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How To Embed Fonts In InDesign

By December 18, 2021No Comments

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How To Embed Fonts In InDesign

How To Embed Fonts In InDesign

Embedding fonts ensures your document is viewed as intended, with no unwanted font changes that affect the overall appearance of the document or make it harder to read.

When it comes to fonts, the choices are endless. You can choose from the Arial typeface included with Microsoft Windows, or the enduring Helvetica font to complement your print projects. 

When you embed fonts with InDesign, you can convert your text into a PDF file or an EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) file.

But while PDF files are the most commonly used for embedding fonts, EPS files are useful for certain programs that only allow EPS files.

But no matter what type of file you are using, embedding is an important final step.

Below, I’ll talk you through embedding fonts with InDesign for both PDF and EPS files, as well as go into more detail about why embedding fonts is so important, and what to do if you have trouble embedding fonts.

Why Should You Embed Fonts?

We all have a wide variety of fonts available on our computers, like the classic Times New Roman, Arial, or Helvetica, as well as more fun, decorative cursive fonts.

No matter the occasion, there’s a font for it! However, after selecting the right font for your document, and spending a lot of time and effort on a visually appealing document, you send it to a colleague to find that everything looks totally different because the fonts have been substituted automatically. 

This also happens in artwork documents where fonts are not embedded.

You pick a font for your project, position the text in your font of choice in your document and finally export the finished project as a PDF.

But when you upload your artwork PDF file to a print shop, it may not have the same font that you used, and your artwork may print incorrectly as a result.

But embedding fonts makes this process smoother and a lot less frustrating, as the fonts you choose will be safe, no matter who you send the document to or where you upload it.

What Happens When You Embed Fonts?

Basically, embedding fonts ensures that all the font information used for your document is stored in the PDF file. Embedding will increase the size of your document only slightly, but this is so the font can be displayed correctly.

It’s important to remember that a font can only be embedded if it is permitted by the font vendor. Fonts downloaded from the internet usually contain licensing information as a text file.

Embedding Fonts In InDesign

PDF: Open your document in InDesign.

Click on the ‘file’ drop menu and select ‘Adobe PDF Presets.’ This lets you choose the resolution quality and size of your PDF file.

‘High Quality Print’ has the highest quality and largest size, while ‘Smallest File Size’ gives you the lowest quality and smallest size.

Designate where your file will be exported, and then click ‘save.’ This opens the Export Adobe PDF dialog box. 

Click on ‘Advanced’ in the dialog box. Here you can choose to embed all of your fonts or just a subset of fonts.

To embed all fonts, enter 0% in ‘Subset Fonts When Percent of Characters Used is Less Than.’ To embed only a subset of fonts, enter a higher percentage. 

Lastly, click ‘Export.’ The export process may take a few minutes depending on the resolution quality.

EPS: Open your current InDesign document.

Click on the ‘File’ drop-down menu and select ‘Export.’

Designate where your file will be exported. Click the ‘Save as Type’ drop menu, select ‘EPS’ and hit ‘Save.’ This opens the Export EPS dialog box.

Like the PDF file, you can choose to embed all of your fonts or just a subset. To embed all fonts click the ‘Embed Fonts’ drop menu and select ‘Complete.’

To embed a subset amount, just select ‘Subset.’

Choose ‘Export’ to complete the process.

Checking Font Embedding

If fonts were incorrectly exported, Adobe will substitute them with standard fonts in the PDF document. Sometimes you can tell straight away when the export has failed, but sometimes you can’t.

You can review the font export settings in Adobe Acrobat to check whether all the fonts have been exported correctly.

To do this, right-click in the open document and select ‘Document Properties’ in the context menu. A window with different tabs will appear where you can review the export settings. The ‘Fonts’ tab shows a list of all the fonts in your document.

The information after the font is important, and this is how you can tell if the font has been exported.

For example, if ‘(embedded)’ appears after the name of the font then it is fully embedded. If ‘(embedded subset)’ appears after the name of the font, it is partially embedded. If the name of the font has nothing following it then it has not been embedded.

A fully embedded font has the complete character set embedded while a partially embedded font only has the characters embedded which are actually used in the PDF.

Converting Fonts To Outlines

If the font just won’t embed or it’s being displayed incorrectly in the PDF despite being embedded, you have to convert the type to outlines.

Display errors in the PDF may occur because the originator of a font type did not follow the typographic specifications exactly. Despite the type looking fine, it cannot be processed correctly. 

Programs like Adobe Acrobat try to correct these errors or recalculate, which can actually make the problem worse in most cases.

It results in minor pixel errors, or the loss of some elements in very fine cursive fonts. Check your PDF to see if this is the case.

Zoom in on the heading using the magnifying glass, or you can use the shortcut CTRL & +/-. You can check for font errors using a high zoom factor. 

By converting type to outlines, InDesign allows you to bypass potential display or embedding problems.

Instead of having to recognize the existing font, Adobe Acrobat only shows the colored outline.

To convert type to outlines in InDesign, select the corresponding text frame and click Create outlines.

Camden Taylor

Author Camden Taylor

Camden is ARTURTH's Chief Editor, Senior Graphic Designer, and artist from the Pacific Northwest.

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