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/docs/community?hl=en
6/2/13
Original Poster
Mike Brantjes

How to get color back in googledoc viewer ?

We use the googledoc viewer ( http://docs.google.com/viewer)  to put PDF's in webpages
Suddenly these have lost color (especially green) and the clickability of the hyperlinks
see:
http://docs.google.com/viewer?url=https%3A%2F%2Fdl.dropboxusercontent.com%2Fu%2F29170744%2FFAQ%2520Eng%2520Adding%2520picture%2520%2520to%2520your%2520profile.pdf

the original pdf it self can be seen at:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29170744/FAQ%20Eng%20Adding%20picture%20%20to%20your%20profile.pdf

Anyone any idea how to remedy?



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All Replies (9)
Tickmc
6/2/13
Tickmc
Mike,

As far as I can see, the original is similarly afflicted.

- Mike
6/2/13
Original Poster
Mike Brantjes
Hi Mike, thanks for responding. I am not sure if you clicked on the correct link to view 'original'. Just to be sure i have put both versions in one .png picture side-by-side which i attach. I trust that will help illustrate the difference.
Regards
Mike
Tickmc
6/2/13
Tickmc
Yes, I see a little difference now. Previously, were the links clickable?

I would suggest providing feedback via drive.google.com->Cog->Help>Send feedback 

- Mike
Bas Braams
11/30/13
Bas Braams
Thank you, Mike Brantjes, for providing your feedback here, where it may be found by anyone in the world, as I just found it, and where the chances of it being read by a human at Google are, I would think, very much better than they are if one uses "send feedback".

As to the issue at hand, the rendition of color in the Docs+Drive pdf viewer, that seems to be a big issue also today, 2013-11-30. I think that the following example shows it very well.

I downloaded the Wikipedia image "RGB_Color_Solid_Cube" (1024*1024 pixels) [1] as a png file to my desktop and then inserted it from there into an otherwise blank (empty) Docs text document. Then I downloaded (exported) that Docs text document to my desktop with conversion to pdf and I uploaded the resulting pdf file to two locations: my Docs+Drive space and my Dropbox space. The files are here.

GDocs_RGB_Color_Solid_Cube.pdf on the Docs+Drive system:

GDocs_RGB_Color_Solid_Cube.pdf on the Dropbox system:

If the pdf file on the Docs+Drive system is opened (in Firefox or Chrome, perhaps also in IE) then the Docs+Drive pdf viewer takes control and today, 2013-11-30, the result is awful; the sense of color gradient is completely destroyed. If the pdf file on Dropbox is opened, in any browser, then the result is fine to my eyes. I have attached screen capture png images of how the two files appear on my screen. My PC is running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and things are up-to-date.

In a contribution on the Drive forum [2] I used different images to make the same point, echoing an Ugh! by OP Rob Fontanella there. I like to make a point also here on the Docs forum that I made in [2]: I find it a poor design choice of the Google Docs+Drive team that the way in which a pdf file is displayed should depend on where it resides. Certainly the present situation acts as a deterrent against placing files that contain images on the Docs+Drive system if those files are to be viewed by others. Rather place them on Dropbox, or anywhere else outside the Google universe, in order to protect the human viewers against the crappy rendering by the Docs+Drive pdf viewer.

[1] Wikimedia file RGB_color_solid_cube.png

[2] (2013-11-30) Re: How to disable Google Drive Preview / Viewer - ugh!
Gill
12/3/13
Gill
Thanks, Bas - I'm going to escalate this one.
Bas Braams
12/3/13
Bas Braams
Thank you Gill! If the team should need to be shamed into paying attention then I suggest to point them to [1] where color rendition in the Docs pdf viewer is identified most closely with that in the IBM-AT (1984) and the Atari ST (1985).

[1] (2013-12-01) Re: Google Drive PDF viewer is so bad in displaying color
12/7/13
Original Poster
Mike Brantjes
Hurraaay...it seems we have, after nearly a year, again the attention of someone at Google for this issue: see here GILL S ecalating the topic. His profile indicates he is involved with Google:  'I got involved with Google docs as a way to store my records, write up my observations and share them with colleagues. I am now a TC for Google Docs.'
Thomas P. - Google Search Expert
12/8/13
Thomas P. - Google Search Expert
Mike,
I don't mean to be a killjoy, but: Gill is not a Google employee, but a TC of GDocs (TC: "Top Contributor").
I'm a TC of WebSearch, and I can tell you that an escalation just means that a Googler will read it. It does not mean that the problem will get fixed (it might, but no certainty to it - so don't hold your horses).
Bas Braams
3/31/14
Bas Braams
<<an escalation [...] does not mean that the problem will get fixed>> This appears to be a true statement. It is 4 months later and the Docs+Drive pdf viewer still mangles the colors. In other postings the diagnosis has been sharpened a bit over what has appeared in this conversation..

Apparently the Docs+Drive pdf viewer uses 5 bits to encode each pixel and no dithering. If the image is recognized as color then the 5 bits encode 32 colors, if it is recognized as grayscale then they encode 32 grays, and if it is diagnosed as a mix of color and grayscale then they encode 16 colors and 16 grays.

As described under [1] the viewer maltreats colors in Word (*.docx) files the same way as colors in pdf files; 5 bits are used. As described under [2] Tiff (*.tif) files are maltreated in a very special way: 5 bits are used and then the resulting binary number is inverted (left-to-right vs right-to-left) in the interpretation. That way a smooth gradation of color or grayscale gets coarsened first and then replaced by an oscillating pattern and the image becomes completely unrecognizable. On the other hand, the Docs+Drive viewer seems to handle stand-alone *.png or *.jpg images fine; it is only when such an image is inserted into a pdf file that the colors get mangled.

[1] (2014-01-17) Google drive and google docs and Word documents

[2] (2014-01-26) Google Drive inverting color on picture previews
 
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