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Glitch in Exporting PDFs from Mathematica to Illustrator, one solution

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  • Subject: [mg90470] Glitch in Exporting PDFs from Mathematica to Illustrator, one solution
  • From: AES <siegman at>
  • Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2008 06:36:00 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: Stanford University

There have been previous posts about a glitch that can occur when one 
generates a PDF graphic in Mathematica 6, exports it to a PDF file, and 
attempts to open that file in Illustrator.  Reasonably well-confirmed 
aspects include:

1)  The primary glitch seems to be that curves in the plot (though not 
the plot axes) show up greatly thickened when opened in certain versions 
of Illustrator, e.g. with a line thickness of 38 pt.  Dashed lines also 
show up with greatly lengthened dashes and spaces, e.g. with 
(51,51)-point dashing.  

2)  The problems in any one plot can be fixed by hand editing, i.e., by 
selecting the faulty objects and correcting the line widths or dashing 
parameters using the appropriate Illustrator tools.

3)  The problem has been observed on multiple installations of 
Illustrator 11, but seems not to occur in Illustrator 12 or 13 (or 
possibly in versions before 11).  This occurs independently of whether 
the graphic is Exported, Saved as Selection, Printed to PDF on a Mac, or 
otherwise extracted from the Mathematica notebook.  I do not recall it 
happening in Illustrator 11 with Mathematica 5 or earlier.

4)  The graphic appears to be fine if the PDF file is opened directly in 
Acrobat, Adobe Reader, or Preview (although Preview seems to convert all 
text to un-editable outline formats).  

5)  The problem, whatever it is, goes away if the file is opened in 
Acrobat, Saved to Postscript format, and the Postscript file then opened 
in Illustrator.  The problem is also solved in some cases if the Reduce 
File Size in Acrobat is applied to a problem file.

The bottom line of this post is that it does seem to be the case (as I 
think someone else reported earlier) that the problem does not occur if 
the original graphic is Exported (or Saved?) in EPS format.  The 
graphics open on a letter size artboard with all graphic elements 
apparently OK, and can be saved from there to PDF.

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