Weird font issue

I've come up against a strange font issue. I've downloaded a number of Chinese academic papers in PDF, which read find on my Mac. When I transfer them over to Pleco, however, the Chinese text is crazily messed up, as in the attached image. Oddly, though, Pleco recognises the original, unmangled text, rather than the visible, mangled text.

I think this may be an iPad issue, as it is not exclusive to Pleco. As the screenshot shows, it seems to be an issue only with some fonts (the abstract in the screenshot is fine).

But if you had any ideas on what could be done - if anything — to fix it, that would be very handy.



Staff member
This seems to be an iOS issue - we're actually waiting on a new version of our PDF reader library that no longer uses iOS to decode PDFs and so we're hopeful that that will be much more reliable, barring that all we can do is wait for Apple to fix it (which they sadly don't seem to have done in iOS 9.1).
Thanks, Mike. As I'd seen similar behaviour outside of Pleco, I suspected it was an apple problem. I look forward to the new version of the PDF reader library when it arrives.
Hi Will and Mike! I have been having the same issue sadly since upgrading to iOS9. Like yourself Will I download journals from CNKI.

It will be great when they fix this.

BTW, you find you have trouble reading some PDFs using Mac's Preview? I find that for some PDFs the font is a bit off...but when I load with Adobe Reader or Pro it works perfectly.


Staff member
FWIW it's working perfectly in the final release of that PDF reader (and PDFs now also load way faster in general, which is a nice bonus) - we're hurrying along with all of our other cool iOS8/9 enhancements and hope to do a quick round of beta testing in a few weeks. (we'll post here and on Facebook/Twitter when we do)
Looking forward to this, Mike.

In terms of Mac's preview, joeymac (and totally away from Pleco for the moment) some PDF fonts are a bit off — in particular chunks missing, usually from abstracts and from journal titles or page numbers. I think that Chinese academia may hate macs — don't get me started on the Ruijie Supplicant (if you have not encountered this twitchy monster, count yourself lucky).
Sounds great Mike – looking forward to it :)

Totally agree re: Chinese academia (and Chinese publishers) hating Macs. I am not too sure about this Ruijie Supplicant...but I have encountered the twitchy monster that is PDF pages having symbols omitted (usually numbers).

BTW, I have a fix for this weird font issue with Pleco (and other apps like Goodreader) :). I finally emailed off Goodreader last night and I got a quick reply. Here is their reply and it worked:

Hi Joe,

Sorry to hear you're having this trouble. To view the file correctly in GoodReader the text fonts need to be embedded into the PDF file. This same file may appear normal on a computer because there are fonts installed on the computer. They may also appear correct in an app like Adobe Reader provides fonts installed in the app.

In GoodReader, if a font is missing from a PDF file, iOS substitutes that font automatically—so it sounds like after the iOS 9 update, iOS isn't correctly substituting the correct font, or the font used in this file isn't available on iOS.

Here's what you can do to embed fonts in your PDF so that GoodReader can display the text correctly:

If you have a Mac computer, open this PDF file in Mac's standard Preview application, go to File menu and select Save As command (choose "Duplicate" or "Export" for OSX Lion or greater). Then re-save this file as a new PDF (just make sure to change a file name, to preserve the original file unchanged). The new PDF file will contain all fonts.

If you have a PC computer and have Adobe Acrobat, use the Print option to print to "Adobe PDF Printer" (installed by Acrobat) and make sure that the printer settings has the "Embed all fonts" checkbox "ON", under the Fonts tab.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you need anything else.

- Robert
Robert, this is really useful, thanks. I'll give this a go and if it works.

The ruijie thing is a unbelievably twitchy bit of software for authenticating ethernet connections. If you've never had to use it, count yourself lucky... :)


Staff member
Thanks. We changed our plans a bit and we're now doing one more update with some bug fixes that still supports iOS 7, so it'll be a bit longer before we have this PDF update ready, but not too long I hope.