Mathematica Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Mathematica. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm trying to export figures into pdf, and the results looks good in Preview, but very bad in Adobe pdf reader. I'm using Mathematica version 8 on Mac 10.8.5. The Preview version is 6.0.1 (765.6) and the Adobe PDF Reader version is

For a simple three point polygon, it looks good in both pdf viewer

Graphics3D[{Red, Opacity[0.15], EdgeForm[Lighter[Black, 0.8]], 
  Polygon[{{1, 0, 0}, {1, 1, 1}, {0, 0, 1}}]}, Boxed -> False]
Export["~/Downloads/12345.pdf", %, ImageResolution -> 100]

enter image description here

but for polygon with more points, it looks very bad in Adobe reader

Graphics3D[{Red, Opacity[0.15], EdgeForm[Lighter[Black, 0.8]], 
  Polygon@Join[{{-1, 0, 0}}, 
    Table[{-1, t, Cos[t]^2}, {t, 0, \[Pi]/2, 0.01}]]}, 
 BoxRatios -> {1, 1, 0.5}, Boxed -> False, ViewPoint -> Right]
Export["~/Downloads/1234.pdf", %, ImageResolution -> 100]

enter image description here

Why they looks different in the two pdf viewer and is there a way to fix it so that pdf figure works in both pdf viewers?

share|improve this question
Looks bad in Adobe Reader? Strange... usually, my issues are with Preview. FWIW, it looks equally bad on both viewers here (same versions, with mma 9.0.1). – R. M. Oct 4 '13 at 22:48
For a workaround, I tried the Export["1234.svg", %] instead, then used inskscape to convert to PDF and the problem does not seem to show up on my screen. But you can try it, as a workaround. Here are the steps… – Nasser Oct 4 '13 at 23:49
Mathematica 8 often produces PDF files with syntactic errors in the code. You can use free Poppler utilities to fix this. – Alexey Popkov Oct 4 '13 at 23:54
Another useful tool for converting svg to something more useful is cairosvg. – shrx Oct 5 '13 at 10:18
I'd agree that this looks like an (opacity-related?) bug in Mathematica v. 9.0.1 on Mac OS X. – cormullion Oct 5 '13 at 18:13

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.