Inconsistent export between Mac and PC

Minor disaster.

Below is a screenshot of two zoomed-in PDFs, both exported from the same Dorico file. The one on the left was exported from a Mac, the one on the right was exported from a PC. Same fonts. Both exported as PDF graphic.

The one on the left has a baseline of 55 points from the top of the page (which is what it should be), and the one on the right has a baseline of 57.5 points.

I’ve spent the entire evening trying to figure out why my titles weren’t lining up… I thought it was an InDesign user error. Turns out some of the PDFs I was using were exported on my PC, and the others were exported on the Mac.

The disaster is that I’m on a print deadline, and I have some 350 PDFs to place in InDesign… some exported from PC, some from Mac, with two different baselines. And my editor (who’s using the Mac) can’t export the updated PDFs to match mine (on the PC).

In the interim, I’m just going to re-export everything from one machine, but I would very much like to figure out why this happened. If anyone can help, here’s the file.


Sorry to hear this, Dan. These things always happen at the worst time. Might the problem be your hooky fonts again?

Unfortunately it’s not unheard-of for this kind of thing to occur because the font shaping and rendering APIs in Windows and macOS use different values to determine font metrics, even from within the same font file. There are two different sets of values for things like line height, ascender, descender, which use different values, and while those values are meant to be set up in such a way that they produce identical results on Windows and macOS, I’m afraid it’s very possible for the font to be set up incorrectly such that it ends up different. I’ll check your file on Windows and macOS using the latest versions of the Minion Pro fonts that I have.

That was my first thought too. Have you compared the embedded versions of Minion in the 2 PDFs? Are they the same version? Is one system using the official Minion and one the bootleg?

I thought of that too, but my colleague is using the exact same font. I sent her the font files myself.

Just to follow up, I’m running into a similar issue by which two PDFs, both rendered on my PC with identical frame dimensions, and once again the titles have different baselines.

Dorico file A:
PDF file A:

Dorico file B:
PDF file B:

A has a rather significant extender, and B does not… so unsurprisingly, A has a visibly higher baseline.

All I can assume is that my font is once again the offender. Daniel, sorry to keep bringing this up, when it looks like it’s pretty definitively a problem with the particular font.

At this point, I don’t know what to say. I’ve worked for five years now with this font, with probably 2,000 very carefully-adjusted Dorico files. I can’t change course now. I’ll just have to make manual adjustments when they’re perceptible.

Well folks, I guess the moral of the story is, “Don’t use a bootlegged font.” :cry:

Actually Dan, I’ve tried exporting your file on Windows and Mac, using Adobe’s latest version of Minion Pro. I do get a difference. Windows on the left, Mac on the right, measurements in points:

Ah! Well, I suppose it’s not an immediate solution, but I do feel somewhat absolved. Thanks, Leo, for doing yoeman’s work at all hours…

I have also been looking into this today, and my findings are consistent with Leo’s. Using version 2.030 of the OpenType versions of Minion Pro, I find that the metrics are quite different between Windows and macOS. So even if you were using the current Adobe versions of Minion Pro, which may well be later than my version 2.030 (dating from 2007 I think), I believe you would find some differences when producing PDFs. These differences might not be apparent in all applications, e.g. Adobe apps themselves typically use their own custom font stack, from shaping to rasterisation, which may well therefore produce consistent results on Windows and Mac. But Dorico uses the Windows and macOS APIs – DirectWrite on Windows and Core Text on macOS – and the result is that the way the metrics are set up in Minion Pro produce subtly different results between the two platforms.

This isn’t always the case: for example, Dorico’s default Academico font produces identical results on Mac and Windows when exported in PDF from Dorico. But however it is Adobe have chosen to set up the metrics in Minion Pro means that you are vulnerable to platform-specific variations in font rendering.

I think the only practical way to handle this is to ensure that you export all of your PDFs from a single platform, or switch to a font family that does not exhibit these platform variations.

Thanks Daniel for your work on that. But as my follow-up post above shows, it’s not even Mac vs. PC. I am getting different baselines from different files, even when both exported from the same PC, depending on the type of descenders being used in the title.

The solution, unfortunately, seems to be to have a 3rd-party ruler app on the screen, and shift the baselines in the title as needed.