In order to ensure that the PDF version of your thesis or dissertation looks the same on all machines, you must make sure that your document carries its own copies of the fonts you have used. In technical terms, this is referred to as "embedding" your fonts.
If you don't embed your fonts, it is possible that your document will look like gibberish or be missing essential characters when it is opened on a different machine. This usually happens with non-English characters; including Greek mathematical and statistical symbols (alpha, beta, sigma, mu); Asian, Arabic, Hebrew, etc. language fonts; and many WordPerfect fonts.
This has been a source of problems for students requesting bound copies from the Tate Print and Copy center.
Student Joe creates a PDF file on his machine using Greek mathematical symbols (without embedding the fonts). He submits his PDF file to the Graduate School, and the format checkers do not see any problems with it because they have the same fonts installed as he does. Here's how the file looks to him and the format checkers:
However, the print shop may not have the same fonts installed on their machine. Here's how the file looks to them, and how it prints out:
This has resulted in some people accusing the print shop of intentionally destroying their documents. Don't laugh, it's true.
In order to embed fonts in your PDF file, you have to do two things:
- Make sure that you have the correct fonts available on the computer you use to do the conversion, and
- Make sure that your wordprocessor-to-PDF converter software knows that you want to embed your fonts.
The first item above applies only if you are converting on a machine that is not the machine you used to write your file. This is important: if you are taking your wordprocessor files somewhere to convert them to PDF, you must embed your fonts in the wordprocessor files before you leave the computer on which you have been writing; i.e., don't leave home without your fonts.
Below you will find instructions detailing how to embed fonts in MSWord and WordPerfect. If you need help embedding fonts with other wordprocessors, please contact the ETD office.
Once you have your documents and fonts ready to convert and are on the machine you are using to make the conversion, you need to tell the converting software that you want it to embed your fonts. Below you will find information on how to do that using Adobe Acrobat (and some of its components) and PDF995, the two software packages we recommend for creating PDF files.
Once you have generated your font-embedded PDF file, you need to open it on a computer that is as different from yours as you can find. For example, if you are working with a PC/Windows machine, check your file on an old Mac. Be sure to pay special attention to the pages with non-English characters (see above), or, for documents orginally written in WordPerfect, check to make sure that all your quotation marks and hyphens still appear on the different machine.
Embedding Fonts in Wordprocessor Files
Click on the "Tools" menu, then the "Options" menu item. Once the Options dialog box is open, you can choose among many tabs; click on the "Save" tab. Near the middle of the tab page, you should see the option "Embed TrueType fonts" and "Embed characters in use only" under it. Make sure both of those options have check marks in front of them.
Before embedding fonts in your WP file, you have to make sure that you have fonts which can be embedded.
Note that WordPerfect 8 has no capacity to embed fonts. This means that the only way to make sure that your PDF file has the correct fonts in it is to (1) download the fonts mentioned above and (2) do the PDF conversion on the same machine on which you wrote your document. Do not move your document to a different machine to do the conversion.
When you save your file(s), be sure to turn on the option "Embed fonts" which appears above and slightly to the left of the "Find Now" button on the "Save File" dialog box. (Note that this is available in WP9 and later only.)
Adobe Acrobat: Converting from Word with PDFMaker (the Acrobat icons)
If you convert your Word files to PDF files by clicking on the Acrobat icons, you will need to make sure that your conversion settings include font embedding. To do so, click on the Acrobat Menu on your menubar, and then click on "Change Conversion Settings."
A dialog box will pop open that has several tabs across the top. Be sure that you are on the "Settings" tab, then click on the button that says "Edit Conversion Settings."
Another dialog box will pop open with tabs across the top. Click on the tab titled "Fonts" and then, once the Fonts tabpage opens up, turn on "Embed All Fonts" and turn on "Subset embedded fonts...".
Creating PDFs by Printing to Acrobat Distiller From Any Application
If you have Adobe Acrobat (full version) installed, you can convert your files to PDF files by "printing" them using the Acrobat Distiller virtual printer.
Click on the "File" menu, then "Print...", and then select "Acrobat Distiller" from the list of printers. Then click on the "Properties" button as shown in the image below.
A dialog box will pop up allowing you to choose or edit your conversion settings. Make sure that "Do not send fonts to Distiller" is unchecked. Click on the button "Edit Conversion Settings."
Another dialog box will pop open with tabs across the top. Click on the tab titled "Fonts" and then, once the Fonts tabpage opens up, turn on "Embed All Fonts" and turn on "Subset embedded fonts."
Converting by Printing to PDF995 From Any Application
If you have PDF995 installed, you can convert your files to PDF files by "printing" them using the PDF995 virtual printer.
Click on the "File" menu, then "Print...", and then select "PDF995" from the list of printers. Then click on the "Properties" button as shown in the image to the right.
When the printer properities dialog box pops up, click on the "Adnanced" button down on the lower right.
In the "PDF995 Printer Driver Advanced Options" dialog box, look for the option called "True Type Font". Set the value of this option to "Download as Softfont".
If you have, or have access to, Adobe Acrobat (full package, not the free Acrobat Reader), you can check to see if you successfully embedded your fonts:
- Open your file in Acrobat.
- Click on the "View" menu item.
- Is there a check mark next to "Use Local Fonts" (down near the bottom)? If there is, click on it to turn off this option.
- Once "Use Local Fonts" is turned off, you will see how the PDF file will appear to people who do not have your fonts installed.
- Scroll through the entire document. If there are any fonts needed which cannot be found, you will receive a warning message.
- Pay special attention to parts of the text with special characters. Check to see that these characters appear correctly when "Use Local Fonts" is off.
If you do not have access to the full Adobe Acrobat package, find a computer that is as different as possible from the one on which you created your PDF file. Open your PDF file on that machine and perform steps 5 and 6 above.