Missing fonts at the printer


I just created my account, but I have been lurking for the last few weeks at the old forum. Specially that thread about pancakes at the job in the rant section (I only reached 2007, now I will never now what happened after :disappointed_relieved:) So hello to you all, and thanks for such wonderful forum. :hugs:

I have been working on the design of a technical book (about metallurgy), so lots and lots of equations. At first I saved them from Word to pdf, and linked the file in InDesign.

Once the book was finished, I sent a chapter to the printer as a sample, so they can check everything is in place and as it should be. They told me there were missing fonts, as shown (the book is in spanish):


With this in mind I outlined the equations in Illustrator, changing them to vectors, as a means to completely eliminate anything that could be dragged from Microsoft Word and its Equation Editor. But I can’t see why the printer has problems with the other fonts (the subtitles, header, page number). The fonts were embedded as a subset when I created the pdf (with less than 100% used). Some of them are fonts that I have bought in the past, one is from Adobe Typekit. So far as I know, there shouldn’t be a problem, should it?

The book is going to be printed with offset printing. ¿Is there something that I am missing, something that I am not doing well or not doing at all? Or perhaps there is something in the offset printing process that calls for opening the pdf, and working on it?

I apologize for my (hope not very bad) english, and I would like to thank for any light you could shed on this.

Hiya Elewys!!! :slight_smile: Welcome Aboard :slight_smile:

I’m sure someone will be along before too long and give you some suggestions and advice. In the mean time … here is a little snack!! :smiley:


1 Like

If you have InDesign, why are you using Word at all?
I’m still not quite sure of the steps you’ve done.
You saved Word as a PDF then somehow linked the multiple pages into InDesign?
Then you drag and dropped what to where to do what? The minute you say drag and drop, you have issues in most work flows. Especially InDesign.
Can you elaborate there?
And what did you hand off to the printer? An Indesign file or a PDF?
Or something out of Illustrator?

I suspect the problem lies with the Equation Editor. There may be no way around it if you want to use Word as your primary source file.

To check this, try importing the text from the Word file into an InDesign page and see what happens. Copy and Paste might work best but you could also try the Place command.

The author wrote the book in Word, and those are the original files given to me. After styling them in Word, I placed the text into InDesign (via the Place function assigning the Word styles with the import options to paragraph styles in InDesign). The word equations cannot be placed in this manner: it only appears a blank space where the equations should be.

So for each equation, I copied them in a new Word file and save it as pdf. This files (with only one equation each) where placed into my InDesign file (with the Place command).

I then gave the printer the pdf file exported from InDesign using the High Printing Quality, subsetting the fonts when the percent of characters used is less than 100%.

The printer gave me the screenshot I showed to you. I suspected that the problem with the fonts used with the titles was a different problem than the one seen with the equations, so I proceeded to outline the equations in Illustrator, and saving them as .eps. Then I placed them again in my InDesign file, exported the file as pdf (now using the Press Quality preset) and sent it to the printer, asking for a meeting with him to resolve this problem with the fonts. They said there was still missing fonts, and don’t think the problems are with the equations. We are still arranging the meeting.

I avoid using copy/paste as it could lead to problems with the final pdf, so everything I did was done with the Place function. I apologize if my reference to dragging things from Word led to this misunderstanding.

I suspect for some reason your printer is opening these files in Illustrator. That’s usually only done to fix an error in layout or profile.

Because you are coming from Word, which outputs in RGB, and since an RGB to CMYK conversion will make the black a 4-color black, which sucks to register in plate printing, that may be what they are fixing.

Other than that, not sure what is up.

Thank you so much for your response, @PrintDriver . It makes sense if they need to change the color, and why they are asking me now for the InDesign files.

Tomorrow I will meet with their designer and see what the problem is. I will keep you posted.

Thanks to you all :slight_smile:

They are probably looking for InDesign Package files that, in theory, would have the fonts. But not necessarily, if you have PDFs linked in there. InD doesn’t pick up the fonts used in links. At least not consistently.

Perhaps converting all text to outlines might help solve the problem?

I just came back from the printer.

They were opening the pdf with Illustrator, and not having the necessary fonts in their system, the titles were flagged as missing fonts. I gave them the InDesign package, and it was resolved.

As I changed the equations to vectors and placed them as .eps in the InDesign file, there was also no further problem with them.

So, I’ll change all equations in the book to vectors (goodness me), and give them the InDesign packages for each chapter.

I want to thank all of you for your help, I was afraid I missed something along the way, or perhaps done something not quite right with the design of the book. Your comments helped me see what the potential problems could be, and to prepare for them before the meeting, just in case.:hugs:

Try FlightCheck, to check and collect your native InDesign file first. Then you know for sure if all elements (fonts, but also images, etc) are available for packaging and in good order. Then create a proper PDF, asking your printer for guidance what they want, exactly.

I would then send them BOTH the print PDF and the native InDesign file with all used fonts and images.

A printer should never be opening a PDF in Illustrator! Yes, it opens, but Illustrator is not a PDF editor. Furthermore, PDF editing itself can be tricky, but a necessary evil at times. Editing a PDF can lead to undesired results with your layout.

Always ask for a printed proof; or at least a digital one, before they go to press.

A printer sometimes has to open a PDF in something to fix something that today’s designers consistently do wrong. Whether it is Acrobat, Pitstop, or Illustrator depends on what needs fixing.

For instance, I do a lot of CNC cut graphics. I need the contour outline. And I need it to not print. Designers sometimes send PDFs with the contour line visible. If you can see it in the PDF, it will print. I can remove a contour line easily in Acrobat, but in order to grab it to cut it, I absolutely have to open that PDF in Illustrator. If the contour line happens to be all the letters in a 3-dimensional applied title involving text that hasn’t been outlined like it should be (think wayfinding or display signage,) there are all kinds of “tricks” to open a PDF without having the actual font. You can’t edit the text because it will be outlined in the process (which should have been done by the designer to begin with) but the end result is perfect.

Never say “Never.”

It makes no difference on large format work, but for small text in smaller-dimension print jobs, like brochures, business cards, etc., the elimination of the font hinting that occurs when the type is outlined can affect the quality of how the type outlines are printed.

That post was more of a never say never thing.

Yes, that was in reference to the cut letter titles, which should not only always be outlined, but should be provided in place for a templating reference.
But that’s a whole other rant.

Long blocks of text should stay text, even in large format, not only for hinting but because, invariably, there will be a typo that needs to be fixed just as the file hits the press with no time to wait for the designer to fix outlined type because the project is on Rush as it is.

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