This issue when printing some PDF documents from within Adobe Reader has been one of the most vexing computer problems I’ve experienced in a while. I think I might have just figured out how to solve it, so I’m posting a description of the problem, as well as what I believe is a solution (or at least a work-around).
Some PDF documents I try to print from within Adobe Reader will have all of their text print as garbage (“greeked” text). From the Google searches I’ve done, it seems that others have reported that this problem is not always reproducible, and that no single type of printer seems to be involved. In my experience, it is reproducible. The common thread seems to be (from what I’ve read) that all users having this problem are running Windows XP with Service Pack 2 installed.
The problematic PDFs will look just fine when you view them on your computer, but when they print, only the graphics will print correctly. All of the printed text looks like it’s just random characters of “gobbledygook”. Upon closer inspection, you can see that the characters are all off by one position in the alphabet (actually, off by one ASCII character, since symbols and numbers are also off by one). ie: “A” prints as “B”, “”e” prints as “f”, and a zero prints as “1”. Even when I select “print preview” in the print options for my Hewlett-Packard printer, the documents show garbage text in the on-screen print preview window!.
I am running Windows XP SP2, and have updated Adobe Reader to version 8.1.1, which is the current version. I use Windows Update to keep XP up to date with patches. I’ll say that I first noticed this problem with some PDFs about a year ago, but I can’t tell you what version of Adobe Reader I first noticed it with. I’m not even sure this is an Adobe Reader issue. It might be a Windows or a printer driver issue also. The latest problems occured when printing a PDF that was being viewed with Adobe Reader within my Firefox v 220.127.116.11 browser, but it has occured in earlier versions of Firefox, and I believe in Internet Explorer as well.
I’ve experienced this problem when printing to an HP PSC1210 all-in-one inkjet printer, and an HP Photosmart 7260 inkjet printer.
Today, after reprinting the same PDF several times, and getting garbage out each time, I clicked “print”, and started looking around in the print window that opens for my HP 7260 printer. When I print PDFs, I get an “Advanced” button in the bottom left corner of the print window that I can click on. There are a bunch of “greyed-out” postscript options in this window, but there is also a check box that says “Print as image”. I decided to check this box and click “OK”, which closes the advanced printing options window, then I clicked “OK” to send the PDF to the printer. I think doing this causes the entire document to be sent to the printer as “raster graphics”, rather than as PCL containing a mix of graphics and ASCII text.
Voila! The PDF printed correctly. I’m not certain that checking the “Print as image” option was the reason, but it’s worth trying if you are having this problem, and you have this option in your print setup.
If this solution works for you, please post the details as a comment to this article.