Digital Commons - Information and Tools



Paul Royster

Date of this Version



Issued/posted April 21, 2011


Earlier this week I was “upgraded” from MS Office 2007 to MS Office 2010. In addition to the annoyance of hours spent reconstructing my former settings and toolbars for Word, I also discovered another issue: Word files saved as PDF refused to embed some fonts, specifically those deriving from Excel or other charts and graphs inserted into Word documents.

Previously, Word 2007 had interoperated with an Adobe Acrobat plug-in to properly convert such files and embed all fonts according to Acrobat’s preference settings. But for Word 2010, there is no working Acrobat plug-in, and Microsoft has proudly included their own PDF generator, which is the problem. It will embed the Times Roman or Arial used by Word in the text, but not the Times Roman or Arial that occurs in an inserted graphic. So the Fonts report (in the File > Properties menu) will show both, one as embedded the other as not.

Word 2010 now allows you to embed fonts when saving a file (in the File > Options > Save menu), but this does not correct the problem with PDF files mentioned above.

At first I was reduced to embedding the fonts “the old-fashioned way”: i.e., opening the incompletely embedded file in Acrobat and printing it to a new PDF file, thus allowing Acrobat to embed all the fonts properly. Of course, this was 2 steps where previously 1 had sufficed.

Today, acting on information from the Adobe site “Acrobat 9 PDFMaker and Microsoft Office 2010 Known issues” , I discovered 2 ways to bypass MS Word’s problematic (at least as far as fonts embedding) PDF generator:

1. From Acrobat, use File > Create PDF > From file and select the Word 2010 document. This will generate a PDF file with all fonts embedded (provided that’s what your Acrobat settings dictate).

2. From Windows Explorer (what you use to navigate the folders and files on your PC), right-click on the Word 2010 filename you want, select “Create PDF ...” This will also generate a PDF file with all fonts embedded (again, provided that’s what your Acrobat preferences say).

I am using Adobe Acrobat 9, and Adobe says that it is not compatible with Office 2010, but that Adobe X is. I am not anxious to endure another upgrade anytime soon, so I was happy (elated, even) to discover a way around the problem. I manage a digital repository and assist students with creating and uploading PDF files to 2 archives, one of which (ProQuest ETDs) will reject PDF files if there are non-embedded fonts, so this was a major issue.

The following page has some oddball fonts, just to demonstrate.