Convert Text File to PDF with Acrobat - Character Spacing Incorrect

When I convert a text file to PDF with Acrobat X Pro the character spacing in the resulting file is incorrect. The columns of numbers which line up correctly in my text file do not line up correctly in the PDF file. I have adjusted the settings for the text conversion in the CREATE PDF FROM WEB PAGE box, because my understanding is that Acrobat uses the HTML Conversion Engine to convert text files to PDF. Of course, I choose a fixed-width font.

Note that if I use Adobe PDF Converter (the printer driver) the result is perfect. If I open the text file with Microsoft Word and then convert it to PDF with the PDFMaker, it is also perfect. If I convert the text file to postscript and then use Distiller, it is perfect, as is the case with various freeware converters.

I need to use Acrobat's text converter so that I can bulk convert 300 text files to PDF. Unfortunately, Acrobat is messing up the character spacing. Any help will be appreciated? Thank you. Paul (Deakin University)


Paul Pontikis


5 Answers

Voted Best Answer

You need to be more clear about what you're doing. If you're converting a true text file (.txt), then there is no such thing as font or spacing definitions. A plain-text file contains just text, no formatting settings whatsoever.
If you're converting an HTML file or some kind of Word file, then that's another matter.
If you're getting good results with Distiller, why not simply use it to create the PDF files?

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By Gilad D (try67)   

Yes. I am converting 300 text files (*.txt). In the settings CREATE PDF FROM WEB PAGE -> SETTINGS -> WEB PAGE CONVERSIONS SETTINGS -> GENERAL, I choose Text Conversion Settings (Default Encoding: Western European ; Language Script: Western European ; Body Text: Courier New ; Base Font Size: 8 ; Wrap Lines at Margin: Not checked.)

It appears in the PDFs that the spacing of visible characters is correct, but the spacing of whitespace (space characters) is incorrect. Therefore my 10 columns of characters do not line up after column 1. Columns 2 to 10 are increasingly wavy in what appears to be a random manner.


Paul Pontikis   

My understanding is that Distiller is only for converting postscript files to PDF. Is this correct? I have tried to distill a text file and received an error.


Paul Pontikis   

How do I instruct Acrobat X Pro to ensure that the width of space characters is identical to that of visible characters. Does anyone know? Thank you.


When I convert my *.txt files to PDF, I have discovered that each visible alphanumeric character in the PDF file occupies 1.3 mm on the printed page. And where there is a space character in the text file, the corresponding space in the PDF file occupies 2.0 mm on the printed page. This explains why my columns of characters do not line up correctly. In the text file from which the PDF was created, the visible characters and the whitespace characters have exactly the same width, as they should, when measured on a printed page.


Paul Pontikis   

You should use a layout application, like InDesign, to get the specific settings you want.
And yes, Distiller can only process PS files.

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Gilad D (try67)   


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