PDF font size errors in Dorico print

When I print some characters appear in a much larger font (see attached). Inside Dorico, the Print view shows everything properly, the problem is only in the pdf file created.

pdf error

Are you making your PDFs using Dorico’s built-in PDF export feature (i.e. using the options on the right-hand side in Print mode) or using a PDF printer driver? Does the problem appear to be tied to specific kinds of items (e.g. text items, chord symbols, tempos?) or to specific fonts? Does the problem occur in all projects, or just in some?

What steps have you taken so far to try to resolve the issue? What operating system are you running on? What version of Dorico are you using?

I am using Destination: Printer, “microsoft print to pdf”, collate copies checked, job type normal, print range all, page setup a4, portrait, fit to paper, no duplex printing, no annotations, pushed the print button at the bottom right.

The problems have appeared in chord symbols and in lyrics text with the material appearing in a larger size. It has also appeared in tab with large characters appearing, but with different characters (eg, a “1” being replaced by a large font O - or 0?)

The problem has appeared in about a half a dozen places in multiple flows of (I think) only 1 project.

I have been able to get rid of all of them by deleting the material and copying similar material from elsewhere and editing it. Multiple such attempts have been required. On occasion, copying moved the problem over a few 16th notes. Copying over existing material does not seem to work, I need to delete first, then copy into the rests. It is as if something hidden is present in the Dorico project that only appears when the pdf is created; there is no sign of a problem anywhere in Dorico itself.

I am using Dorico pro on Windows 11 pro v23H2


does the problem persist if you use Dorico’s built in pdf export ?

Thanks for the additional information, Peter. I strongly recommend you use Dorico’s built-in PDF export rather than printing to a PDF printer driver. Here’s how to do it:

I am a little curious what you perceive to be the benefit of not using Dorico’s in-built export feature (which guarantees best results). Is there a reason? Or is it just habit from working in other programs that don’t have such fully-featured export options? I’m genuinely curious, because you aren’t the first person to have mentioned doing this.

FWIW, I’m a mac user, and similar options are available there, but I don’t use them since Dorico handles it natively. I only use the option to “print to PDF” if I’m in a program that cannot otherwise export the way I want.

That’s interesting, because I see it exactly the other way: A PDF generator “disguising” itself as a printer should work in each and every program that can send printing data to a printer.
Having Dorico do its own thing here feels very unusual to me, and quite honestly, I don’t understand the necessity for it in the first place, as Dorico is offering nothing more (in terms of options or features) to me than using a system PDF printer would.

For this reason, I would ask a different question to tacle this problem: Why is Dorico sending stuff to the (PDF) printer that does not work?

Every graphic program that I use has a dedicated export function. Indesign, etc.

Why the two engines render differently is the real question.

Using the built-in fixed the problem. I am a new user. and I used the other one because the choices were “Print” vs “Graphics”. I assumed “Print” was for printing and “Graphics” was for graphics to embed in a word processing file.


You’re not alone in that misunderstanding, I first thought the same as well. Glad it’s working now.

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Ah. Fair enough.

Perhaps it would be clearer if the graphics tab said “export”. (The problem being, what would the export button then say? sigh. Nothing is ever simple.)

When Dorico handles the export to PDF, it converts its graphical data directly into PDF. When it goes via the Print framework, Dorico’s data usually gets converted into PostScript for the “ha-ha” printer, and this in turn gets converted into PDF. (On Windows, it could possibly be some other intermediary graphics/printing data format.)

PDF creation by the print framework usually involves “pretending” that it’s going to be printed first, which involves making assumptions about the device it is being sent to, which are not necessarily true for a device-independent PDF file.

So it’s not that Dorico is sending “bad data” to the printer, but that the process of sending data to a virtual printer, and converting the data format at least twice is not always flawless.

Microsoft’s PDF Printer is not known for being ‘issue-free’.