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Situation: I have a PDF file which was generated by using a combination of tikz/pgf and Inkscape. It has all the correctly embedded fonts. It can be downloaded here. For example, using

pdffonts correct.pdf 


name                                 type              emb sub uni object ID
------------------------------------ ----------------- --- --- --- ---------
UWTJCQ+CMR9                          Type 1            yes yes no      38  0
JXYBIE+CMR10                         Type 1            yes yes no      42  0
VUTWNB+CMMI10                        Type 1            yes yes no      46  0
DDXSBZ+CMR6                          Type 1            yes yes no      50  0
VNIEYM+CMSY9                         Type 1            yes yes no      58  0
UJXQAK+CMR8                          Type 1            yes yes no      54  0
AEBRGF+CMMI9                         Type 1            yes yes no      62  0

Goal: I have been asked to change this pdf to eps (for journal publication). I would like to do so with two versions:

  1. Outlined fonts
  2. Embedded fonts

The final eps should have correct bounding boxes

Attempts for Outlined Fonts:

The solution by Maarten here and by the StackExchange people here proposes a solution by using GhostScript:

gs -dNOPAUSE -dNOCACHE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=epswrite -sOutputFile=your-output-file.eps  your-source-file.eps

This seems to work. The fonts look awful on screen, but seem to print correctly.

Attempts for Embedded Fonts: The guide here suggests that the following commands will convert a pdf to an eps, and then adjust the bounding box with the embedded fonts. The commands are

pdftops -eps test.pdf
cat test.eps | ps2eps > test2.eps

and then the final output can be transferred back to pdf form and the embedded fonts verified

ps2pdf test.eps
pdffonts test.pdf

However, I tried this on the above file and it does not work. An eps is created using pdftops, and then the eps is changed back to a pdf, but the fonts have disappeared (using pdffonts). Can someone tell me how to change from pdf to eps and preserve embedded fonts?


Lev Bishop (below) discovered that the pdf had transparencies involved, which was causing pdftops to rasterize the image. In tracking down the transparency issue, I discovered a very strange bug in the 2010 version of pdflatex (or some other program pdflatex was calling).

Takes a pdf image with an embedded font. And then compile a document with


The resultant pdf seems to have transparencies depending on whether one uses texlive2009, texlive2010, or texlive2011! Using the 2009 version, the resultant image is fine and does not have any transparencies. Using the 2010 version gives transparencies and using the 2011 version gives back something without transparencies.

Note: I don't have a direct way to check for transparencies, so I'm simply using

pdftops file.pdf test.eps
ps2pdf test.eps test.pdf

And then checking that test.pdf has or doesn't have embedded fonts. Thus, 2010 gives me a version with NO embedded fonts while 2009 and 2011 work fine.

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I corrected your update: it's pdftops that does the rasterization, which is not ghostscript-based. –  Lev Bishop Jul 29 '11 at 16:22
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Two points: 1) according to acrobat pro your file uses transparency. See this answer for why pdftoeps cannot convert that properly to eps and instead rasterizes it. Since it seems that the figure doesn't really require transparency, but rather some preprocessing step you've done has put everything in a transparency group, you should be able to fix this. 2) rather than ps2eps I would generally prefer epstool. For correcting the bounding box (if it is even necessary, which it shouldn't be here) you can use epstool --copy --bbox filetocorrect.eps correctedfile.eps.

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1) I've amended the original post with an update of the transparency issue. Also, is there an easy way to check whether a ps/pdf was rasterized? (2) Why do you prefer epstool? –  TSGM Jul 29 '11 at 16:10
To check for rasterization, zoom in very far and look for the pixels :-) –  Lev Bishop Jul 29 '11 at 16:15
epstool vs ps2eps: I did some testing a long time ago and came to the conclusion that epstool is better, but I no longer remember the exact reasons. Perhaps it worked on a larger selection of files, or such. –  Lev Bishop Jul 29 '11 at 16:21
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