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How is it possible to determine the fonts used by text in PDF and TIFF files?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 29 down vote accepted

For TIFFs or any other raster (pixel) image, Jin's answer covers it.

For PDFs (assuming it's a 'proper' PDF and not a raster image embedded in a PDF, as produced by scanning/fax software), font information is embedded in the file.

In Adobe Reader 8 -- probably slightly different in other applications -- File menu > Properties > Fonts tab gives you a list of all fonts used in the document.

I'm pretty sure Adobe Acrobat allows you to check the font of a selected piece of text, but I don't have it to hand.

There are also third-party plugins for Acrobat, such as Enfocus PitStop Pro, which add the ability to find/replace/report on instances of a particular font throughout a document.

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1  
... and if you can't find the font info, you could try to take a screenshot of the PDF and send the sshot to What the Font. –  koiyu Jan 11 '11 at 16:36
    
Xpdf comes with pdffonts, cf. man page, a command line tool with switches to restrict its font listing to those from a page range. –  Charles Stewart Jan 12 '11 at 8:55
    
+1 for Pitstop Pro –  JYelton Feb 3 '11 at 18:55
    
I've made this community wiki, intending that all resources are compiled into one list. –  e100 May 5 '11 at 19:37

On a Mac or Linux, open your terminal and type:

strings /path/to/your.pdf | grep -i fontname
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Just to add to the list a new software to identify fonts using an image or screen capture: "Find my Font" - http://www.findmyfont.com (I'm the developer of this software).

The application runs on either Mac-OS or Windows and identifies the fonts of a given bitmap image by searching for fonts both online (125.000+ free & commercial fonts) and on your computer while you are given a list of exact and similar matches + a % match for each one, in just 3-5 secs. It can use all kinds of color images without extra pre-processing.

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I would suggest merging your two accounts. –  Matt Sep 26 at 18:06
    
Thanks @Matt, I didn't know it was that easy to merge the 2 accounts ;) –  Fivos Sep 27 at 2:23

If you need help identifying a font sample, there are lots of resources.

Some are automated, you submit a sample screenshot or go through a series of questions that help narrow the possibilities:

Some software can help find a font that's close to what you want:

Others are human-driven, where experts and enthusiasts may examine your submission:

Finally, there are services and programs designed to simply help you choose an appropriate font for a given use:

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1  
Good aggregation of services, thanks. –  Charles Stewart Feb 3 '11 at 18:03

In a PDF with actual text, you can copy a block of text into Word (or another rich editor) and look at the Font dropdown.

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pdf text generally copies without styling in some operating systems and some pdf readers. –  dkuntz2 Jan 12 '11 at 5:52
    
And I doubt this would ever work for fonts you don't have installed on your system. –  e100 Jan 12 '11 at 9:20
3  
@e100: Wrong; it will work. The font won't be rendered, but you will see it in the Font field. (at least in Word) –  SLaks Jan 12 '11 at 13:07
    
Having tested, I stand corrected. Useful tip. +1 –  e100 Jan 12 '11 at 14:20

Upload a sample of the text screenshot to: http://new.myfonts.com/WhatTheFont/ the service is fairly accurate.

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4  
or when WhatTheFont it doesn't work well (It happen), I go to the forum typophile.com/forum to ask the experts of the sector about it. –  Littlemad Jan 11 '11 at 11:40

protected by Matt Aug 5 at 13:52

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