When I run my LaTeX document through pdflatex, some of the pages (the ones where figures appear) have all the text bolded. Why, and what can I do to make it stop?

  • never mind, the solution only seems to work for TikZ pictures, not for transparent pngs.
    – Caramdir
    Jan 20, 2011 at 21:05
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    I have a similar problem with pdf files from pdflatex, although the text appears normal on the screen it prints out as bold in pages where there are images (this only happens in colour printers). No transparency is used in the figures and it happens with all formats (pdf, png, and jpg). Any suggestions are welcome!
    – user11256
    Jan 29, 2012 at 11:35
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    Did you read the FAQ? It is impossible for us to see what your source looks like. There may be several reasons for your problem, which is why everybody is guessing as to what's causing it. Please provide a minimal example.
    – user10274
    Jan 29, 2012 at 11:52
  • @GeorgeK. I converted your post, which you accidentally posted as answer below, into a comment to the question, because the space below is reserved for actual answers.
    – Stefan Kottwitz
    Jan 29, 2012 at 12:23
  • This may not be considered as a real answer by many, but I simply use Google Chrome to open pdf docuemtns. It's cluster free, not memory intensive, and extremely fast. It also doesn't have any anti-aliasing or gamma correction issues.
    – cartonn
    Jan 10, 2013 at 21:12

7 Answers 7


I guess you are using Adobe Reader? If you use transparency in your illustrations, it seems that Adobe Reader renders text incorrectly (something like the wrong gamma correction in anti-aliasing perhaps), which makes the text look a bit too bold. It should look OK if you use other PDF readers, and it should also look OK when printed from Adobe Reader.

A simple solution is to avoid using transparency whenever possible.

You can remove transparency from existing PNG images using graphics editors like GIMP or Photoshop, or with a command-line program like ImageMagick. With ImageMagick, the command convert image.png -background white -alpha off image_new.png will remove the transparency (from http://www.imagemagick.org/Usage/masking/#alpha_remove).

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    I checked this transparency issue and on Windows Acrobat Reader 9.3.3 works correctly. On Linux acroread 9.3.2 works incorrectly with the same file with transparency. Aug 18, 2010 at 14:21
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    Another simple solution is to avoid Adobe Reader whenever possible.
    – Marco
    Nov 14, 2011 at 18:37
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    @Jukka: Would you mind if I added an explanation for removing the transparency from existing images using ImageMagick?
    – Jake
    Mar 24, 2012 at 6:18
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    @Jake: Sounds like a good idea, feel free to edit the post. Mar 24, 2012 at 8:57
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    @Marco : most of the time people write texts for others to read. Choosing ones softwares is one thing; choosing what others should use is really something else.
    – M. Toya
    Jan 31, 2013 at 14:29

I had such an issue when mixing pages with images with and without transparency. If you experience this in Acrobat Reader (almost all including recent versions), but not other PDF readers, the following code in the preamble might do the trick and enforce the same RGB rendering for all pages (for xelatex):

\special{pdf: put @thispage <</Group << /S /Transparency /I true /CS /DeviceRGB>> >>}%

For pdflatex use:

\pdfpageattr {/Group << /S /Transparency /I true /CS /DeviceRGB>>} 

(Answer reposted from Text appearing bold on some pages with images, as the other thread was marked duplicate, but I think it applies here, too.)

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    The code means what ? where i run this code ? Aug 17, 2013 at 11:04
  • I put it immediately before the relevant \begin{figure} environment, and it worked great for me. Inside the figure environment didn't seem to help, however. Dec 9, 2014 at 23:14

This may just be your PDF viewer that acting strangely. Even though PDF files are supposedly seen as you would get them, there are some differences in how it looks on screen and on paper.

Back when I was using Windows with Adobe Reader, sometimes scrolling past a page and then back it again would get rid of this "boldness".

  • I saw the problem using Adobe Reader on Ubuntu, in which scrolling past and back again doesn't remove the boldness. Jul 26, 2010 at 20:49
  • I have Adobe Acrobat 9.0.0 Pro and Adobe Reader 10.1.1 on my Windows Computer. The later version seems handle my PDF almost correct. While on version 9 the boldness was super obvious, you only can guess on version 10 if there is some thicker boldness.
    – OneWorld
    Aug 28, 2012 at 11:37

To prime the answer pump with something else I observed: It appears to be a bug in pdflatex stemming from the handling of images with transparency; converting the PNG images to PDFs seems to fix the problem whenever it crops up.

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    I have PDFs generated by Google Docs Drawings that also cause this problem when I use transparency inside of shapes. If I fill shapes with white color it works. There is SVG data in the PDFs.
    – OneWorld
    Aug 28, 2012 at 11:30

I was also wrestling with the "PDF printing bold" issue, and had some success when I flattened transparency. But even when I followed all of the "rules" (images on layer below text, all transparent effects rasterized), the text in my color proofs was still getting inexplicably bold, or more accurately: the text looked like it was printed twice- registration was a bit off.

I'm using InDesign 5.5 to make a 20+ page newsletter (mixed images & text). Tried all kinds of InDesign settings, all kinds of Acrobat settings, but the one that ended up doing the trick was buried in the printer's properties dialogue: Simulate Overprinting. When I turned that on, my text came out exactly as intended, and there was much rejoicing.

There seems to be an odd interaction between Acrobat's print dialogue and some printer settings. For example, you'll get weirdness if you try to print "booklet" via the printer's applet (mine's a Canon C7065), but if you use Adobe Acrobat's "booklet" feature, all is well. For my newsletter to print correctly, I have to set a number of items in both dialogues, and in my case the overprint setting was a big find.

Hope that helps!

Mike Craghead


I had this problem today and I was quite desperate.

Only way to fix this is to break your text into separate paragraphs near the areas where this issue happens.

Apparently Photoshop exports some texts twice, so you get the same text on top of itself which makes it look bold in the previews.

Sometimes it helps to just change the tracking if it's a single word. Most often it doesn't.


Download the latest version of adobe reader 11 . it's working now


or see any other pdf readers


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