Missing Fonts in PDFs Embedded/Linked within an InDesign Document

If you frequently collaborate with partner firms on large InDesign proposals, you have likely had instances of missing fonts. Fixing missing fonts prior to production is critical but it is an easy fix. Linked or embedded media can include missing fonts, which is the topic of this post.

Why should I be concerned with missing fonts in PDFs?

  1. Unpredictable printing
  2. Crash on Export of InDesign Document or Book
  3. Team member may export PDF as JPEG to correct the issue, which increases the file size of the final document

Example and How to Correct

pdf fonts placeYou have just placed a PDF into your InDesign document and the Preflight gives you the red light.

You may be tempted to dismiss this and only address it if it becomes an issue. Personally, I prefer to take care of errors before they become major problems during production.

One solution is to simply open the PDF in Acrobat and export it as a JPEG. While this does address the issue, it also:

  1. Increases the final document size. In instances with large quantities of placed PDFs, it can be a substantial increase
  2. Increase the amount of time it takes to export the final document
  3. Makes the document less accessible (e.g., search capability, issues with Section 508 Compliance)

Fortunately, there is an alternative solution that takes less time than exporting as PDF and replacing the linked media.

pdf fonts - edit in AcrobatFrom the Links palette, right-click on the PDF and open it in Adobe Acrobat Pro.

pdf fontsSelect PDF Fixups from View > Tools > Print Production > Preflight.

pdf fonts - pdf fixups2Select Embed Fonts (even if text is invisible) and click Analyze and Fix.

pdf fonts - preflight fixups completeYou get a green check and the wrench icon shows what fixups were completed. In this case, the font in question has been embedded. Save the document and return to InDesign.

pdf fonts - no errorsIf you saved over the original, InDesign will update the linked document and Preflight should give you a green light.

By adding the Document Processing panel to your default view in Acrobat Pro and saving over the original, it truly is faster than exporting as a JPEG.