12 Replies Latest reply: Dec 4, 2012 10:17 AM by Phillip Jones RSS

    Which Helvetica font do I want to purchase?

    XxCmoney65xX Community Member

      This is most likely a silly question, but I need to be sure.  

       

      I have just learned the hard way on how to try & only use non-base 14 fonts for pdf fillable forms in order to maintain a manageable file size.

       

      I would like to standardize on Helvetica.  Which version do I want to purchase?  There are so many variants (Neue, Std, Roman, etc.) and I need to make sure it is the standard non-base 14 Helvetica before I drop $100 or more.

       

       

      Thanks!

       

      -CM

        • 1. Re: Which Helvetica font do I want to purchase?
          George_Johnson CommunityMVP

          I think you may have misunderstood, or I communicated badly. If you use anything other than the standard (base-14) fonts with a form field, then Acrobat will embed the entire font in the document, resulting in a corresponding increase in file size The built-in fonts that will prevent this are shown below:

           

          fontlist1.png

           

          fontlist2.png

           

          In other words, you don't need to buy anything. The fonts shown above - or suitable replacements - are guaranteed to be available for use with a compliant PDF viewer.

          • 2. Re: Which Helvetica font do I want to purchase?
            George_Johnson CommunityMVP

            Here's a list of the base-14 fonts and what Acrobat/Reader actually use, at least with Acrobat 9:

             

            Base-14 font: Used font (Acrobat 9)

            -----------------------------------

            Courier: CourierStd

            Courier-Oblique: CourierStd-Oblique

            Courier-Bold: CourierStd-Bold

            Courier-BoldOblique: CourierStd-BoldOblique

            Helvetica: ArialMT

            Helvetica-Oblique: Arial-ItalicMT

            Helvetica-Bold: Arial-BoldMT

            Helvetica-BoldOblique: Arial-BoldItalicMT

            Times-Roman: TimesNewRomanPSMT

            Times-Italic: TimesNewRomanPS-ItalicMT

            Times-Bold: TimesNewRomanPS-BoldMT

            Times-BoldItalic: TimesNewRomanPS-BoldItalicMT

            Symbol: Symbol

            Zapf Dingbats: AdobePiStd (embedded subset)

            • 3. Re: Which Helvetica font do I want to purchase?
              XxCmoney65xX Community Member

              I understand now.

              I think I was a bit off-base.  I was thinking that it would be best (to reduce file size) to use Helvetica throughout the entire document, not just the form fields.

               

              Thank you again George!

              • 4. Re: Which Helvetica font do I want to purchase?
                Bill@VT CommunityMVP

                Neglecting the form fields, one font are so does not usually increase file size much, particularly if it is a subset font. Some folks like to use almost as many fonts as they have on their computer to be fancy and the file size becomes huge, or they have embedded no fonts and others can't read the file. So just try to not use more fonts than you need and let the form fields use the defaults. For the fonts you use, you should embed them as subset fonts. (just check the document properties on the produced PDF)

                • 5. Re: Which Helvetica font do I want to purchase?
                  Test Screen Name CommunityMVP

                  A font used in a form field (except Helvetica etc.) usually uses more space in the file than a font used outside a form field.

                   

                  (There is a reasonable explanation for this, but I suspect it won't make things any clearer to know why).

                  • 6. Re: Which Helvetica font do I want to purchase?
                    Phillip Jones Community Member

                    Why is Arial/Helvetica supposed to be the best. They are by far the two of the most unreadable fonts. They are too tiring on the eyes to read. If a document is very long in Helvetica/Arial Print it litterally gives me a head ache to read it.

                    • 7. Re: Which Helvetica font do I want to purchase?
                      Test Screen Name CommunityMVP

                      Nobody ever claimed they are the best font to look at. Their importance here is that Helvetica is one of the fonts chosen for special treatment when PDF was designed 20 years ago, so that it always works in a PDF. (That is, it is the job of every PDF reader to make sure you see something reasonable - perhaps Helvetica, perhaps Arial, anyway a similar Sans Serif font).

                       

                      Contrary to misinformation there is nothing special about Arial in a PDF.

                      • 8. Re: Which Helvetica font do I want to purchase?
                        Dave Merchant CommunityMVP

                        Nobody's saying Arial/Helvetica are the best for everything, but they're the default sans-serif typefaces (I'm not getting into a discussion about the derivation of Arial from Helvetica and who stole what, those conversations tend to go on until blood is drawn). A page of text in a novel should be serif (e.g. Times) so you can pattern-scan per word, but for headline and small blocks of text (such as form fields) a sans-serif font is more legible thanks to the increased X-height, even though you have to letter-scan when reading it.

                         

                        In terms of embedding fonts for forms, you should never go anywhere near Arial unless you absolutely have to support full Unicode in a text field; it's by far the largest font file in the Western set.

                        • 9. Re: Which Helvetica font do I want to purchase?
                          Phillip Jones Community Member

                          This may need to be be moved to another section:

                           

                          When I create PDF usually with MS word But could be by other means.

                           

                          When Look at File size its rather large. I then go into Optimizer Window and there are multiple copies of the same Font that I have to remove.

                           

                          here is but one example:

                          Acrobat001.png

                          Sometimes its not subsets.  There should be one copy and onecopy only of each type

                          Plain Bold italic and so on.

                          • 10. Re: Which Helvetica font do I want to purchase?
                            Test Screen Name CommunityMVP

                            Well, you usually have the option of not embedding fonts; you are trading off file size with accuracy of appearance. I'm surprised if you are concerned about readability that you would unembed them though.

                            • 11. Re: Which Helvetica font do I want to purchase?
                              George_Johnson CommunityMVP

                              This has strayed a bit from the original topic, which was started in a different thread here, so I'll add a bit more background info for the benefit of others who may come across this thread in the future...

                               

                              As this list above shows, Acrobat/Reader actually use a version of Arial when Helvetica is selected for a form field. I often see that a form author will choose Arial, as opposed to Helvetica, for some unknown reason. All it does is cause an unnecessary increase in file size since the entire font has to be included in the PDF. The reason the entire font gets included is so that any characters it contains are available when the form user (or some other process) fills-in the fields. Since Arial is used when either Helvetica or Arial is selected, there is little reason to select Arial.

                              • 12. Re: Which Helvetica font do I want to purchase?
                                Phillip Jones Community Member

                                Well having up to half a dozen copies of the same font doesn't affect readability. The only thing it affects is the size of the PDF.  There are reason for PDF to be large Type and size of Graphics,  and Meta Data. But Fonts usually re the number one killer.

                                 

                                I better let this go.  We have stray from the subject.  And the tight cubby holes we are now put in don't lend well into discussing other parts of an issue.