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Why Are There White Lines In Your PDF?

White Line PDF Image

The Right Way to View PDFs

“Whenever I open a PDF file, I see thin white lines where there shouldn’t be. What’s wrong?”

This is a common question among graphic designers, clients and vendors alike. In many cases, those annoying white lines are caused by a PDF that incudes flattened transparency. Flattening may be required when you print, save or export to other formats that don’t support transparency, such as Acrobat 4 PDF version 1.3.

Transparency flattening converts transparent content into a collection of opaque elements. Some of these elements remain vector and others are rasterized. This can cause small white rules to appear around some of the individual elements. In nearly all cases, this appears only on screen.

To verify whether the lines are really in the file and will be printed, just zoom in. By continuing to zoom in, the thin white line will either stay the same size or disappear, or the thin white line will get thicker. If the white line gets thicker, this will show up on the printer and the file will need to be fixed. If you continue to zoom in past 150% or higher, the white lines should disappear. The level of zoom can also vary by your screen resolution as some higher resolution screens may not show the white lines above 50% or higher.

Interested in learning more? Contact Surdell and Partners today to learn how we can help improve your marketing and advertising campaigns.

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