Creating Documents that Don't Use Embedded Fonts

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 27, 2021)

Roy works for a legal firm, and he needs to file documents regularly with various clerks' offices. One particular office requires that only documents containing "non-embedded fonts" can be filed. The documents Roy files are PDFs created from Word documents, and he cannot seem to find a way to make sure that the documents contain only non-embedded fonts.

Word has a configuration setting that controls whether fonts are embedded in the document or not. If you want to make sure that a PDF file contains no embedded fonts, then try following these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left of the dialog box click Save. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Save options in the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Embed Fonts In the File check box is cleared.
  5. Click OK to dismiss the Word Options dialog box.
  6. Press F12 to display the Save As dialog box.
  7. Using the controls in the dialog box, save the file using a name different than the original document name. (You want to save the document as an actual Word document, not in any other format.)
  8. Exit and restart Word.
  9. Load the document you saved in step 6.
  10. Create your PDF file as you normally would.

At this point, the PDF file should not contain any embedded fonts. This works because the Word file on which the PDF is based—the one you created using the Save As command in steps 5-6—does not contain any embedded fonts.

If, for some reason, the PDF does still contain embedded fonts, then it is very possible that whatever PDF creation process you are using is adding them. If you use the Save As approach, in Word, to create the PDF file, then you should not have a problem. You also should not have a problem if you use Adobe Acrobat to create your PDF file. If you are using a different method for creating the PDF file, then you will need to test that method to see if it is doing something squirrely with the fonts.

You should also check to make sure your document doesn't use any fonts may possible need to be embedded. This means you should check to make sure your document uses only "plain vanilla" Microsoft fonts, such as Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, etc. These would never be embedded with a document because Microsoft assumes they are always available. It is only other fonts—ones you may have installed on your system—that would possibly be embedded.

Finally, one drastic step you can take is to create your PDF file and then open it in a program designed to allow editing of PDFs, such as Adobe Acrobat. You can then use the capabilities of that program to save the PDF as an "image only" file. This, essentially, means that your PDF will contain nothing but pictures of each page with absolutely no font information at all.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13827) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Turning Off a Startup Sound

If you hear a sound when you start Word, it is because of some settings within Windows itself. You can use the Control ...

Discover More

Using Go To to Jump to a Chart Sheet

Create a chart on its own worksheet, and you can display it by simply clicking the tab at the bottom of the Excel work ...

Discover More

Turning on Picture Placeholders

Displaying graphics in a document requires a great deal more computer processing than displaying simple text. A document ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Very Slow Document Opening with Excel Links

When you link parts of your document to other sources (such as an Excel workbook), you can make opening your document ...

Discover More

Unexpected Error Exporting a PDF

It is common for people to create PDF files from their Word documents. What can you do, though, if your standard way of ...

Discover More

Creating an Excel Workbook from within Word

Word and Excel are both programs within the Microsoft Office suite. If you use both of these programs often, you may ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is six minus 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.