Looking good: Font Embedding in PDF

The RX for Funky Fonts and Wonky Docs

Dress up your documents: make use of embedded fonts to make them look really spiffy.

PDF is designed to be portable. In order to make sure that the PDF can be displayed and printed looking just like the original, it might actually contain some fonts embedded in the PDF itself. That extra baggage makes the PDF larger than it might otherwise be, but also makes it capable of being faithfully reproduced later on other computers and devices – much more so than many other programs (like Word, Excel, etc.).

There’s no need for embedding fonts if your PDF contains no searchable text. But if it does, then those extra fonts are pretty useful. Its usually a good trade-off.

There is small set of 14 standard fonts that don’t need to be embedded: they are defined as the baseline for all PDF. According to Wikipedia, the standard 14  typefaces have a special significance in PDF documents. Those fonts are:

These fonts, or suitable substitute fonts with the same metrics, should be available in most PDF readers, but they are not guaranteed to be available in the reader, and may only display correctly if the system has them installed. Fonts may be substituted if they are not embedded in a PDF. If your document was comprised of only these 14 fonts, the resulting PDF would likely be smaller than if you use other fonts. Good to know!

Other fonts can be embedded in the PDF so that display is consistent and faithful across platforms. So that funky font you used for a document title; your MICR code font; bar code, or other unique fonts will show up in your document viewer the same way as when you email it to your customer or supplier! PDF producing software often gives you the option to embed fonts, or not. Dash DDX™ Document Archiving software embeds fonts by default in the PDFs it creates through our DDX Print Driver (part of the DDX.Port Form Recognition Module).

All the best-dressed documents sport some embedded fonts. Don’t be left out!