Fill Patterns Don't Preview Correctly When Printing to PDF

Custom Fill Patterns in PDF? Files Don't Preview Correctly when printed from PowerCADD 9.1.3 in Mac OS? X 10.10 Yosemite

  • PowerCADD version 9 (9.1.3)
  • Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite
  • Using Mac OS X 10.10 Save As PDF print option
  • Preview.app Version 8.0 (859)




Background

With the introduction of Mac OS X Yosemite (10.10) there is now a problem with some custom color fill patterns after using the Mac OS X Save As PDF feature available when printing. Since we wrote and use the custom color fill patterns from the ColorPortfolio libraries we saw the problem there first. However the problem could occur with other custom fill patterns so we encourage folks to review this article to understand what to look for and for the work arounds.

This cosmetic on screen problem is specific to Preview.app provided by Apple in Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite. The original PowerCADD data, the fill pattern object, and the data sent to the print queue is not at fault.

It's important to note the problem is essentially a cosmetic on screen issue only. That is, even though lines will appear in the custom fill patterns when rendered to screen the PDF file prints correctly (without the lines through the pattern). The fundamental problem is many PowerCADD users rely on PDF for on screen review and nobody wants the screen preview to look wrong when issuing files to clients or service providers. After all we're Mac user and WYSIWYG? is part of our DNA!

How do we know this is a problem with Mac OS X 10.10 and it's version of Preview.app Version 8.0 (859)?

  1. We used the same test file in PowerCADD 9.1.3 running both Mac OS 10.10 Yosemite and Mac OS X 10.7.5
  2. We created a PDF File from OS X 10.10, and from OS X 10.7.5 using File menu > Print > Save AS PDF which is controlled by the Mac OS
  3. We opened the files in the respective versions of Preview.app for the appropriate version of Mac OS X
  4. In all cases, the PDF files opened in Preview.app in OS X 10.10 Yosemite displayed the problem
  5. In all cases, the PDF files opened in Preview.app in OS X 10.7.5 displayed prefect (i.e. no problem)
  6. As an additional cross check we opened the files on a different computer running Mac OS X 10.10 and Preview.app 8.0 (859). We did that so we could rule out the possibility that the graphics board or monitor resolutions might be impacting the tests. In all cases the problem was consistent across three computers running Mac OS X 10.10 (a MacBook Air circa 2013, a MacBook Pro circa 2010, and an iMac 5K 2014).
  7. And finally to find the smoking gun we opened all the PDF Files in OS X 10.10 Yosemite using Adobe Acobat Pro v10 along side Preview.app Version 8.0 (859). In all cases the files rendered perfect (no problems., no lines) in Acrobat Pro but exhibited a problem in Preview.app Version 8.0 (859) as pictured here (Preview.app is on top, Acrobat Pro is on bottom):

What To Watch Out For

The condition will not present itself until you choose File menu > Print... > Save As PDF from PowerCADD's File menu and you open the resulting PDF in Preview.app version 8.0 (859) as issued by Apple with Mac OS X 10.10.0 Yosemite.

Here is an example of what the custom fill pattern object will look like in PowerCADD 9.1.3 running on Mac OS X Yosemite (10.10) or in any other version of Mac OS X and PowerCADD 9.1.3:

Here is an example of how that same custom fill pattern object will look after choosing File menu > Print... > Save As PDF from PowerCADD's File Menu and opening the file in Preview.app in Mac OS X 10.10. What's important to note are the black vertical and horizontal lines that now cover the fill pattern. This grid of lines will change as you zoom in or out of the image. As noted earlier these lines will NOT print but look horrible and confusing on screen.

HINT: If you're not familiar with creating PDF Files from PowerCADD check out our related articles:

What To Do

Fortunately there are a few choices to get around this problem which we'll cover here. Which one is best will depend on what solutions (hardware and software) you have available to you. For us, we prefer the solution below which uses Saving to Postscript and then making the PDF - but use the solution that makes the most sense for you.

Option 1: Do Nothing and Live With It with Preview.app Version 8.0 (859) in Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite
Okay, this is a cosmetic issue as we described at the start of this article. So if you can live with it just open the PDF file in Preview.app and know that the problem is cosmetic. If will still print fine but may look odd on screen for some users

Option 2: Use A Different Application to View your PDF Files in OS X 10.10 Yosemite
As pictured earlier, Acrobat Pro version 10 renders the same content correctly. So use that application instead. Other app's that display PDF may also render the data correctly so try a few others if you don't have a copy of Acrobat Pro on hand.

Option 3: Use an older operation system
As noted earlier, we used Mac OS X 10.7.5 when first trying to find the source of the problem. Older versions of Mac OS X use a different version of Preview.app so the problem doesn't present itself.

Option 4: Create a Postscript File instead of PDF
This option requires more work but yields a file that renders to screen correctly in Preview.app that ships with Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite. To create the Postscript file and then distill it to PDF do this:

  1. Open your file in PowerCADD 9.1.3 running Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite
  2. Having done a page setup, choose File menu > Print...
  3. From the bottom left of the Print Dialog choose Save As Postscript... from the pop-up menu as pictured here:
  4. From the Save As... dialog specify a location to save the file. (e.g. the Desktop)
  5. Drag and Drop the file created in (4) above (e.g. MyFile.ps) onto the Preview.app application icon in the Dock (or wherever you've kept the application).
  6. Result: The file is converted to PDF. The resulting PDF will have a preview that's correct (no lines running through the fill pattern)

Summary

To wrap it all up - the problem is specific to the version of Preview.app version 8.0 (859) that Apple shipped with Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite. It's entirely possible that version of Preview will get an update as Apple moves forward with rolling updates to Yosemite (as of this writing Mac OS 10.10.1 has been released to developers as a beta for testing). Until Apple provides a fix just know that the data in the PowerCADD file is fine and you have a few choices to address this cosmetic issue. The truth of the matter is it took significantly longer to find the actual source of the problem - and type up the summary - than we would have liked. However, the bottom line is the look and feel of our product (design and drawings) is critical and we only want the best possible product being seen by our clients. When we see something as serious as this looked we chase it to ground so we know why it happened and how to fix it.

We hope that helps
caddpower.com

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