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Embedding fonts - please demystify!

Posted on 2008-11-13
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Last Modified: 2013-12-02
Hello!

   I've been trying to read up on how to ensure the font that I've used in InDesign ends up in my PDF when I export. There are mentions of "subset fonts when percent of characters used is less then" being set to sometimes 100% and other suggest 0%. I'm very confused. I'm also trying to keep the size of the pdf at a minimum, so I think that plays a role as well.

Any one have any ideas?

Many thanks!
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Question by:joanna_l
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by:BongSoo
ID: 22976620
In a nutshell, what that does is basically only includes the font characters used by the document because the actual font set might be much larger. Since some fonts include a lot of characters, special characters, etc., subsetting allows you to send a pdf that only includes characters used by the document.
The setting is a threshold you can play with to determine what works best for you, and is largely dependent upon what your content is and what range of characters you use. Basically, you are telling the program: evaluate my document and if my document is using less than X% of the entire font, then subset it.
This can be useful in helping to lower the overall size of your document, but it can also be problematic if you or someone else wants to edit the PDF later on. For instance, if you create the PDF, and send it to your printer to have it printed, but at the last minute discover a typographical error, and ask the printer to correct it for you. If the correction involves a character that wasn't in the subset that the PDF was created in, they won't be able to correct it.
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by:joanna_l
ID: 22976993
Hi BongSoo,

  Thank you for your description. So when you set "subset fonts when percent of characters used is less then" to 100% you include all of the font set? Or 0%?

Many thanks!
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by:BongSoo
ID: 22977260
No, one has nothing to do with the other in the manner you stated.
Basically, the  "subset fonts when percent of characters used is less then" is a switch that will turn subsetting on if your document meets that criteria.  What it does is it examines your document and compares the character useage to the font itself. So, if you set the setting to 75%, if it sees that your document is using less than 75% of the entire font, it will subset it. Otherwise, it will include the entire font in the pdf.
The subset itself is based entirely upon what your document uses, not the threshold.
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BongSoo earned 500 total points
ID: 22978417
In other words: So when you set "subset fonts when percent of characters used is less then" to 100%, you will subset only the fonts used in the document. Does that make sense?
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by:joanna_l
ID: 22988678
Hi - yes it does make sense! Thank you!
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by:fibdev
ID: 23513729
joanna,

You should also note that most print companies prefer you not use embedded fonts but distribute the fonts with the package.

- Gabe :)
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