24 Replies Latest reply on Dec 18, 2017 10:58 AM by Dov Isaacs

    Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working

    jones89168 Level 1



      I have an Illustrator CS5 file, on a Windows 7 PC.


      I have used "Save As" direclty from Illustrator, also "Print" with Distiller and finally the Acrobat Pro 9 "Preflight" "Fixups" to Embed Fonts.


      This has included setting subsetting to 0% and in the "Print" dialogue when using the Distiller method, changing the font dropdown to "Complete".


      I do not want to convert my font to outlines, because of the changes this causes. I do not want to subset - but completely embed the fonts.


      This is driving me insane, and I really would appreicate any suggesstions. Please help!

        • 1. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
          Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

          Adobe most strongly recommends use of “save as PDF” from Adobe Illustrator as opposed to creating PDF via distillation of PostScript. The PostScript generated by Illustrator (and for that matter, InDesign, Photoshop, and Acrobat) is optimized for printing to a PostScript printer and not for generation of efficient, reliable PDF!!!


          We also recommend subset embedding all fonts referenced in a PDF file. Given the size of many new OpenType fonts with exceptionally large character sets, fully embedding a font can result in useless bloat to a PDF file. We know of no good reason for embedding a full font in a PDF file. Contrary to some popular misconceptions, embedding a full font in a PDF file (a) does not let you edit the text of the PDF file using the text touch-up tool of Acrobat using the embedded font itself and (b) does not let you display or edit the text of the PDF file in Adobe Illustrator using the embedded font. (Note that Adobe does not endorse attempts to edit full PDF files in Adobe Illustrator which is not a general purpose PDF file editor and can only safely edit PDF files saved from the current or later versions of Illustrator using the editability option!)


          In both (a) and (b) above, you need to have the original font actually installed on the system itself in order to accomplish the edits of (a) or the proper display and edit of (b).


          There are some third party tools that claim to support editing of text in PDF using fully embedded fonts, but they don't always work as you might expect. When fonts are “fully embedded” in a PDF file, in reality, only the glyph definitions and advance width metrics are embedded, not all the advanced metrics including kerning information and OpenType features, severely limiting the functionality and quality of any such text edit functionality.


          Exactly what use case do you have that you believe really requires fully-embedded fonts?


                    - Dov

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
            jones89168 Level 1

            Thanks for your reply. Although your post is very educational for me in regards to deciding when and when not to fully embed, that decision is not down to me, I just need to know how to do it.


            I have to fully embed, not my choice. I'm not a fan of outlines, and fully embedding or outlining are my only options, as it is what my printer (www.onlineprinters.com) requires. A big ISO certified company is not going to change it's ways for me! And no I can't choose a different printer, the prices and quality of this print company is simply too actractive for my agency to choose another. The printer's reason is that subsetting causes problem with their RIP, but the reason for their requirement is not relevant.


            So, if anyone knows how to solve my fully embedding problem, I will love you forever.

            • 3. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
              Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

              I looked at the Data Requirements for Fonts as described by “Onlineprinters.com” at http://www.onlineprinters.com/dd_fonts.htm?websale7=diedruckerei;02-aa&tpl=02-aa/$ws-cms/d d_fonts.html.


              They may be “an ISO certified company” but that doesn't mean that they are knowledgeable or follow reliable workflow processes and procedures. Based upon what they describe on that web page, I would stay very clear of such a printing company and I am sure many other experience graphics professionals would advise you likewise. This printing company clearly doesn't know what it is talking about with such misinformation (to put it very mildly) as:


              Embedding fonts as subgroups often results in errors in the RIP interpretation (exposure process), which results in the absence of special characters and umlauts. In addition, it can also cause the displacement of line breaks.




              Based on our experience, the following fonts are susceptible to line break displacement or the absence of special characters and umlauts: TrueType, Multiple Master, Composite fonts.


              The only way this operation could be actually encountering such problems if by some combination of truly ancient RIPs and PDF workflow software versions and/or professional incompetence! Their “requirements” are certainly not backed up by their national print trade associations (they are based in Germany and their print trade associations are members of the Ghent PDF Workgroup which absolutely does not subscribe to this arrogant rubbish!). Or maybe they are just believing long-discredited urban legends (the warning against TrueType points to that). Note that PDF is a “final form file format” and as such, it is literally impossible to get what they describe as “displacement of line breaks” based on either the type of font used or whether a font is fully-embedded or subset embedded.


              Adobe software does not guarantee the ability to fully embed any and all fonts under any circumstance. What Adobe software does provide is the ability to at least subset embed any font that is not physically protected against embedding (and this isn't an issue of subset versus full font embedding). We are not aware of any modern day graphic arts RIP (based on Adobe RIP software or otherwise) or process that has problems with subsetted fonts.


              We are sorry that you appear to be stuck with this printing company which based on their so-called requirements, seems to be intent on mediocrity (outlining text is known to produce degraded text output quality, especially at small point sizes and with decorative or complex typefaces) and is likely to cause other problems with their printed output with blame place on fictional bogeymen!


                   - Dov

              • 4. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                jones89168 Level 1

                Thank you for your excellent posts. I am saving your posts for future reference.


                I e-mailed the printer and got this reply:


                "A 100% font embedding is actually not possible in most InDesign versions and in fact Adobe’s product never do it. It is really a bug from Adobe and it doesn’t work! Subsetting is therefore also perfectly fine and doesn’t pose a problem at all for printing."


                I think the instructions from their website are rubbish. They seem to do this to cover their own backs / make statements that aren't true just to keep everything simple, so that truly idotic people can still create PDFs to send to them for printing. Whenever I e-mail them, I get intelligent replies, that usually contradict the rubbish on their website.


                They accept PDF-2008, so their workflow can't be that old, I guess. (I'm a designer, I just know the minimum required about print technicalities!)


                Our previous printer wanted everything in PDF-X1a, and subsetted fonts, and they had no certifications of any kind, yet we always got good results from them.


                onlineprinters.com say this about their certifications: http://www.onlineprinters.com/Certified-quality.htm?websale7=diedruckerei;02-aa&tpl=02-aa/ $ws-cms/uu_certicied_quality.html&type=zertifizierte_qualitaet_hnavi_b


                and they say they have the latest gear from Heidelberg and KBA:


                http://www.onlineprinters.com/uu_offset_printing.htm?websale7=diedruckerei;02-aa&tpl=02-aa /$ws-cms/uu_offset_printing.html


                and have 40,000m2 of production space. I think they know what they're doing, but whoever writes the website should be fired!

                • 5. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                  Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                  Well, good luck and let us know if we can assist you further.


                  Too bad many print service providers really don't understand the true aspect of service and seem to be more interested in CYA (cover your *ss) than really meeting customer needs and high quality product.


                  Unfortunately, this specimen is not isolated!


                            - Dov

                  • 6. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                    jones89168 Level 1



                    Dov, if you're reading this, I'd appreciate your input, as I readily admit to being novice in print preparation, but I'm also a perfectionist, so my knowledge is growing at least!


                    1) I notice that if I use the OnlinePrinters_v1.4.INDD setting from Illustrator or InDesign (which is pretty much the same as PDF-X 2008, it successfully fully embeds some of the fonts, but Arial, and Tahoma it only subsets. Subsetting is apparently not a problem for the printer, so I guess that's ok. (Previously, when trying to fully embed I had tested using 2001 and 2002.)


                    2) Also, in the Onlineprinters_v1.4.INDD setting file, it is set to output Coated FOGRA39 (ISO 12647-2:2004), yet ISO Coated v2 (ECI) is the colour space that the printer wants me to use, and I make my documents in this colour space. Should I be making my documents using Coated FOGRA39 (ISO 12647-2:2004) instead? It says "The preset specifices source profiles that don't match the current colour settings file. Profiles specified by the color settings file will be used". I understand this to mean that the OnlinePrinters preset will be ignored/overruled.


                    3) I have images in my files of various resolutions (all of them at least 300dpi, though). I notice the compression settings of Onlineprinters_v1.4.INDD downsamples anything over 600dpi to 400dpi. Is it beneficial for me to use images of 400dpi, rather 300dpi, for better quality? - 400 dpi seems like an odd choice to me, as 300dpi is considered the most that is required, due to the human eye's own limitiations etc..


                    4) Is it ok if I use images of 1000dpi etc. as they will be downsampled to 400dpi, or is it better to make the images the correct resolution before putting them in the design file?


                    5) Finally, the setting uses JPEG compression to downsample, at Maximum quality. I have heard that ZIP is better. The images I am using, bought from stock databases, are originally .jpg images anyway. I'm not involved in a super high-end design, using RAW photos or .TIFFs with loads of data in them, so presumably this doesn't matter for me.


                    Thanks, Edward

                    • 7. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                      Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee



                      (1)     The fact that they are OK with certain fonts subsetted and others not indicates the true foolishness of their declared requirements.


                      (2)     If their joboptions file is inconsistent in terms of the specifed output color space from what they declare to be their required color space, it shows how screwed up they are in terms of how they develop and communicate their requirements.


                      (3)     The reason that we typically don't downsample images unless they significantly exceed the target resolution is that downsampling is in fact a lossy and destructive process. Images are downsampled at the RIP anyway and if you can avoid cascading lossy downsampling operations, you may avoid unnecessary image degradation. The values they provide of downsampling anything over 600dpi to 400dpi is fairly odd. Typical industry practice  and experience is that 300dpi is quite sufficient for most high quality offset printing which typically has more exacting requirements. I would leave their settings as-is. They won't hurt you other than to yield a slightly larger PDF file.


                      (4)     Don't try to artificially upsample or downsample any image before placing into InDesign. Upsampling does not improve quality in any way whatsoever. Downsampling can lead to the problem of cascading tranformations per (3) above.


                      (5)     The recommended compression should be Automatic (JPEG) with Maximum quality. Images that are photographic in nature will be compressed with JPEG compression and images that are more “vector-like” (i.e., not photographic, but really representing material that would otherwise be done with text and/or vector) are losslessly compressed with ZIP compression. This is the best of both worlds and should be just fine for 99.999% of all PDF production. Note that Adobe applications typically send imagery that is already JPEG-compressed and that doesn't absolutely require downsampling through directly to the PDF file without decompressing and recompressing, a cascading operation that further decreases quality.


                                - Dov

                      1 person found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                        jones89168 Level 1

                        Thanks again for your valuable advice Dov. You're being a life-saver by answering my questions in this thread! I'm very grateful.


                        Firstly, the word 'upsampling' makes me shudder. I will never do that in my life, ever.


                        I.) One question about downsampling, though. I have .jpg photos that are 600dpi, and 1100dpi etc. (because I am placing large .jpg photos in Illustrator/InDesign, then making them very small in size within InDesign/Illustrator, thus increasing their full scale dpi of 300, to various dpis far above 300dpi).


                        If I am too lazy to re-size them to the correct size at 300dpi in Photoshop (by creating a blank document at 300dpi, then inserting and re-sizing my photos, and saving), should I just let the PDF downsampling process deal with this? Or should I not be lazy? I ask this question firstly in general, and secondly in this particular case, where all images will be downsampled to 400dpi. (Who knows what the printer does with my PDFs, but presumably they will reduce the 400dpi images to 300dpi in the correct manner to create a quality output).


                        II.) Also, about the colour space - am I correct in thinking that the warning from the Adobe software ("The preset specifices source profiles that don't match the current colour settings file. Profiles specified by the color settings file will be used") means that the colour settings I have set in the file (ISO Coated v2 (ECI)) will be used in the PDF, rather than the one in the joboptions (Coated FOGRA39), anyway? That's an important thing to know.


                        Ugggh, I have a headache. Save me Dov!!!


                        - Edward

                        • 9. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                          Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                          Take two asprin and call me in the morning ...


                          (1)     Place the images as-is into InDesign. Don't downsample in Photoshop prior to placing. InDesign (actually, more specifically, Adobe's core technology libraries) will downsample the images if necessary during the PDF export. This isn't a matter of laziness. Not downsampling prior to placement is actually prudent because it gives you flexibility. If you downsample, you are committed to a maximum resolution at highest quality because you have already discarded original image data.


                          (2)     Back to the color issue. The CMYK color space specified in the joboptions will indeed be the CMYK color space of the generated PDF file. You should be OK with your RGB imagery (hopefully it is tagged with an ICC profile) whether or not your joboptions call for conversion of RGB to CMYK or not. Your untagged CMYK text and vector should be OK. Depending upon whether you ask for color conversion, no conversion, or color conversion (preserve numbers), you may or may not be OK in terms of some nasty CMYK to CMYK conversions which you typically would like to avoid. The color stuff can be quite nasty especially if you have mismatches in the CMYK color space and you don't have the preserve numbers option. Of course, it also depends upon how critical CMYK color managment is to you (as opposed to RGB to CMYK color management which generally quite critical). Without actually seeing your color settings, a sample document, and the joboptions, it is very difficult to give you further advice.


                                    - Dov

                          2 people found this helpful
                          • 10. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                            jones89168 Level 1

                            Some settings files etc.: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=7NJV9WAA


                            No sample file, because the size is too big, and we can do without them anyway.


                            The joboptions file is from the printer, and for use within InDesign and Illustrator when using Export (InDesign) or Save As (Illustrator) to save as a PDF. It is set to "No Conversion", and Coated FOGRA39 as the Output Intent.


                            1. Oddly, that warning message is still present even if I change the Output Intent to Document CMYK ISO Coated v2 (ECI) which is what my document is set up to use. I don't understand the wording of that warning message (and from a quick Google, I'm certainly not alone). But if "No Conversion" is selected, I thought that means that the colour profile of my document will be used?


                            A side note: All the images in my document are directly placed sRGB files, which upon placement are converted to my Working Profile and Destination Profile of ISO Coated v2 (ECI). (All image editing is done beforehand in Photoshop, so when I put them in my file, I am just adding vector text or shapes to them.) I never have any RGB images in my InDesign/Illustrator designs. So my issue is purely one of 'everything is ISO Coated V2 (ECI)' to 'but i need it converted to Coated FOGRA39'.


                            2. If we assume that Coated FOGRA39 is the colour space my printer wants, but I like to work in ISO Coated v2 (ECI) for use with other printers, what setting should I choose in that joboptions file in InDesign/Illustrator? Presumably, "Convert (Preserve Numbers)", because the CMYK numbers I use for the vectors are specifically chosen to reproduce equivalent Pantone colours in CMYK process colours (I have the Pantone Colour Bridge Coated book), and the photos will be converted into Coated FOGRA39?



                            My poor brain, I hate pre-press!!! Although I think we've boiled my problem down to one of; if I can convert between profiles without problems, then all is well in my world. Because it seems that to work with this new printer, and the old printer, that I will need to be swapping between these 2 colour profiles frequently.


                            *takes aspirin overdose*

                            • 11. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                              jones89168 Level 1

                              Just got a very interesting reply from the printer:


                              "1-      There is no problem at all with only subsetting with Arial and Tahoma. Fully embedding is not necessary.


                              2-      If you make your document using only ISO coated V2 it will be perfectly fine. You do not need to change anything else. Please excuse us if our page settings are not totally updated. They are all old 2010 settings, hence all the contradictions with my previous e-mails. We print with Fogra 39 colour space and we use the ISO coated V2 color profile. These two concepts are often mixed, so I don’t know if I am answering your questions. I hope this was of any help."


                              So they do want ISO Coated v2 ECI!! Well that's good news for me.

                              • 12. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                                sPretzel Level 1



                                If I understand correctly from this thread: Save As PDF from Illustrator WILL NOT embed a font entirely, even if "Subset fonts when percent of characters used is less than 0%" is specified.

                                Is this correct?


                                Is there a workaround to embed all fonts fully (no subsetting or outlining of fonts in the final PDF)?



                                • 13. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                                  Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee



                                  I hope you fully read this thread.


                                  There is no way to guarantee full embedding of all fonts when exporting PDF for InDesign or saving PDF from Illustrator or Photoshop, including the specification of “is less than 0%.”


                                  Why in the world are you insisting upon embedding full fonts? Why is that a requirement for you? Or is it the requirement of some ignorant print service provider?


                                  Even the normal preflight fixups of Acrobat do not provide a means of embedding full fonts.


                                  There is one workaround that I am aware of. There are some third party preflight plugins to Acrobat (at considerable extra cost), that do provide such a capability. You would run the appropriate fixup in those plugins after you have created the PDF file.


                                  But again, the real question is what does that really buy you?


                                            - Dov

                                  • 14. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                                    sPretzel Level 1

                                    Hi Dov,


                                    Thanks for your prompt response. I can see slight differences between the real font and the outlined version in the PDF. Besides, if the font is available for embedding, why would Acrobat choose to embed some or parts of characters but not all (or vice versa, outline some but not all). The option to fully embed works if I Print to PDF, instead of Save As PDF (of course, print to has other limitations).


                                    What bothers me in the case I am dealing with is that Acrobat outlines some font characters that are in the original Illustrator file, instead of embedding the font character. As such, I would be quite happy to embed the subset of the font that is used in the original Illustrator file, but I don't want any outlining. But this is not happening!


                                    So the problem is not that Save As PDF (from Illustrator) is not embedding the full font set, but that it's not embedding the full subset of the font used in the document, and chooses instead to outline some of these characters.

                                    • 15. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                                      Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                      Now I understand your issue.


                                      When you save PDF from Illustrator (or export from InDesign), you normally will not get outlined text unless


                                      (1) There is text that is involved with a transparency effect (for example, text is specified as having anything other than 0% transparency with regular transparency blending) or is part of a group of objects with transparency effects.




                                      (2) The PDF is being saved (exported) using joboptions that require flattening of all content. Examples of such PDF joboptions include PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3 or any custom options that call for PDF 1.3. PDF 1.4 is required to avoid transparency flattening.


                                      If both (1) and (2) are true, even embedding the whole font will not avoid the outlining due to flattening of transparency.


                                      Thus, based on what you describe, I believe the bottom line is that to avoid the outlining of text, you either need to eliminate any transparency that involves your text or better, save (export) the PDF with the PDF/X-4 or perhaps the High Quality Print settings.


                                                - Dov

                                      • 16. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                                        sPretzel Level 1

                                        Hi Dov,


                                        This appears to be what is happening, but not exactly as you put it. I have text elements that do not fall within the footprint of the objects with transparency. Additionally, I was saving as PDF with PDF 1.5. Yet, the fonts are being outlined to a large extent (some of the text is set to overprint but I don't think that is transparency). So I am not really meeting your criteria #1 or #2.


                                        Regarding PDF 1.3 producer, I am aware that it doesn't support layers and flattens transparency. However, I am facing a different set of issues when I go this route, which include stitching and shifting. PDF 1.3 slices the transparent objects into regions but stitches them back together with small overlaps and shifts (usually a pixel or two). This does not happen in PDF 1.5.



                                        PS: As an experiment, I just took a box with some of that text, removed all its overprinting attributes, put it in a new empty Illustrator document, and Save As PDF with PDF 1.5. The resulting PDF file was still outlining the font!!

                                        • 17. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                                          Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                          OK, another possibility. Normally, i.e. by default, when you type text in Adobe applications, it is only “filled.” However, if you set a color for the outline, you will also get outlining as well as filling. The outlining is not done with a font, but rather a polygon description.


                                          Attached is a sample .AI file and corresponding saved .PDF file showing this.


                                                    - Dov

                                          • 18. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                                            sPretzel Level 1

                                            I looked at Preflight in Acrobat for the text in the resulting PDF 1.3 and PDF 1.5 documents. The PDF 1.5 document appears to convert all text strokes to outlines (described as "Vector objects (stroked)"). PDF 1.3 keeps the text strokes as is (described as "Text with stroked outlines").

                                            The fill and stroke of the text are of the same colour.

                                            • 19. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                                              Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                              Set your stroke color for text to be none (the swatch with the red oblique slash) and you'll get rid of the stroke. That is the likely problem.


                                              Normal text is never stroked, but just filled.


                                                        - Dov

                                              • 20. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                                                sPretzel Level 1

                                                Well, I need the stroke in this case! My previous post was incomplete. I had produced the two documents differently: PDF 1.3 was using Print to a PDF printer and PDF 1.5 was using Save As PDF.

                                                I took the document with the text inside and printed in these scenarios:

                                                Print to PDF:

                                                1- with PDF 1.3

                                                2- with PDF 1.5


                                                Save as PDF:

                                                1- with PDF 1.3

                                                2- with PDF 1.5


                                                In Print to PDF, both keep the "Text with stroked outlines". In Save As PDF, both turn the text stroke to "Vector objects (stroked). It looks as though "Save As PDF" is not working as it should.

                                                • 21. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                                                  Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                                  OK, I see what you are saying.


                                                  Of course, printing to PDF loses all ICC color management and live transparency since PostScript supports neither.


                                                  The save as PDF does in fact produce actual vector objects, but the print to PDF (using the Adobe PDF PostScript printer driver instance under Windows) produces a contruct of stroking text that effectively gives the same visual result.


                                                  I'll contact the Illustrator and InDesign teams to see if there is a possibility of modifying the method by which the PDF is saved (exported) to be more efficient (actually combining the fill and stroke operations). No promise of any short term change here.


                                                            - Dov

                                                  • 22. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                                                    sPretzel Level 1

                                                    Thanks Dov for your explanations. I suppose that's as far as Save As PDF can go then for now and I shouldn't expect to get stroked text out of it.

                                                    • 23. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working

                                                      Hi Mr Dov,

                                                      I was following up on the embedding of fonts and thought your answers were right on the spot. Please, could you help me understand all the options on the save as dialog box in illustrator when saving for the native AI and pdf. I need to use the information to do a presentation to my fellow tutors on how to reduce a file size in illustrator. 

                                                      • 24. Re: Completely Embed Font (not Subset) in PDF several methods not working
                                                        Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                                        Asking me to provide a tutorial on “all the options on the save as dialog box in Illustrator” is regrettably well beyond the scope of these forums. I suggest you carefully read the help file web pages for Illustrator and come back with particular questions that we can respond to as opposed to “teach me everything you know.” 


                                                                  - Dov