• Natalie Lawrence

You Don't Have to Use Arial Any More!

Corporate presentations and reports tend to get shared in their native file formats all the time, across different versions of MS Office. So when it's time to rebrand a company's material, there's the familiar despondency when dealing with what font to use. You know you don't want to use Arial, but you feel you have to.


As this link to Microsoft Office's own support page shows, the ability to embed fonts in Word and PowerPoint has been around since the 2010 version, although as you'll see on visiting that page, there are limitations.


However, with font libraries like Google Fonts, it is possible to use a different font and, even if another computer doesn't have that font installed, it can still display the text as intended.


How to embed fonts: what to check first

First things first, you need to do a couple of checks on whether your chosen font can be embedded.


MS Office will allow OpenType (*.otf) or TrueType (*.ttf) fonts to be embedded. So if you are going to buy a font, check whether the files will be either of these types of file formats.


If you have Windows, you can also check on Font embeddability status of your chosen font. In the taskbar, type "Fonts" so you can get to the Fonts section of the Control Panel. Scroll over to the far right of the list of fonts and you should see a column called "Font embeddability" (if you can't, right-click another column heading such as "Show/hide", "Font style' or "Name" and from the shortcut menu, tick "Font embeddability").


You can see there are four types of embeddability; the ones with "Installable" and "Editable" are the ones you can embed in your document and they will show up properly on other computers.


There isn't a similar option (that I've found) on Macs, however there is an alternative way via exporting a file as a PDF, with the font embedded. Once you've done that, open the PDF, go to the File menu and click on Properties. Select the Fonts tab and scroll down the list of fonts. If after a font name, the words (Embedded Subset) appear, it's likely that font can be embedded and show up as intended on other devices without that font installed.


How to embed the fonts


Windows:

  • In MS Word or PowerPoint, go to File, then move towards the bottom-left of the screen and click on Options.

  • In the dialog box, click on Save and towards the bottom, you will see "Embed fonts in the file". Choose either of the two options. If you want other people to be able to edit and not just view your file, embedding all characters is the best option, however do be aware this can increase the file size.


Mac:

  • In MS Word or PowerPoint, choose Preferences (keyboard shortcut CMD + ,) and then click on Save.

  • In the bottom half, there's a heading called "Font Embedding". Tick the option called "Embed fonts in the file", then save your document.

  • The ways the options for embedding fonts are displayed may differ slightly between MS Word and MS PowerPoint, but if you only want to embed fonts for viewing (and not editing), choose the option to embed only the characters used.


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