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How to embed fonts in PDF files

In order to ensure your PDF file looks the same on all machines, you must make sure that your file carries its own copies of the fonts you have used. In technical terms, this is referred to as "embedding" your fonts. Generally speaking, there are two mechanisms to embed fonts in a PDF file:


Embed all fonts – A full copy of the entire character set of a font is stored in the PDF file
Embed a subset of fonts – Also calls subset fonts, only those characters that are actually used in the layout are stored in the PDF file. E.g.: If the "M" character doesn't appear anywhere in the text, that character is not included in the font.


Then how to embed or subset fonts in a PDF file? You can do it with Acrobat Distiller. It provides font embedding capabilities. When creating a pdf file, just select "embed fonts" from the "pdf settings" tab, then you can see the options below:

Embed Fonts

Then you can choose whether embedded all fonts or embedded all fonts to the PDF files. Actually there is no need to embed the base 14 fonts.Since these fonts are available in Acrobat Reader it is assumed that they will be available to any viewer and embedding would simply add unnecessarily to the file size. Here are the base 14 fonts below:

  • Courier, Courier-Bold, Courier-Oblique & Courier-BoldOblique
  • Times-Roman , Times-Bold , Times-Italic & Times-BoldItalic
  • Helvetica, Helvetica-Bold, Helvetica-Oblique & Helvetica-BoldOblique
  • Symbol
  • ZapfDingbats.