Monday, July 06, 2009

Apple Preview: fail

This might just save a few Mac-based LaTeX users some grief. Suppose you use TeXShop to typeset

$\{0\} \to \{y = 0\}$
The result looks just fine in the TeXShop preview window onscreen (which calls on the Mac pdf Preview engine). But print it out and the spacing after the arrow is wrong. You get
{0} →{ y = 0}
Use Adobe Reader to print the pdf and all is well:
{0} → {y = 0}
The problem seems to be that the use of '}' as a printing character before a binary operator can mess up the printing though not the viewing of a pdf by Preview. Very, very odd. But apparently there are other known issues with Preview printing pdfs and missing/misplacing symbols. So the moral is: when it matters, print using Adobe Reader.

Stumbling over the bug caused me some hours of annoyed and mystified head-scratching. The invaluable comp.text.tex newsgroup helped me find a minimal example and pin the blame on Preview rather than on my (occasionally ropey) LaTeX coding.


Damien said...


I don't have this problem. Everything is ok with my computer. Are you sure it's a problem of Preview?

Peter Smith said...

More and more mysterious. The idea that Preview was to blame was (a) suggested by constributions on comp.text.tex, and (b) confirmed by the fact that printing the pdf in question using Adobe Reader produced no problem, printing using Preview did.