Office Watch

Office 2013

Office Mobile / iPad

Office 2010

Office 2007

Office 2003

Office XP

Office for Mere Mortals



Buying Office

Office 365


Office News Wire

Join us!

Our Ebooks

Mobile | PDA



Command Finder

Microsoft Office Bookshop



Font embedding problems in Office

Just because Office lets you embed a font doesn’t mean it will work.

View this page on the new web site - click here

by Office Watch

Bookmark and Share

  | Mobile | click for more article services     

View this page on the new web site - click here

Word and PowerPoint have options to embed a font into the document, so why doesn’t it work?

In theory you can select the ‘Embed fonts’ option for a document and all the necessary fonts will be included in the document. That means the fonts will appear, as the maker intended, when opened on another computer even if it doesn’t have that font installed.

But it doesn’t always work that way. Open the document on another computer and some totally different font appears. In some cases, with symbol fonts, some totally different symbol shows up.

It’s not a strictly a bug in Office, even though it looks and quacks like a mallardian bug. Office is behaving correctly, however there’s no warning or indication that font embedding won’t work.

The problem is licensing. Any font that you buy has limitations on its use and one of the limits is embedding a font. Most purchased fonts don’t let you embed them into documents.

Office obeys that font restriction but Microsoft has NO warning that when trying to embed a restricted font.

You might think there would be a warning under the ‘Prepare for Sharing’ checks available to test documents before they are sent out. Bad luck, there’s nothing in Office 2007 or Office 2010.

Office 2007 - Prepare menu image from Font embedding problems in Office at

Office - Prepare for Sharing options image from Font embedding problems in Office at

Similarly the Check Compatibility or Check Accessibility tools don’t warn about this most basic of compatibility issues.

Know thy font

The only way you can stop this problem is by knowing the license rules for any font you use in a document.

The fonts that come with Windows and Office can be embedded. For other fonts you buy or get from the Internet you should check before using in a document you’re going to send out.

Generally speaking, purchased fonts have embedding restrictions while free fonts from various web sites do not.

Go to Control Panel | Fonts, choose the font, right-click to choose Properties then go to the Details tab:

Font Properties - Restricted font example image from Font embedding problems in Office at

If it says ‘Restricted’ under Font embeddability then Office won’t embed the font into a document, regardless of the setting and lack of warnings.

Font embeddability settings ‘Editable’ or ‘Installable’ mean you can embed the font into Office documents.

In Windows 7 you can see the Font embeddability status of all fonts in a list. Go to Control Panel | Fonts then switch to Details view. Way over on the right should be a ‘Font Embeddability’ column; if necessary, right-click on the column headings to make it display.

Windows 7 - font embeddability in CP - Fonts - details view image from Font embedding problems in Office at


If you want to include a non-embeddable font in a document there are some alternatives, depending on whether you want the receiver to edit the document or just view it.

For group editing you need to use embeddable fonts or ensure that all computers that edit the document have the necessary fonts installed. If you can’t do that then you have to switch to embeddable or common fonts.

If you only want others to preview or read a document then there are many other choices:

  • Save to PDF. The Office ‘Save as PDF’ settings include an option to explicitly deal with non-embeddable fonts.
    Office - Save to PDF option - Bitmap text for non embed fonts image from Font embedding problems in Office at

  • Change the text to an image. This only works if the special font is used in a heading or ‘one off’ place in the document. Take a screen image of the heading then replace the text with a picture of the same text/font.

Thanks to Ron Bowd for his font question and help with details for this article.

Article posted: Monday, 26 September 2011

View this page on the new web site - click here

there's more ...

If you liked this article you'll LOVE our new ebooks.

Office 2013: the real startup guide

OFFICE 2013: the real startup guide Everything you need to know about Office 2013 but Microsoft won't tell you.

How to save money, install, configure and use the new features in Office 2013.  Get it today - click here.

Windows 8 for Microsoft Office users

Windows 8 for Microsoft Office users A practical guide the new, changed and unfamiliar in Windows 8

A focused and unvarnished look at Windows 8, especially written for the many people who use Microsoft Office  Get it today - click here.

ORGANIZING OUTLOOK EMAIL - tame your Outlook 2010 Inbox

100+ pages of practical tips and help to streamline, automate and search your Inbox.  Get more than you ever thought possible from Outlook.  Read it today - click here.

More from Office Watch:

Article Services sponsored by: Office Watch Ebooks - available now to download and read today.
RSS feed for this category Subscribe

Translate | Mobile | Links
 Add to: Bookmarks | | DiggThis | Yahoo! My Web

New & Popular
» New web site
» Two ways for sorting by Number
» Office for iPad, September updates
» Why is Gene Cernan ignored in Word?
» DropBox prices drop but is it enough?
» Sort by hidden column in Word

Office Watch, Office for Mere Mortals, Access Watch and all titles used within the publications are Copyright © 1996-2014 Office Watch.
Microsoft Office, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Powerpoint and doubtless many other names are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.

Search  |  Sitemap |  Popular Topics | Privacy Statement |  Advertising |  Twitter |  Feedback / Contact Us
Office Watch is definitely not affiliated with Microsoft - and that's just one reason why we are so useful to Microsoft Office users around the world J (Erko).