Dumb software tricks pt. 4,715

So I’m getting ready to publish Cites & Insights 11:1 (January 2011)–no link because I’m still working on it.

One of the late steps is to print out my own final copy, which I use for the writeup here and elsewhere and to prepare index points, before stapling it and putting it in this year’s binder.

I always print duplex, of course–and I normally print directly from the Word version. But this time, since I generated the PDF before doing the final print, I thought I’d print from the PDF.

Oh, and to save time, I don’t use the printer’s auto-duplexing feature (which waits 30 seconds or so before printing the verso of each sheet, to make sure the ink dries); I print all the odd-numbered pages, pick up the stack, put it back in, and print the even-numbered pages.

OMG! Something’s wrong!

Glancing at the output–in the second pass–I started to panic. The letterspacing is all screwed up, badly so. Something’s wrong!

Then an old memory tickled my brain. I looked at the odd-numbered pages. Beautiful. Then at the even-numbered pages. Unfortunate.

And remembered an, um, oddity? bug? idiocy? of the way Adobe Reader interacts with printers.

To wit: If you don’t print Page 1 as part of a sequence of pages, it apparently doesn’t send embedded typeface information. Thus, the even-numbered page aren’t in Constantia; they’re in some “simulated Constantia,” using some other typeface but Constantia spacing. The results are…well, pretty bad. (Looking at capital Js on odd and even pages, this becomes obvious: The Constantia J goes well below the baseline, while the simulated J doesn’t. Also, the typefaces used to simulate Constantia has lining numbers.)

This shouldn’t affect most of you, I hope

But if you do print out C&I and see even-numbered pages that look wonky, that’s why. The solution: Let the printer do the duplexing. (Or, in my case, do the printing from Word.)

This is particularly rank stupidity on Adobe’s part because it’s failing to use a typeface that’s present on the computer. Arggh.

I could redo the whole printout, but that would waste paper and ink. For now, I’ll live with it. (After all, I won’t re-read the issue for another year or so anyway.)

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