Conflicting messages about missing fonts

I’m working on a magazine. It consists of content I’ve designed, as well as pdf ads created by other designers. This is on a new Mac. I didn’t migrate the postscript fonts over, so I’m pretty sure they’re all gone, though Indesign keeps looking for them until I replace them with something from Monotype subscription fonts.

When I create PDFs, I don’t get any font error messages. When I have the magazine open in Indesign, Preflight panel on, it says No Errors. If I do Type > Find/Replace Fonts, it says Missing Fonts: 0. But if I do File > Package, it says 8 fonts missing. The missing info for each reads like this:

Minion Regular - Type ??? - Status Missing - Protected ???

ID can’t tell me where in the doc these 8 fonts appear.

Thoughts? Is this something that requires attention?

They’ll be missing in linked files likely.

I’d start troubleshooting by opening up all of the PDFs and press Command + D to see a list of fonts used. See if any of the PDFs use Minion Regular.

The usual suspect I find is some color box or cut path set with its Content as “text” instead of graphic.

If I remember correctly, Minion Pro is the factory default font for InDesign.

As PD mentioned, if you track down the problem, it often leads to something where a font was assigned to some object without any type being there. The underlying code will say everything that follows is Minion Pro Regular but is immediately canceled out with no characters typed in. Other times, someone might create a text box and fill it with text without noticing a blank space at the end that retains the default font.

But thinking on it, those usually come up in a Find Font search. I’m leaning now more toward Smurf’s thinking it is in a link. Illustrator files in particular are notoriously bad for only needing a text click to sink an errant font in there.

Here’s a theory that I’ve never bothered to check out since it’s easier to fix the problem and move on.

Someone creates a document and inadvertently inserts a call to the default font in one of the ways we’ve mentioned. When saving it as a PDF, the box instructing a subset of the font be included is checked by default. Since no actual character was used, the subset is empty. The file passes all the checks until it finally registers as a font call with a missing font when inserted into another application and checked again.

InDesign or Acrobat ought to be smart enough to look for this kind of stuff, but then again…

I started deleting things, starting with all the PDF ads, then would try to package again to see if that solved the issue. It turned out to be a frame, that even though it looked empty, had 8 styles applied to it, as well as 57 logos and 2 photos. I don’t know how that was even possible. I’m going to see if I can replicate.

The fix was to copy all the text in that frame, delete that frame, create a new frame in the same location, then paste the text into it. That solved the missing font issue, and removed all of those unnecessary graphics from the links panel.

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I’m glad you found the issue. This is the kind of thing that frustrates me. The software knows exactly where the problem is since it identified the issue, yet it doesn’t supply enough feedback to easily pinpoint where the problem is. Instead, it becomes an hour’s-long process of elimination similar to what you just went through.

I’ve seen that happen where the photo is moved out of the frame rather than deleted. But 57 times? That’s perserverence! (I didn’t know you could do that either. Would be interested if you can replicate)

So it was a font in a linked graphic/image then?

Or an applied style? I get phantom color callouts that way too.

I asked prepress to check the file and they said it passed. So, that’s great, but I’m still trying to replicate the error so I know what not to do in the future.

No, it appears it was the frame itself, or something in the apparently empty frame. The images consisted of 2 tiff photos, and logos for Google Classroom and Zoom that had been converted to outlines. So, there’s no fonts in any of those. That made up the 57 missing graphics, since there were multiple instances of the missing logos.

With the document consisting of 1 page and that 1 suspect text frame, I did Select All Unused paragraph styles, as well as character styles. That left me with the 8 paragraph styles, which all use the missing fonts.

If it’s missing graphics then it’s a missing link - so you had a missing link icon in your Links panel?

Or was some asshat copying and pasting in logos and the font was not installed on the computer and showed up as missing?

That can happen too.

I wouldn’t worry about replicating issues.
You found the solution - move on to the next problem.

“8 styles applied to it, as well as 57 logos and 2 photos” Wow, how do you even do that? If you do go to the effort to re-create, please post your results for the sake of learning. I’d like to know what to look for.

I think this is a good reminder to designers on the importance of clean, organized work habits, and no cheap shortcuts. I also do magazine and work with ads created elsewhere. Some of them are very well designed, both in aesthetics and construction. But others are cringe-worthy. The idea that an ad can throw such a chink into your workday is disturbing.

I couldn’t replicate the issue.

I’m fairly obsessive about this. I receive kooky ads built in Word or Publisher now and then, but in this case I stripped out everyone else’s content, until the only thing left was a text frame I created, and the problems still remained. The problem originated with something I created.

I will admit this, because there is so much content that carries over from issue to issue, I use the previous issue as the starting point for the new one, so I don’t have to place everything again. Last time I started from scratch and placed everything was 12 issues ago. In my experience, things start to get buggy if the same file is used over and over. I suspect that’s what happened here.

As a rule, I always place graphics into the doc, rather than paste. But once it’s placed, I tend to cut and paste to move it around or make copies within that doc. Such as with the Google Classroom and Zoom graphics. I placed them into frames on the pasteboard, but then copy/pasted into various places in that threaded text so those graphics would be anchored next to the appropriate class. In this issue, I only made use of those logos 6 times, but the links panel shows 57. Maybe that accumulated over the last 12 issues. So I’m guessing that’s part of the buggy stuff that happens because I keep reusing the same indd doc.

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I hear you on the Word/Publish ads. Thanks for sharing your process. I’m the same (guilty!). I even create a starting point template for the document, but often start from a previous issue for the same reason—lots of carryover. Thanks for sharing some of your process. I love reading how people do things, how they organize files, how they start projects, how they do the mechanics of a doc. This could be a whole conference topic and I’d be first in line. So helpful to learn from.

This brings up something important that people usually neglect. The graphic interface to all the layout applications we use is precisely that — the visual interfaces to a whole lot of code that we seldom see.

All kinds of useless crap can be retained as the files are used over and over again. When something is removed from a layout and no longer appears, there’s no guarantee that references to what was once there don’t exist in the code that comprises the file. It’s probably a mistake to assume that Adobe goes to great lengths to ensure that the underlying code their desktop applications write is clean, svelte, and efficient. My guess is that if you started fresh with a new magazine file, the byte size of the end product would be a fraction of the size of the same thing built from previous magazine files.

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One approach that worked for me in the past.

When I put the magazine to bed, and it’s all printed.
I start the next issue by stripping out all the content and leaving just the basics in place. Text frames, maybe a header, remove all images etc.

Once I have the template for the issue ready.
I’d save the file as IDML
And that’s my starting point when the next issue starts.
I open the IDML and save it as an InDesign file.

I still have the previous if I needed anything from it.

But it’s all about prep work and getting one step ahead of the next issue.

Of course the other option is to save the file as an Indesign template, then when you open the template it opens as an Untitled document.

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Interesting. The indd file size has doubled over the last 12 issues.

I should be doing that. Thanks!