Circumventing the Mathematica & Illustrator Font Problem

I often have trouble when exporting Mathematica graphics to PDF or EPS for later post processing in Adobe Illustrator (or InkScape). I am not exactly sure what causes the problem, but the incompatibility is font dependent, so I have this workaround.

I want the final graphics to include Helvetica text, so I choose a non-problematic font that is similar to Helvetica, like “Microsoft Sans Serif”, and use it for Mathematica graphics. The key characteristic of the non-problematic font is that it imports into Illustrator as text (not outlines, not non-printg characters that render as boxes or symbols, etc.). So something like this works:

BaseStyle -> {21, FontFamily -> "Microsoft Sans Serif"}

Then I can replace the temporary font in Illustrator using the Find-Font dialog box.

The bug is really annoying, but always shows itself when you are working on a figure and don’t have time to track down exactly what is going on.

Recovering Missing Inkscape Windows

I am evaluating Inkscape (http://inkscape.org) as a replacement for Adobe Illustrator. Inkscape is an open-source, X-Windows-based illustration tool. The interface is nowhere near as nice as that in Illlustrator, but even with steep educational discounts, the Adobe suite costs me roughly $240 per year if I want to have it on my office iMac and my six-year-old Macbook Pro. So far, I have been able to import most of the illustrations that I made with Illustrator into Inkscape, with the exception of some files in which I used some nonstandard fonts. So, I plan to see how it goes without an Illustrator license.

I have two monitors connected to my office iMac, and when I load a file into Inkscape, the main window moves out of view (offscreen). Inkscape is running and the window exists, it just off the screen. You can see it, and even select it, using Mission Control (ctrl-up-arrow), you just can’t do anything with the file. Spending your time finding a recently launched program’s windows is not a good start for any software, but we are talking about an interesting tool, so a work around may be worth a little effort in work-arounds.

Continue reading