1 2 Previous Next 58 Replies Latest reply on Sep 26, 2016 8:44 AM by MW Design

    Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?

    badpixxxel

      Hello,

       

      Do I need to convert the fonts to outlines when exporting to .pdf?

      How about before packaging the finished job? (I might be wrong, but I think not since the fonts are packaged along with all the elements).

       

      Thank you!

        • 1. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
          Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          You should really never have to convert fonts to outlines when exporting to PDF.

           

          Here's a posting I wrote almost 10 years ago which is still true today:

           

          Outlining Fonts: Is It Necessary? - InDesignSecrets : InDesignSecrets

           

          Occasionally, a printer may insist on having fonts outlined, even though it's really not necessary. This is the best method in the rare case when it's necessary:

           

          Outlining Fonts, the 2016 Edition - InDesignSecrets : InDesignSecrets

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
            badpixxxel Level 1

            Thank you Steve for the prompt answer. I am honored to meet you. As dealing with my first project in InDesign, I've read dozens of articles from your website and always found an answer to my problems.

             

            Unfortunately the printer said they need the fonts converted to outlines, that's how they work and I was wondering if exported pdf will give them tall the font related information they need to print quality text without converting to outlines as they requested.

            • 3. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
              Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Read the quote from Dov Isaacs, Adobe Principal Scientist, in the 2nd linked article:

               

              "We are aware of various “print service providers” who are under the distinct wrong impression that converting text to outlines is somehow more reliable that leaving text as text realized by fonts. Other than some dicey, prehistoric RIPs based on non-Adobe technology going back over fifteen years or more, we are not aware of any problem during the RIP process due to fonts. If the font is embedded in the PDF and view correctly in Adobe Acrobat, it should RIP! If you have a “bad font,” you won't be able to view the PDF file in Acrobat nor will converting text to outlines even work."

               

              I'll stick by what he says.

              • 4. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                George_Salnik Adobe Community Professional

                @Steve Werner

                You are live in the future. Don't forget that somebody live in the real past. Such as, my city with many small-prepress where still not buy CTP and using old film of imagesetter. They are really need files with outlined text in next decade of years

                And, yes, in my city some white-black newspapers are use transparent paper for light by lamp to print forms, and not use imagesetter film(cheaper).

                 

                @badpixxxel

                Forget about outlines in ID. Forget forever. Sometime you will forget to save old non-outline indd and will tear your hairs because can't correct your text.

                 

                Do it this in Acrobat Pro with PitStop, as example. Or by Acrobat Pro Flattener (I prefer Pitstop, because native acrobat feature have a bugs periodically). But if your fonts are "good" you can use flattener.

                 

                2016-08-04_23-55-38.png

                • 5. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                  Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  Thanks, George. That's why I included Dov's recommendation of the best way to outline (if you are forced to).

                  • 6. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                    Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                    Ah, I see people are using my name in vain again!  

                     

                    To be very explicit, if one must outline text, the only reliable place to do it is within Acrobat and with Acrobat Pro DC, you can do that using one of the provided Preflight Profiles, Convert Fonts to Outlines. You don't need to play tricks with flatteners and you don't need to pay extra for PitStop (nice software, but totally unnecessary for this task).

                     

                    That having been said, even with old film imagesetters, the concept of outlining text is rubbish. It is one of those urban legends (that outlining text — converting text rendered with fonts to filled polygons — is “safer” than using text rendered with fonts) that keeps on being propagated from one poorly trained prepress operator to the next. All you accomplish is production of a PDF file that is exceptionally bloated in size, takes much, much longer to RIP, often prints with significantly lower quality, and is neither editable (Acrobat text touchup) or searchable. When I dare anyone propagating this “conversion to outlines” rubbish to show me examples where this is really necessary (assuming the PDF file with the embedded font displays correctly on-screen), the only response I get is either “I'll get back to you” or “but others told me that this is true.” You should reasonably assume that any so-called prepress professional that unconditionally demands “outlined text” for all print jobs likely has other significant gaps in their professional training as well.

                     

                              - Dov

                    3 people found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                      jane-e Adobe Community Professional

                      Dov Isaacs wrote:

                       

                      Ah, I see people are using my name in vain again!

                       

                      - Dov

                      At least they are spelling it correctly!

                      • 8. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                        Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                        Jane Edwards wrote:

                         

                        Dov Isaacs wrote:

                         

                        Ah, I see people are using my name in vain again!

                         

                        - Dov

                        At least they are spelling it correctly!

                        At least if they print it out, they don't have to discard it in a geniza

                        • 9. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                          George_Salnik Adobe Community Professional

                          @Dov Isaacs

                          >> When I dare anyone propagating this “conversion to outlines” rubbish to show me examples where this is really necessary

                          you can't see this by the soft. You can see this on the printed film. Or OMG in ready print circulation if film/form not reviewed before print. I see by my eyes, many times when "not-good" types converts to garbage in some places of film if not do outline.

                           

                          geniza? What?

                          • 10. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                            Test Screen Name Most Valuable Participant

                            Ok, to follow up... You have seen cases of bad fonts in film. how old is your RIP software? Did you report this to the makers of that software?

                            • 11. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                              Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              I highly recommend you find a new printers.

                              • 12. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                Abambo Adobe Community Professional

                                There is absolutely no reason to create outline fonts for InDesign generated PDFs. This said, there are service providers asking for outlined fonts. In all of my recent cases, those were Asian print service providers. May be they are working with old technology.

                                 

                                I need to say that even in pre-pdf times, I mostly created EPS or PS files with embedded fonts and that was quite sufficient to get high quality prints.

                                 

                                If a print service partner in my region would ask me for vectorized fonts, I would cancel the job with them.

                                 

                                The only logical reason today to outline fonts is with logos.

                                • 13. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                  badpixxxel Level 1

                                  Thank you all so much for your answers, you're truly an invaluable help. This online community is the best I have ever seen, and I've seen many...

                                   

                                  Searching for new printer while making final touch ups to my first ever mini brochure

                                  • 14. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                    Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                    Lucien SCHILLING wrote:

                                     

                                    …The only logical reason today to outline fonts is with logos.

                                    Even for logos, outlining text is not really necessary. Many companies, including Adobe, actually have a logo font. Glyphs from a logo font or even from a commercial font used in a logo can readily be embedded, subsetted, in PDF (or even EPS) and yield much higher quality than the “outlined” equivalent.

                                     

                                    (Note to those of you who will then say, but the font doesn't allow embedding … The fact is that most fonts that don't permit embedding in PDF or EPS also don't allow outlining or rasterization as a workaround. Read the EULAs!!!)

                                     

                                    Yes, outlining makes sense if you need to make a .WMF or .EMF version of a logo for use with Microsoft Office products that don't support the PDF imaging model.

                                     

                                    In the general case, outlining makes sense only when you need artistic effects on glyphs that cannot be readily achieved through normal font text rendering transformations including obliquing, stretching either horizontally or vertically, rotation, etc. (Again, read your EULAs — some fonts don't allow for this, either!)

                                     

                                              - Dov

                                    1 person found this helpful
                                    • 15. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                      Eugene Tyson Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      It would be wonderful if designers did actually embed the font in the ai/pdf/eps files, but they don't and work on the old school way of outlining everything. This is probably due to misinformation being passed down from generation to generation of designer/prepress people.

                                       

                                      In regards to the MS Office debacle, I have greater success just dropping the .ai file directly into MS Office. It turns out a lot sharper. MS seems to do some under the hood operation to convert it to an appropriate file format.

                                       

                                      As for outlining fonts, I'm of the opinion that  this only needs to be done if you're going to do some ornamental decoration or flourishes with the letters. There are other legitimate reasons (for example one time the RIP kept stripping out 1 letter in a sentence on a large format - outlined the fonts and it worked (didn't have time to investigate further)).

                                       

                                      Let's just say - don't outline fonts 99% of the time - but you can do it if you need to do it for

                                      • 16. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                        Abambo Adobe Community Professional

                                        Dov Isaacs wrote:

                                         

                                        (Note to those of you who will then say, but the font doesn't allow embedding … The fact is that most fonts that don't permit embedding in PDF or EPS also don't allow outlining or rasterization as a workaround. Read the EULAs!!!)

                                        Those fonts are practically unusable. Embedding fonts is a must as of today.

                                         

                                        Yes, outlining makes sense if you need to make a .WMF or .EMF version of a logo for use with Microsoft Office products that don't support the PDF imaging model.

                                        Except for the very latest versions of Office, where I din't try, .WMF and .EMF files are unusable for Microsoft Office programs. I have much better results with using JPEG or PNG. I discourage my users importing EMF/WMF file formats.

                                         

                                        What software companies outside of Adobe supports the PDF imaging model? Microsoft doesn't! They even don't support their own model.

                                         

                                        Dov Isaacs wrote:

                                        Even for logos, outlining text is not really necessary. Many companies, including Adobe, actually have a logo font. Glyphs from a logo font or even from a commercial font used in a logo can readily be embedded, subsetted, in PDF (or even EPS) and yield much higher quality than the “outlined” equivalent.

                                        Many companies: yes, most companies: no. Well Adobe is not quite an example for a standard company, isn't it? Most of the small mechanical workshops around the corner do not have a customized font or glyph.

                                         

                                        When creating a logo, I include always the verctorized version, because it gives the least headache for me. Anyhow, most logos are heavily customized. Opening my own designs for editing and modifications creates some problems, because I need to reload the fonts used. It's not that an embeded font does allow editing the logo, even in parts unrelated to the font (like new colour schemes).

                                        • 17. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                          skiddydoodah Level 1

                                          I have come across in the past some prepress operators try to open pdf in Illustrator to plan / repurpose the pdf ready for their systems, doing this will require fonts to be supplied - or outlined, we stopped using these outdated printers.

                                          • 18. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                            Abambo Adobe Community Professional

                                            A correctly generated PDF should not need a touch up from any program except the RIP. I also ask my (internal) customers to seek alternatives to those printers.

                                            • 19. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                              Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                              Lucien SCHILLING,

                                               

                                              Interesting comment about EMF/WMF. At least under Windows with Office 2013/2016, EMF and WMF do in fact “work” although you need to be care what produces those files. Note that EMF and WMF support vector. JPEG and PNG are raster formats that can't scale and maintain full quality. And JPEG is lossy with particularly bad artifacts when compressing what could/should be vector or text content.

                                               

                                              I'm in violent agreement with you with regards to font EULAs that don't permit at least preview and print embedding (as well as those that charge “royalties” for distribution of PDF files in which their fonts are embedded) — they are effectively useless!

                                               

                                                        - Dov

                                              • 20. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                                Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                                Oh, and yes, we and the rest of the industry would be tickled pink if Microsoft adopted the PDF imaging model. As it is, the Office formats not only don't support PDF, but they don't fully support HTML/CSS or even their own crocked up XPS format.

                                                 

                                                          - Dov

                                                • 21. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                                  Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                                  “Dropping an AI file directly into MS Office” may appear to work with Microsoft Office applications under MacOS, but it certainly doesn't work with Microsoft Office under Windows!!! And the reality is that when it does work under MacOS, it is only because the .AI file was saved with PDF compatibility in which case not only is the Illustrator format data stored as private data in a PDF wrapper, but imageable PDF content is also put into the file.

                                                   

                                                  If you try to place a PDF file into an Office document under Windows, at best you will get a relatively low resolution, low quality raster representation of the page. El Yucko!

                                                   

                                                            - Dov

                                                  1 person found this helpful
                                                  • 22. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                                    Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                                    Paul Skidmore wrote:

                                                     

                                                    I have come across in the past some prepress operators try to open pdf in Illustrator to plan / repurpose the pdf ready for their systems, doing this will require fonts to be supplied - or outlined, we stopped using these outdated printers.

                                                    As I have stated many times on these forums, Adobe Illustrator is not, repeat not, repeat yet again not a general purpose PDF file editor. The only PDF files that Adobe Illustrator can safely edit are Illustrator files explicitly saved as PDF with the Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities option enabled. This also assumes that the fonts from the original Illustrator file are installed on the system on which this editing is occurring. In all other circumstances, it is very possible that content will be either modified or lost, colors changed, text encoding mucked up, etc.

                                                     

                                                    It is exceptionally common that when customers complain to Adobe that content from Adobe applications prints fine locally but what comes back from their “professional printers” is all messed up – missing content, wrong fonts, wrong colors, etc. – we find that said “professional printer” opens all submitted PDF files in Illustrator to “check and fix them” not realizing that they are in fact ruining them. I always check with prospective print service providers as to their actual, full workflow before engaging their services. It is amazing what some of these folks do based on faulty urban legends passed along over the years. The more “hands” that touch a PDF file between the time it is created and the time is goes through the RIP, the more likely it is going to be corrupted in one way or another. Unfortunately, there are many vendors out there selling printing companies all sorts of snake oil workflow solutions that supposedly prevent problems and but in fact generally cause more problems than they find or fix!

                                                     

                                                              - Dov

                                                    • 23. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                                      Abambo Adobe Community Professional

                                                      Dov Isaacs wrote:

                                                       

                                                      Interesting comment about EMF/WMF. At least under Windows with Office 2013/2016, EMF and WMF do in fact “work” although you need to be care what produces those files.

                                                       

                                                      I'm using Word since the very beginning of Windows 3.1. That means that I had a lot of bad experience with Office. It seams that Adobe shares my concerns because "Export for Office" produces ... .PNG files. I have to admit that for the latest Office, I did not check.

                                                       

                                                      Dov Isaacs wrote:

                                                      JPEG and PNG are raster formats that can't scale and maintain full quality. And JPEG is lossy with particularly bad artifacts when compressing what could/should be vector or text content.

                                                      Agree! As always you need to know what you do ... Or at least do as you where told to do.

                                                      • 24. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                                        BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                                        If you happen to need WMF files, I have found that the best application to output them is still CorelDRAW.

                                                        • 25. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                                          Abambo Adobe Community Professional

                                                          The problem is not creation of but importing WMF to Word. My conclusion is to avoid EMF and WMF.

                                                          • 26. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                                            John Mensinger Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                            Feierwoon wrote:

                                                             

                                                            The problem is not creation of but importing WMF to Word.

                                                            Hmmm...never had a problem here.

                                                             

                                                            In any case, the first thing I always attempt when I need vector art in MS Office is Copy / Paste Special > Enhanced Metafile... It doesn't work with 100% of the possible clipboard contents (like live Illustrator blends, effects, etc.), but when it does work, it's perfect.

                                                            • 27. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                                              BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                                              I’m sorry, but that’s just poor advice. WMF/EMF work just fine in Office applications.

                                                               

                                                              I have one client with a legacy system that requires them for inserting logos which I’ve created using CorelDRAW. It’s is quite simply the right format for Office.

                                                              • 28. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                                                Abambo Adobe Community Professional

                                                                I used Corel Draw a lot, even designed folders in Corel. Our logo, which is quite simple and in black and white was a mess when imported into Word. And it got exported from Corel... I found the best way to get graphics to Office is PNG.

                                                                 

                                                                To be honest: I had graphics that were fine to be imported into Word as WMF, but not in a consistent manner. And over time I got an expert in tweaking graphics to work In word. We do all of our users manuals in that software. I would prefer something more stable.

                                                                • 29. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                                                  corwins

                                                                  We're a large format printer and I have just received a PDF (132 PDF's actually) that I need to alter and prep in Illustrator. I see a lot of comments on here saying that printers should never need to open a PDF but (and I'm open to being corrected or shown alternative solution) we believe that we do need to prepare the PDF's prior to printing.

                                                                   

                                                                  For example with this job we are printing 132 unique "thought bubbles". The client has given us the die line in the PDF.

                                                                   

                                                                  I need to first place the PDF's on the sheet (96" x 48"), I arrange them to make efficient use of the material, then embed them. I then need to select all of the die lines and move them to a separate layer which I label CUT.

                                                                   

                                                                  I then make a third layer which a label REG. On this layer I place .25inch black dots or registration dots on the sheet for our i-Cut flatbed CNC/cutter to read.

                                                                   

                                                                  Finally the third layer marked ART I place the PDF's, but in this case and a lot of cases die lines are in the PDF and I need to extract them. OR there needs to be a 5 channel or white ink layer put in certain spots, so often I need to embed them. This is fine if there's just one PDF that has font issues as I can take it into Acrobat Pro and outline it. But in this case I have 132 unique files.

                                                                   

                                                                  Is there a way to outline the fonts in Illustrator while or before they're embedded?  Hopefully this isn't a snake oil way of doing things..

                                                                  • 30. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                                                    Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                                                                    You should never open a PDF in Illustrator as it destroys content. You can place and link them, but this does not make them editable. If someone needs to outline a PDF for any reason, in Acrobat Pro > Print Production >  Preflight is a command to outline text. But there are rare reasons, when it becomes necessary, like cut plotters.

                                                                    • 31. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                                                      corwins Level 1

                                                                      Yes but that is not rare here, almost every job that goes though our shop in put on cut plotter or our flatbed cutter after printing. (a flatbed cutter is just a large version of a cut plotter that cut rigid substrates with drag knife or a router or a laser.)

                                                                       

                                                                      I'm curious why Illustrator would destroy a PDF. They are both Adobe products and more likely than not the PDF was created in and saved from Illustrator.

                                                                      • 32. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                                                        Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant
                                                                        1. If you don't have installed the same font (not only a font with the same name), the font is exchanged with a different one.
                                                                        2. Any text is broken apart, and slightly moved. Illustrator has a different text engine than any other application, Photoshop has a similar one.
                                                                        3. PDFs contain complicated and nested masks, opening in Illustrator it might get interpreted with a different result.

                                                                        Even if you have not all assets of a file used in an AI it is dangerous to open them as many do with placed files with an InDesign package.

                                                                        • 34. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                                                          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                                          corwins wrote:

                                                                           

                                                                          I'm curious why Illustrator would destroy a PDF. They are both Adobe products and more likely than not the PDF was created in and saved from Illustrator.

                                                                          Actually, that's the one time it IS OK to open and edit a PDF in Illustrator -- if it was saved from Illustrator retaining Illustrator compatibility.

                                                                           

                                                                          I feel your pain, by the way. The best solution, of course, is to get your clients to make properly layered files to begin with, but I do understand this is the real world. If they can't provide correctly made PDFs, maybe you should be asking for native files as well.

                                                                          • 35. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                                                            Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                                                            Per my responses earlier in this thread and on behalf of Adobe Systems Incorporated, I am strongly reinforcing my previous responses and those of Wilhelm Georg Adelberger and  Peter Spier.

                                                                             

                                                                            The only PDF files that are “safe” to open and edit in Adobe Illustrator are those PDF files created in Adobe Illustrator using the same version of Illustrator or later and for which (1) the save option for maintaining editability was specified, (2) you have all the original fonts from the PDF file installed on your system, and (3) you have any placed by linking assets installed on your system.

                                                                             

                                                                            In addition to the plagues mentioned above, you must remember that Illustrator only supports one color space at a time (other than for linked assets) and that PDF supports any number of concurrent color spaces. Thus, your colors can get mucked up terribly by opening a general PDF file in Illustrator.

                                                                             

                                                                            Of all the problems in prepress that we hear about at Adobe from our customers (including both designers and print professionals), the most common issues stem from somebody opening a PDF file in Illustrator to “check something” or apply some “simple fix” and then resaving the file yielding a ruined PDF file!

                                                                             

                                                                            You've been appropriately warned!

                                                                             

                                                                                      - Dov

                                                                            3 people found this helpful
                                                                            • 36. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                                                              corwins Level 1

                                                                              I will definitely heed this advice, though it will add time and complications for our clients.

                                                                               

                                                                              Are there any plans in the works to make PDF's more compatable with Illustrator?

                                                                              • 37. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                                                                Abambo Adobe Community Professional

                                                                                The advices will enhance the clients experience. Unfortuneatly, not all of your clients will use Illustrator for preparing their data. But all users should be following your instructions for optimal quality products.

                                                                                • 38. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                                                                  corwins Level 1

                                                                                  Lol I'm not sure about 'enhance' but that's very optimistic of you. I think we'll just remove PDF as a file option and go back to EPS which is too bad because EPS files are so large.

                                                                                  • 39. Re: Convert fonts to outlines - when is absolutely needed?
                                                                                    Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                                                                                    corwins schrieb:

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Lol I'm not sure about 'enhance' but that's very optimistic of you. I think we'll just remove PDF as a file option and go back to EPS which is too bad because EPS files are so large.

                                                                                    A terrible conclusion. As EPS is in the aspect of new functionality like transparency and color management a lossy file type, as it can't support it.

                                                                                    But when it comes to the edibility of EPS in Illustrator you face the very same problems as you do with PDFs. Illustrator is not a common EPS editor. Only those EPS which are created in Illustrator with the ability to edit in Illustrator are safe to open in Illustrator. All other EPS will be destroyed upon opening in Illustrator. Transparency was destroyed anyway before when EPS were saved in the first place.

                                                                                    So consider using EPS instead of PDFs as a very bad idea. Avoid EPS as much as you can.

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