDF files.

The most typical problem with fonts is that your document contains a character, but its glyph (symbol) is not available in the supplied font. For example, your issue description contains a Chinese character, but the supplied font does not contain any Asian glyph.

When the glyph for a character is not found, the renderer will replace it with the hash character '#' in the final PDF document. It means that seeing unexpected hash characters in the document is the typical indicator of the problem. Please note that even with this, the PDF document will be successfully rendered and will be a valid file.

Depending on the number and importance of the missing glyphs:

  1. The document may be usable if only a single unimportant glyph was missing (like an emoji).
  2. The document may be unusable if a high number of important glyphs were missing (like all Kanji and Kana in a Japanese document).

If it is the latter, use automatic fonts.

Other problems

Table borders and underlines are blurred and are drawn with varying line thickness.

When viewing a PDF file in Adobe Reader, especially those with tables and lines, some lines may look thicker than other lines and even different sections of the same line may look somewhat blurry. It is caused by the "Enhance thin lines" feature of Adobe Reader, designed for lower resolution CRT monitors.

To enhance the look, turn off the feature in your Adobe Reader: navigate to EditPreferencesPage Display and uncheck the Enhance thin lines option. There is an additional option called Smooth line art that can make your lines laser-sharp, but can also cause other visual artifacts at line junctions (e.g. borders at the table corners). Find the combination that works best for you.

Unfortunately, these display settings are local (specific to your computer), not attributes of the PDF file itself.

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