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Generated PDF is bitmapped

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Category: PDF reDirect
Forum Name: Using PDF reDirect
Forum Discription: Questions and Comments on using PDF reDirect Freeware and Pro
Printed Date: 04 Dec 22 at 12:09PM

Topic: Generated PDF is bitmapped
Posted By: Luke
Subject: Generated PDF is bitmapped
Date Posted: 25 Nov 20 at 12:51AM
I'm running Win10Pro 20H2 and use Chromium based Edge and Opera. If I print a webpage using PDF Redirect I can not select any text in the output using a PDF reader e.g. Foxit Reader, Sumatra, Opera etc. It is the same effect I get if I create a PDF from an image file e.g. jpg. It seems as if the generated PDF is bitmapped. Using other programs it is OK. I suspect that this may be an issue with chromium browsers. Or is there some a setting in Redirect Pro I accidentally enabled?

Posted By: yorkshire_lad
Date Posted: 25 Nov 20 at 3:00AM
I get this too.  It seems that different browsers do things differently.  I think it's a function of the print engine in the browser.  I can print a webpage of what looks like text via Firefox and I can't select the text in the resulting pdf.  Pick another browser, and the text in the created pdf can be selected.  Sometimes it takes a couple of browsers to get it right.  That suggets to me it's not necessarily a function of pdfredirect but something to do with the browser, although I have no idea if pdfredirect can do anything about it.

Posted By: Luke
Date Posted: 25 Nov 20 at 6:07AM
I gave a few alternatives a try:

Using Opera Version:72.0.3815.320 and

Print to "Microsoft print to PDF" then nothing can be selected in the generated PDF.

If I use Opera's built-in "Save as PDF" it is OK and the text is selectable.

It is not the sole fault of the browser or the PDF print driver. It is the interaction. If it can be resolved within Opera's built-in PDF print driver I may assume a tweak in PDF Redirect can get the same result. If anybody can shed light on this issue it is Michel.

Posted By: yorkshire_lad
Date Posted: 26 Nov 20 at 3:29AM
I think you're right.  I'm interested purely as a user on this process.

I am aware that there may be a difference ways to create a pdf.  On one hand, one can create one as a print image, along the lines of "print to pdf" using a pseudo printer driver.  On the other hand, various applications, such as MS Word will build a pdf from the document, not by "printing" it.  Just to confuse matters, I think Chrome does this when printing, and Save as pdf, as the resulting pdfs are much cleaner and contain more information in e.g. embedded urls.

To add to complexity, when "printing to pdf" with a pseudo printer driver, sometimes the resulting pdf will appear as having text, and other times, the text will appear as an image (so cannot be selected as text)....

I await further intrigue!

Posted By: Michel_K17
Date Posted: 30 Nov 20 at 12:10AM
Hi there,

Yes indeed: I can confirm your suspicions that different browsers choose to send the data to the printer driver in different ways, unfortunately. (which is why the "Microsoft print to PDF" also has text that is not selectable.

It seems like chromium (well google chrome at least) does send some text as a subset font which means that the characters are no longer human readable, and the page is divided into blocks that makes it look like they are all images. I am pretty sure they are not: I checked the inner structure of the PDF, and found multiple fonts and text blocks (which are not legible).

Interestingly, Chrome has a "save to PDF" feature. It might be worth checking to see if Chromium has that feature as well. The PDF files created that way do have text that can be selected.

I am afraid that I am not able to help much beyond what you already discovered.

Michel Korwin-Szymanowski
EXP Systems LLC

Posted By: Luke
Date Posted: 30 Nov 20 at 10:01PM
Thanks Michel for investigating.

The built-in print-to-pdf printer drivers for Google Chrome, Edge and Opera each allow text in the output to be selected. The third party pdf-printer drivers (pdf-redirect, foxit-reader-pdf-printer, ms-print-to-pdf) in each browser do not allow text to be selected.

With respect to the 3rd-party pdf-printer-drivers the behavior for each is different but it is the same across all 3 browsers. The block behavior for re-direct you describe occurs with all 3 browsers. The nothing can be selected behavior occurs for ms-print-to-pdf with all 3 browsers (even MS-Edge!)

I was never a great fan of the the chromium browser project and this just strengthens my opinion that too many of the so called great browser innovations are complicated impractical implementations of features that just worked in the old-age browsers.

Michel when you are working on the pdf-redirect code would you keep this issue in mind. You may have one of your eureka-moments and stumble upon a solution.

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