I was struggling with an unbelievably annoying error, where PDF::Writer (or pdf-writer as it’s also called) simply refused to show special accented characters incl the Euro sign, but presented garbage instead. Turns out that as of pdf-writer 1.1.8, the following is the case:

  • No, it doesn’t accept utf-16, despite what it claims
  • Feeding it utf-8, will look fine for what can be mapped to 7bit ASCII
  • Feeding it Win-1252 seems to do the trick, although some people claim it’s also hit and miss.

In your class doing the PDF generation, add a method like this:

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  def to_pw(text = '')
    return Iconv.conv('win-1252', 'utf-8', text.to_s)
  end

And then call that to output all the text.

YMMV, but it worked for me.