When you open a PDF file and the application tells you that there are missing fonts, you know that there’s trouble ahead. Not only will the PDF not display properly on screen, you can also forget about getting a print that looks the way the creator of the file intended. But, luckily for you, you’re not the first person to come across the problem of missing fonts in PDFs.
This article explains why missing fonts occur and how you can fix the problem in a jiffy!
Some fonts have a right to go missing
The problem of missing fonts usually occurs when a PDF contains fonts that are subject to licensing restrictions. When the creator of a PDF has purchased the rights to use these so-called proprietary fonts, the PDF will look just fine on the screen. But unless the end user of the PDF file has also purchased the fonts, they will find themselves unable to view or print them.
PDF settings are controlled at the time when a PDF file is exported or saved. Depending on which engine is used to produce a PDF file, different options may be available for font handling, for example, sub-setting below a certain percentage or even specifically not embedding certain fonts included in a predefined list.
Many applications also include options to produce a PDF file based on industry standards, such as PDF/X, which states that all fonts must be embedded, otherwise the PDF file will not be produced.
Continuing to work with a non-embedded font
When fonts ‘go missing’ in a PDF, the end user can choose to allow the application to substitute the missing fonts with an open-source font or some other font they have installed on their computer. The PDF can then be viewed and printed, but the layout will most probably look ‘off’. If a proper format is paramount, it’s best to use a different approach, as mentioned below.
Embedding fonts in PDF files
Another option is asking the creator to embed all fonts they used in the PDF file or (and this is even easier) have PitStop Pro check your PDF files before you print. PitStop automatically embeds all fonts from the cloud using the Monotype Baseline service. If you don’t want to buy the font, PitStop Pro can also convert it into outlines.