Issue: Documents do not look the same on all devices – fonts aren’t displaying correctly

If the text looks different – i.e. the font is spaced incorrectly or does not look correct – then this is because the fonts in the document are only available on some of the machines/devices opening the document but not on others.  The Viewer substitutes unavailable fonts with default ones which have different character widths, spacing etc. and the document therefore ends up looking different.

There are 2 options available to you:

  1. Embed the fonts in the PDF document
  2. Flatten the PDF in Safeguard Writer (Customization Tab > Optimize PDF > Flatten All Pages).  If you choose this option then also check the ‘Rebuild Text’ checkbox so that the document will still be searchable.

We strongly recommend you embed fonts in the PDF because a flattened document is a bitmap which could end up being 20 times larger in size than the original and therefore could be made unusable to a percentage of your user base.

See also guidelines for publishing PDF files.

How to embed fonts in PDF files

Before embedding fonts in your PDF files make sure the fonts you are using allow this.  Fonts can be:

  • Installable – allow embedding in a PDF file
  • Editable – allow embedding in a PDF file
  • Print and Preview Only – allow embedding in a PDF file
  • Restricted – cannot be embedded in a PDF file

In order to check if a font is embeddable, go to Control Panel > Fonts – find the font you want to embed – right click it and choose Properties – go to the Details tab and check the Value under “Font embeddability”.

Embedding fonts in Word for use with Microsoft Office’s in-built PDF builder

  • Microsoft Word 1997, 2000, 2002, 2003: in the Tools menu click Options – click the Save tab – check the box next to “Embed TrueType Fonts” – click OK
  • Microsoft Word 2007: click the Office button – click “Word Options” – click Save at the left – click the box next to “Embed Fonts in the File” – click OK
  • Microsoft Word 2010: click the File tab – click Options – click Save at the left – click the box next to “Embed Fonts in the File” – click OK
  • Microsoft Word 2013, 2016: click the File tab – click Options – go to the Save tab – click the box next to “Embed Fonts in the File” – click Save

Regardless of the Word version used, make sure the option to “Do not embed common system fonts” is disabled.

Embedding fonts in a PDF using Adobe Acrobat

If you are using Acrobat within Word

  1. Go to the ACROBAT tab and click on Preferences.
  2. In the Acrobat PDF Maker window go to the Settings tab:

    – if your document is only text you can simply choose the “High Quality Print” option

    – if your document also contains images and you would like to keep the size small, leave Standard as the setting used, then click the Edit button next to it – in the “Standard – Adobe PDF Settings” window click on Fonts in the left list – make sure the “Embed all fonts” option is selected – in the Never Embed list remove all fonts present there

If you are using the Acrobat PDF print driver (print to PDF)

This option is NOT recommended as it does not retain hyperlinks

  • click on File > Print
  • in the print window choose “Adobe PDF” as the printer
  • click the Properties button to the right
  • in the Adobe PDF Document Properties go to the “Adobe PDF Settings” tab
  • in the Default Settings drop down list “Standard” should be selected

    – if your document is only text you can simply choose the “High Quality Print” option

    – if your document also contains images and you would like to keep the size small, leave Standard as the setting used, then click the Edit button next to it – in the “Standard – Adobe PDF Settings” window click on Fonts in the left list – make sure the “Embed all fonts” option is selected – in the Never Embed list remove all fonts present there

  • click OK
  • click Print
  • browse to a location where you want to save the PDF file
  • click Save

Checking what fonts have been embedded into the PDF

To check what fonts have been embedded, open the PDF and see what fonts are listed in the File > Properties > Fonts Tab.