Cure For Blocked Out Text in PDF Files On Terminal Server

I ran into an interesting problem the other day. Users were complaining that they were unable to read their PDF documents while using terminal services (A.K.A Remote Desktop) on a Windows 2000 Server. The documents opened without issue, but when they attempted to scroll down the page, the text became unreadable. It was blocked out like someone had taken a black magic marker and covered the text.

After doing some research, I realized the source of their problem was a recent upgrade on the terminal server from Adobe Acrobat Reader 6 to Adobe Acrobat Reader 9. I’m not sure what Adobe changed in the software, but the problem seems to have first appeared around version 8.

In my case the solution turned out to be very simple. Turn off Smooth Text in Adobe Reader 9’s preferences.

• Edit > Preferences > Categories: Page Display
• In the Rendering Section, change the Smooth Text drop-down to: None
• Click OK.

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