7 Replies Latest reply: Oct 20, 2013 6:35 AM by Tom McCreadie RSS

    Unable to use Helvetica on XP - Acrobat X Pro

    Aric_ Community Member

      I have a user that created a document on her MacBook in InDesign and exported it as a PDF. The document in question is a simple flier with a date/time on it for a meeting. What they want to be able to do is simply edit the PDF and save it as a new PDF with an updated date/time for each meeting, however we can't seem to do this while keeping it in Helvetica font. The Helvetica font is installed on the Windows machine however when we go to edit the text and go into TouchUp properties, every time we select Helvetica from the dropdown, it instantly auto-reverts to Arial (which I've read is the Windows equivelant to Helvetica.) I've verified that we can use the Helvetica font in word documents just fine, and it is the same font. I've checked Distiller to make sure it has the WINDOWS\Fonts path set.


      The nature of it instantly auto-reverting without an error or anything seems like a bug to me but we tested on a second machine with the same setup and verified it has the same auto-revert issue.

        • 1. Re: Unable to use Helvetica on XP - Acrobat X Pro
          Bill@VT MVP

          On a PC, Arial is the replacement for Helvetica and there is no native Helvetica on Windows. The Helvetica you installed may not be the same as the Helvetica on the MAC system (just the name being the same does not meant they are the same). What you want to do is probably best done with a form anyway, and just leave the form text to be the default font -- don't force it.


          So, what is the problem with Arial? It is basically an equivalent font. If you want to edit the file on a PC, probably best to just let it revert to Arial and forget it.

          • 2. Re: Unable to use Helvetica on XP - Acrobat X Pro
            Test Screen Name MVP

            Also, don't assume Helvetica is installed just because you see it in font lists e.g. in Word. There are reasons it may appear in that list without being installed. Check the Fonts control panel.

            • 3. Re: Unable to use Helvetica on XP - Acrobat X Pro
              Aric_ Community Member

              The issue is this is a corporate thing, the CxO's want Helvetica, not Arial, and because the graphic designer and assistant work on Mac's they can create the stuff in Helvetica, however this is something that we want anybody to be able to modify after the fact. I would agree to simply let it use Arial except for the fact that the difference in the fonts is very obvious when sitting side by side. They would have to convert all their documents to Arial and probably redesign the whole thing when the spacing ends up different.


              The font is technically the exact same font that was used on the Mac but I'm sure I know the reason it's not working in this case. The one question I can't seem to find the answer to in all my googling is how to get/purchase Helvetica for Windows. Not a similar font but the exact same version that's used on Macs.



              Of course none of this addresses my issue of why it auto-reverts only when you select the converted Helvetica font. It seems like an unaddressed issue in the program where since nobody would probably run into this for the most part, they don't have anything implemented to catch the error and display a message telling you that you can't do that. Instead it just reverts it without any indiciation as to why it's reverting it.


              Oh how I despise typography...

              • 4. Re: Unable to use Helvetica on XP - Acrobat X Pro
                Test Screen Name MVP

                The relationship between Helvetica and Arial in PDF is more complicated than you might imagine.


                Helvetica and Arial are considered absolutely interchangeable.

                Helvetica has a special significance, it never needs to be embedded; all PDF viewers must display it.

                Early releases of Acrobat included a copy of Helvetica and used it.

                Later released of Acrobat switched to including a copy of Arial (they don't use the system Arial for that) which substitutes for Helvetica.

                But if it is embedded, Acrobat might or might not show it, or might show a system Helvetica (if available), or Arial, according to settings.


                I seem to remember comparing them and not seeing any differences. What letters do you see different?

                • 5. Re: Unable to use Helvetica on XP - Acrobat X Pro
                  Aric_ Community Member

                  The number 1 was very apparent which the flier happens to use a lot of. R's and A's are also noticeable with a curl on the bottom right. Of course you also have to realize these are fliers so the font size is proabably 72+ where it's going to be far more apparent.


                  Because of this we actually started looking at the fonts on a lot of their marketing pieces and realized they switch between Arial and Helvetica a lot between different fliers/brochures and whatnot.


                  I did find the right font pack that we need from Linotype.com but I don't want to purchase it only to find out Acrobat reverts to Arial just like it currently does because of the "interchangeability." I'm not quite sure what to do in this case as I'm sure they probably don't do refunds for font purchases. I think I'll have to take the question to Linotype though and report back if I still have issues with the "official" font auto-reverting.


                  Thanks for the help.

                  • 6. Re: Unable to use Helvetica on XP - Acrobat X Pro
                    Phillip M Jones Community Member

                    It odd Helvetica  started out as an Aodobe Font and the original Fonts used on the first Mac were licensed from Adobe. Helvetica was so Popular Microsoft came out with Arial as an equivalent.


                    However there were differences so Apple came out with a licensed a version of Arial  and MS licensed a version of Helvtica. So Both platforms have, or are supposed to have Both Arial and Helvetica on their systems.


                    What adobe chooses to do is up to Adobe. If  the same font is on Both systems Acrobat or indesign or whatever is supposed to honor it. Whether they do or not who knows.  I've sent PDF to people on PCs using. And they have had no issues. Even to the point of having to do touchups and same from me touching up stuff from PC's.

                    • 7. Re: Unable to use Helvetica on XP - Acrobat X Pro
                      Tom McCreadie

                      If you arange for the OpenType version of Helvetica to be installed throughout the organization, you ought to have no problems, as OpenType has cross-platform support for Windows and mac