Accessing Font Information

Datalogics distributes Adobe PDF Library with a set of custom font, CMAP, and Unicode font files, stored in the APDFL/Resource directory.  Additional fonts must be licensed or purchased separately. After you install fonts on your machine in font resource folders that are searched by Adobe PDF Library, the product should find them automatically and make use of them as needed. You may need to define or update environment variables on your system to ensure that the font resources are found by your application.

Running a test composition to embed your new fonts in an output PDF document is a good way to ensure that your resources are available to your application.

Fonts that Can be Embedded in a PDF document

The Adobe PDF Library allows you to embed Type 1, TrueType, and OpenType fonts in a PDF document.

Adobe Systems developed Type 1 font as a proprietary PostScript font, but later released the specification to other developers. Type 1 was popular in graphics and desktop publishing.

TrueType fonts were developed by Apple in 1991 and then licensed to Microsoft for use in Windows environments, so TrueType is today a standard for business and home use. TrueType fonts offer font users and developers a great deal of control when rendering fonts, as characters can be easily scaled up or down and managed to the level of the individual pixel in most cases.

OpenType is an extension of TrueType, and was introduced by Microsoft in 1994. Adobe Systems partnered with Microsoft , adding their Type 1 technology to OpenType.

The Base 14 fonts are a subset of the Type 1 fonts that are installed with Adobe Acrobat and commonly used with PDF documents. These 14 fonts include five typefaces:

  • Times Roman: Standard, bold, italic, bold/italic
  • Helvetica: Standard, bold, italic, bold/italic
  • Courier: Standard, bold, italic, bold/italic
  • Symbol: which provides mathematical and special purpose characters
  • Zapf: A set of small printer ornaments, like check marks and pointers

Embedding and Subsetting Fonts

Embedding and saving fonts in your output PDF documents will ensure that the document can be viewed and printed in its original form months and years later.  PDF documents that do not have embedded fonts are smaller, but those fonts will be needed again later for viewing or printing the document. At that point, they must then be either supplied from an external source, or simulated via MultiMaster fonts if a specified font is not available.

Both Adobe Systems and Datalogics recommend that you set up applications to embed and subset all fonts wherever possible. Subsetting those fonts will reduce the space required, and thus the size of the file, by including only those glyphs (characters) that are actually used in the document. Subsetting is not recommended if the file may need to be edited later using Adobe Acrobat or a similar utility, since any new text introduced may need other glyphs beyond those that were provided in the font subset.

Font Embedding Restrictions

Note that Adobe PDF Library will not embed a font for use in a PDF document if that font is not properly licensed for use. The Library will check for a non-embed flag within the font before embedding it, and will return an exception if the font’s licensing does not permit that use. Contact your font provider as needed.

This does not mean that you cannot use this font for creating a PDF document, but the resulting file can only reference the font, not embed it within the document. Viewing the document on another machine will require that font to be available on that machine for proper viewing and printing, or else Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader will attempt to simulate its appearance with a MultiMaster font. For elaborate, stylized typefaces, this substitution may not work very well; for Symbolic fonts, it might be impossible.

On Windows platforms, a free Font Properties Extension utility is available from Microsoft:

Use this tool to license restrictions before you attempt to create documents.

Highlight a font file name, right click, and click Properties. Then, click the Embedding tab. In the examples below, one font can be embedded in an output PDF document, and the other cannot.

Free-Front-Properties-extension-1 Free-Front-Properties-extension-2