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I was getting very low quality renderings in pdf format using Adobe Reader XI on my desktop (Windows 8 HP). To try and figure out why, I sent one to my laptop which has the Adobe Reader IX version (Windows 7 Toshiba) and the appearance improved dramatically. Anyone have a suggestion to improve the image in version XI?

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Are all app settings exactly the same? How about Cleartype settings for your LCD screens? – Karan Mar 19 '13 at 4:36

Here's how I solved the issue. (It has to do with Adobe Reader not being high DPI aware. Windows 8 uses High DPI scaling by default.)

  1. Open up Adobe Reader
  2. Hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete and Select "Task Manager"
  3. Under Processes, find Adobe Reader (AcroRd32.exe). Right click on it and select "Properties".
  4. Under Compatibility, check the box titled "Disable Display Scaling on High DPI settings.)
  5. Click on "Apply".

Restart Adobe Reader and it should be fixed!

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Adobe Reader settings may be different, specially the resolution settings. Take a look at this answer: Why do fonts look messed up in Adobe Acrobat? for more information on how to increase resolution.

Another cause could be that your Windows 8 computer is using substitute fonts, see this Adobe article for more information, specially the section Preview PDFs without local fonts.

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