Why does OpenOffice.org produce better PDF than Acrobat?

I recently tweaked the format on my Load Testing WDK Apps with Apache JMeter white paper. When I printed to PDF from Word I got a couple of undeseriable effects. The Navigator logo was jaggy. And my “asides” were in simple, not shadowed, text boxes.

I tried a couple of different quality settings in the PDF options but I didn’t see a difference. Just for fun I decided to import the Word doc into OpenOffice 2.0. Without changing a thing I then immediately did an Export to PDF.

The resulting PDF had none of the problems of the PDF produced from Word using Acrobat. The logo was sharp and the text boxes were shadowed. Plus, I reaped a couple of bonus benefits. In Word, some of my wide screenshots were being cropped and likewise in the resulting PDF. In the OO-generated PDF my screenshots were automatically scaled to fit the page. Another nice bonus was that the PDF was about 1/3rd the size of the PDF produced by Acrobat.

My eternal optimism tells me there are probably config settings in both Word and Acrobat I could tweak that would give me the same results–I just didn’t have time to dig. It was definitely a pleasant surprise.