Completing a project for a self-publishing author means poring over content, style, formatting, and every little detail that will make your book look perfect once it is printed. Most writers use Microsoft Word or another similar program to create the project document, since it is the easiest way to edit, revise, or even use a template that will create a pleasing format for the project. But final drafts of a project for printing are not submitted in a Word document. Instead, submissions happen through PDF files and embedding fonts will assist in the printing process.
What Are Embedded Fonts?
Converting a document to a PDF is a fairly simple, straightforward process. But many new writers have never been required to embed fonts in PDFs even though embedding fonts in files for printing is a minimum requirement for final files that are published by professional online printers. PDF files need an extra step for the printers to “read” so that the fonts used in the document are replicated correctly and exactly as the document creator intended to preserve the look of the file. Embedding the fonts requires creators to specifically attach the font information to the PDF so that the printing will go smoothly.
How a Font Works
A font is simply the style of the text used in a document and many programs offer a wide variety of fonts to choose from as the overall look and feel of a document can be impacted greatly by the fonts the creator chooses. Fonts are enabled in a document based on the program used, like Microsoft Word. And information about the font is also stored on the creator’s computer like the specific font style and color. When a document is printed, the printer may or may not have the same font and settings as the creator’s computer had when the document was created, so sometimes fonts do not print exactly how the creator intended. Sometimes the font color or shape is off, the font shifts in the document, or a different font completely is used when the original font or settings cannot be replicated.
Can Every Font Be Embedded?
Unfortunately, no. But most fonts can be embedded in full or as subsets, because the font vendor set up the font settings so that they can be. If your project contains a specialty, unusual, or custom font, it is a good idea to check your font compatibility with being embedded within a PDF before a long document is created with that font. To check for compatibility, create a short page as a PDF that uses the font and then follow the steps below to see if the font is already embedded or to embed a font or subset of the font in that PDF. Learning about a font that cannot be embedded early on in a project can save creators and writers a lot of time and effort from being wasted, when an unusable font’s formatting and style have to be changed after the whole project has been completed.
PDFs and Embedding Fonts
PDFs with embedded fonts should be used to submit files for professional printing projects. Using a PDF file ensures that your document’s details are all packaged neatly for the printing company to read and will ensure a project will look exactly how the creator wants it to without any glitches during the printing process. In essence, the printer is replicating a snapshot of each page along with the directions for replicating fonts and designs that are embedded within the PDF file, so the printing computer can view and print the page correctly. Adobe programs like Illustrator or InDesign are used to create the PDF file with embedded fonts so that designs, artwork, books ,or other projects will retain their original look, formatting won’t change, and new fonts won’t be substituted when the reading device doesn’t have an original font. PDFs are meant to be transferred around by users, and they are a secure way to transfer files when formatting and style make a difference in the final product.
Check Your PDF for Embedded Fonts
Once you have converted a file to a PDF, check to see if fonts are already embedded in the file. The steps to follow are simple:
1 Open your PDF file.
2 Click on File>Document Properties.
3 Choose Fonts and then view the list of fonts
4 Font Types will be either TrueType or Type 1 fonts and all should be Embedded or Embedded Subset.
5 Confirm that all fonts intended to be used in the PDF file are included in this list.
Missing Fonts: How to Use Adobe to Embed Fonts in PDFs
After checking your PDF for all fonts you intended to be in the document, you may have to add missing fonts to this PDF so the printing process with your online printer will go smoothly. Adobe settings allow fonts to be embedded as a whole font or as a smaller subset of the font that is used. Subsetting a font allows the document to preserve exactly your version of the font and the font metrics and not the vendor’s settings. However, font vendors can decide whether or not to allow their fonts to be embedded, so creators may find that they are unable to embed certain fonts due to the vendor’s settings.
When a user opens or prints a PDF file and does not have access to the original fonts (either on their own device or through embedded or embedded subsets), Adobe Acrobat will temporarily substitute a Multiple Master font. Sans serif fonts will use AdobeSansMM and serif fonts will be subbed by AdobeSerifMM until a replacement font is embedded into the PDF.
Steps to Embedding Fonts in PDFs
PDF creators can embed fonts or subset fonts with the following steps. This process may occur at any time after the PDF file has been created since the process only applies to an individual file and not the program as a whole. The process of embedding fonts is the same for both Mac and Windows users as well.
1 Open the PDF file you want to use and click on the File tab.
2 Choose Print.
3 Select Adobe PDF.
4 Choose Properties (to the right of the Printer Name text box).
5 Click Adobe PDF Settings.
6 Choose Edit in Default Settings.
7 Choose Fonts.
8 Choose Subset Fonts then select 100% for embedded fonts when percent of characters used is less than.
9 Choose Embed All Fonts then find the folder on your device where all the fonts you are using are located.
10 Use the drop-down menu to select the folder(s) to Embed.
11 Place in the Always Embed box (not the Never Embed).
Once you have completed the above steps, it is a great idea to check your work before sending off the PDF file for professional usages like having it printed into a book. Send the embedded PDF to a friend or coworker to open and view to be sure that the fonts are all transferring correctly and no AdobeSerifMM or AdobeSansMM fonts are present. It is critical that another user and device views the file for this, rather than your own, because your device will have the correct fonts stored and will always show the right fonts. Creators of PDFs that are going to be used in large projects like a self-published book will want to make sure that every location where each font is used at least one time is checked, especially if the project contains multiple fonts throughout a big PDF file like a book draft.
Printing Your PDFs
Making sure that every detail of your PDFs is correct is just one of the steps that authors and creators must go through to prepare their documents for self-publishing with an online printer like Dazzle Printing. But the process to embed fonts or subset fonts is a basic process that ensures that the format and style of a project are preserved between its creation and its printing. Authors and creators spend a lot of time making sure that their project looks perfect and without embedding fonts or subset fonts, all of that hard work can be ruined when a new device views or prints the PDF. When your PDF is print-ready, working with a reliable printer is the final step in making your book, project or creation a reality with Dazzle Printing’s expert printing services. Check our online pricing calculators if you’d like to check printing to print your book.