PDF background colour bug returns in Acrobat/Reader DC

Update: please note that this issue has now been fixed in Acrobat/Reader DC, although not in pre-December 2014 Acrobat/Reader 11 and earlier versions.

In December I posted here (PDF background colour fix with latest Adobe updates) that a long-standing PDF accessibility problem, namely a serious background colour bug, had been eliminated with an update to Acrobat/Adobe Reader 11.

Six months on, and with the release of Acrobat and Reader DC, the bug has returned.

Here’s the problem. Background colours that cover less than 50% of the total area of a page are not recognized as backgrounds when the user selects a custom colour scheme.

The screenshot below shows a single PDF page. It is divided into two text frames, each with a single line of black text on a yellow background.

PDF test page with standard, non-customized colour scheme

Notice that the first frame covers less than 50% of the area of the page, whilst the second frame covers more than 50% of the page.

If you open this PDF in a post-December 2014 version of Acrobat or Reader 11 and choose a custom colour scheme, in this case yellow text on a black background (Acrobat or Edit, Preferences, Accessibility, Replace Document Colors), you will see the following:

PDF test page as seen in Acrobat 11 with customized yellow on black colour scheme

In both frames the text will be yellow and the backgrounds black, as intended.

However, if you open the same PDF in Acrobat DC and customize the colours in the same way you will see the following:

PDF test page as seen in Acrobat DC with customized yellow on black colour scheme

The larger frame is handled without any problems, but DC fails to convert the background of the smaller frame correctly, resulting in yellow text on a yellow background.

As mentioned in my previous post, there is a workaround for this in InDesign (using Paste Into) but there is no workaround when creating PDFs from Word, Libre Office or Open Office.

Hopefully Adobe will address this problem soon, but in the meantime this is once again a problem that document producers need to be aware of.

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