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Creating high quality math images with Direct PDF


The information on this page applies to:

MathFlow 1.x-2.x for Arbortext

Arbortext Publishing Engine 5.2 and later


Composing PDF files with MathFlow and Arbortext Publishing Engine using Arbortext's Direct PDF component rather than Adobe Distiller results in low-quality math images, often with characters missing or in the wrong font.


The limitation of Arbortext's Direct PDF is that it uses a third-party software called PStill to process EPS files, and PStill uses custom font definitions from their own font folder rather than from the System font folder. Arbortext only ships with a few basic fonts that PStill can use. Fortunately, it is possible to add more fonts to the PStill repository by using PStill's standalone component (Arbortext does not distribute all the necessary files to convert TrueType fonts).


  1. Download and install a demo of PStill.

  2. Run gpstill.exe

  3. Click "Return and Continue" to demo.

  4. Click the "More Options" button and then the "Manage Fonts" button.

  5. Open your System's font folder by opening the Windows Control Panel and double-clicking Fonts (or open the folder from a File Explorer window).

  6. Drag and drop all the fonts you'll need in your math equations from your system Fonts folder to the PStill dialog box. Some recommended fonts are the four Times New Roman fonts and the Symbol font. If you also have MathType 7 installed, you can drag the .pfb files from C:\Program Files (x86)\MathType\Fonts\PostScript into the PStill Installed Fonts box. Other comprehensive fonts such as Code 2000 or Arial Unicode can be helpful for mathematical symbols that aren't covered by the MathType 7 and Symbol fonts.

  7. Click the "Update/Install fonts" button. PStill will generate the metrics and widths files that are used in PDF creation.

  8. Copy all of the newly created files from <GPStill-install-dir>/PSFonts to the APE/pstill/PSFonts directory.

Now you should be ready to use Arbortext's Direct PDF. The quality might not be quite as high as with the use of Distiller, but there's a noticeable improvement when PStill uses the correct fonts.

We hope this has been helpful. As always, please let us know if you have questions about this, or if you have additional techniques that work. We'd love to hear from you.