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5/22/13
Original Poster
Turkeyphant

Google Docs Viewer mangling colours on images

I used Word 2007 to create a PDF file with an 1526px * 900px image filling a whole page. This is not the first time it's happened, but Google Docs PDF viewer absolutely mangles the colour rendering making it unusable.
I've taken screenshots at the same zoom level in Google Docs viewer and Foxit Reader. There's an image for comparison at http://stackoverflow.com/questions/16659300/poor-image-rendering-with-google-docs-pdf-viewer

It's awful! I've tried messing about with some things, but can't find anything that can correct this issue.

I think it's to do with the compression Google uses to render PDFs for web (mainly converting to an image and overlaying text on top).

I tried saving the images as PNGs, GIFs, and JPGs with pretty much every combination of compression settings and they always came out as in the top image when seen in the viewer.

HOWEVER, I managed to produce similar results by using Photoshop to save the file as a 32-colour GIF with NO DITHERING.

See here: http://i.imgur.com/LS49R0b.png (top image is screengrab from Google viewer, bottom is 32 colour GIF). So it seems Google is doing some heavy colour compression and not dithering at all. But I can't for the life of me work out why some images are okay and some as bad as this. Wah!
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All Replies (101)
5/23/13
Original Poster
Turkeyphant
Nobody else encountering this issue with PDFs?
Gill
5/24/13
Gill
Is the same file OK when viewed in a dedicated PDF reader?
5/24/13
Original Poster
Turkeyphant
Yes. As mentioned in the question, the image is fine in Foxit Reader. It's also fine in Adobe Reader and even in Chrome's renderer.
Gill
5/24/13
Gill
OK, thanks (sorry, I missed that in your first post). I will let the Google Guides know but for now I'd suggest sticking with one of the other options - Foxit would be my choice too.
5/24/13
Original Poster
Turkeyphant
No problem. But sticking with other options like Foxit Reader isn't possible or a relevant alternative - I rely on the Docs PDF viewer for its main purpose which is to view the PDFs in a web browser.

The whole reason I need to use it is to embed PDF content in webpages. Offline installed software simply isn't an option.
5/24/13
Original Poster
Turkeyphant
Notably this isn't a one-off - I get this issue with LOTS and LOTS of pdf images but some are inexplicably much worse than others.
Chris Harrison IDDigital
5/27/13
Chris Harrison IDDigital
Agreed, images over a certain size get compressed with some terrible 256 colour (possibly png/gif) method and transparency is getting dropped sometimes.
5/27/13
Original Poster
Turkeyphant
So you think a) that only images over a certain size get this horrific compression applied and b) that it's only reduced to 256 colours?

Please read my thread at https://productforums.google.com/forum/?hl=en-US#!msg/docs/KJu9CZCKIEs/3H1ZjQLRHO0J for more info. It seems that it's closer to 32 colours rather than 256 colours and I can't see any pattern to which images get affected.
Achilleas Kotsis
5/27/13
Achilleas Kotsis
This is also happening to me.

Sample: http://www.deliveradiko.com/menu. You can download the original pdf from the link above the embedded view.
5/27/13
Original Poster
Turkeyphant
Yeah seems identical. I don't understand why more people aren't mentioning this - I've seen it happen at least a dozen times with my PDF documents now.
90 MORE
Randy Hamilton
2/23/14
Randy Hamilton
Even though it's free, it's about a company's reputation and the trust people have for that company. Leaving a whole slew of people out to dry-- who depend on a product-- well it's just not right. This is such a minor thing to fix, and it affects TONS of people who used to depend on this. 2 YEARS. It's just a sad statement for Google, but typical of what happens when a company (or a government) gets too big. Politics and bureaucracy set in, and then not a whole lot of anything that matters most for the people actually gets done-- only what benefits the management (or politicians) most. Google is starting to look and run like our Federal government.
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