In Adobe Illustrator CC 2017,

Edit: To everyone else who is experiencing this problem. It appears to be a really bad bug. Please upvote the issue on the link below so Adobe can be aware and fix this problem in their new release. I will be selecting the best "work around" as an answer since there is no way to actually fix this until Adobe wakes up. https://illustrator.uservoice.com/forums/601447-illustrator-bugs/suggestions/32589683-find-font-broken-between-osx-and-windows

How to determine the correct font name between OSX and Windows with Adobe "Find Font" / Missing Font Manager?

Is it ITCAvantGardeStd or is it ITC Avant Garde Gothic Std?

  • When opening in Illustrator on Mac the missing font is: ITC Avant Garde Gothic Std

  • When opening in Illustrator on Windows the missing font is: ITCAvantGardeStd

In Windows it is displaying It's PostScript Name which does not include the word Gothic!

How do you know what font to install?!

OSX - Good

  • Correct font name displayed in Mac when font is installed

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  • Correct font name when font is missing/uninstalled on Mac

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  • Mac File Manager and Font Manager

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Windows - Bad

  • PostScript font names in Windows. (No mention of Gothic)

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  • Windows File Manager and Font Manager

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  • Illustrator will no longer display the PostScript name when the correct font is installed. Interesting... but not helpful!!


  • When installed the font will not display it's PostScript name or be searchable by it's PostScript name!!!

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FontForge Info on ITC Avant Garde Gothic Std

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  • 2
    It's not that one is displaying the name incorrectly.... They aren't the same font. Install the same OTF fonts on both systems. They can both use the Open Type Format.
    – Scott
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 23:17
  • @Scott I have access to the same font server as the Mac. The issue is what illustrator detects the missing font name as. I'll uninstall the font on the Mac and upload a picture so you can see that the Mac detects the missing font as a different name. Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 13:49
  • @Scott I appreciate any help though. I know you're really knowledgeable on fonts! Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 13:57
  • Which versions of Illustrator are you using (on Mac & Win)? Could you elaborate on how you use the font server on Windows? If possible, could you tell me the file names of the mentioned fonts?
    – Pepe Ochoa
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 16:18
  • My general inclination is that Arial is a default font on the Windows Platform and is NOT a default font on the Mac platform. It's not entirely impossible that multiple iterations/versions of "Arial" are present on the Windows system and may be causing conflicts.
    – Scott
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 17:19

2 Answers 2


After months of researching I have found many solutions to this problem.

You need to search for the PostScript name.

Windows font manager does not search for it. That's why it doesn't show up when you search for it. Don't worry, there's a way around that!

Option 1 (Nexusfont )

  1. Download nexusfont (FREE)
  2. (Optional) Uninstall all fonts except for Windows that came with Windows. (To prevent conflicts)
  3. Organize fonts and then search for PostScript name.
  4. Right click properties and it will give you more details on the naming.

Pros: Gives a lot of details. Doubles as a great FontManager with live type preview capabilities. Install and uninstall fonts directly from nexusfont.

Cons: All fonts are active until you close out of the program. It's not really a con unless you have too many fonts. Can cause certain programs to crash. You have to install the font, close out of NexusFont, finish your job close your job then open NexusFont then uninstall the font, then close NexusFont.

Option 2 (Windows Explorer Method)

  1. Do NOT use Windows Font manager to search. It does not search PostScript names.
  2. (Optional) Uninstall all fonts except for Windows that came with Windows. (To prevent conflicts)
  3. Move all your fonts to a folder outside of the "Windows Font Manager Folder." search your PostScript name in the search field. It will show all fonts that contain that PostScript name.
  4. To see the PostScript Name: Right click -> Properties -> Details -> Title

Pros: Do not need to download additional software.

Cons: Cannot read all the details because windows explorer is stupid and cuts it off with no way to expand the properties window.

Dishonorable mentions (stay clear unless you already have these):

  1. Free trial of Suitcase Fusion by Extensis. That's because it's $119.95 and it's really not that good except for the "Auto Activation" and "Temporary Activation" It might be worth it if that matters to you.

  2. Universal Type Server by Extensis. Because it's so expensive they don't list the price and it doesn't manage a local database. It's slower than NexusFont and constantly crashes.

I could not find any other type manager that searched PostScript names with the ability to install and uninstall fonts. If anyone else has some other font managers that can do this comment and I will add them to the list. Thank you!

  • Excellent, nice research work. Good that you found a workaround!
    – Pepe Ochoa
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 22:00

After checking the information provided by FontForge, it must be clear that the names are not completely different: the OTF specification restricts certain names to be only certain number of characters maximum. The different names displayed are the names of the same font taken from different fields in the same 'name' table.

To solve the problem, we have many pieces of information missing:

  • An illustrator file saves many attributes of the fonts in use. After checking a sample file I created, I see it saves the Font Name (or Full Name), Family Name and Font File. I cannot be sure how it saves the font name in a networked environment, and how it changes between Mac and Windows.

  • I cannot be sure which of the three attributes is used in each version (Win & Mac) of Illustrator to identify the font in use. They could be different in each case.

Suggested Edit: It appears in this case when using Windows instead of Mac, Illustrator is using the "PostScript name" in the "Find Font" window.

  • Also, I cannot be sure on how the Operating System reports the available fonts to the application in each OS.

The (wildly different) possible solutions I could see are:

  • Embed the font in the document, so you don't need to depend on a server (Problems are: is this allowed for you? The font license allows it?)

    Embed Fonts (For Other Applications): Embeds all fonts that contain appropriate permissions from the font vendor. Embedding fonts ensures that the original font is displayed and printed if the file is placed into another application, such as Adobe InDesign. However, if the file is opened in Illustrator on a computer that does not have the font installed, the font will be faux or substituted. This is to prevent illegal use of the embedded font. note: Selecting the Embed Fonts option increases the size of the saved file. https://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/using/saving-artwork.html

  • After checking that the fonts are effectively the same, you can do manual substitution of fonts (Problems: a lot of work! Not automated.).

  • Windows tends to make a mess of things with old fonts and organize and report the fonts using incorrect fields, so it could be possible to edit the font files to include only the name fields that are platform-independent (Problems: also a lot of work, and very technical. Also, the license for the font most probably will never allow you to do it).

For the moment, I cannot think of any other solution, it seems to be a messy problem.

Some technical info:

  • Pepe, I appreciate you clarifying this more. Manual substitution is what I've been doing. But it's difficult when I have 100 different Avant Garde Fonts. To open all 100 in FontForge just to see what it's meta name is just too much time on my workflow. I'd never get anything done. I've ended up falling back on the Mac to do a lot of work but I can't keep doing that. Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 16:29
  • Unfortunately, I cannot rename the fonts because I have over 13,000 fonts. It would take weeks to do this by myself. Is there maybe an automated way to do this? Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 16:29
  • Another thought is maybe there is a way to search my 13,000 fonts by the meta data instead of just it's name. Like how you can search for what's inside of a text document, instead of just it's name. Is that possible? Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 16:30
  • 1
    Most font editors allow scripting. If you know some Python and read the basic interfacing necessary for the editor, I think is relatively straightforward to do searching and/or mass edition of fonts. But first, I would try isolating the problem: why not making a backup of a font that is causing problem, editing manually in fontforge (for example), re-generating the font and checking if the problem is solved? It should take a few minutes. After that, you could start thinking in writing a script for mass editing the fonts or another solution.
    – Pepe Ochoa
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 18:21
  • I just analyzed a similar font in FontLab, and it seems that the font includes separate information for Mac and Win (different platform id fields), and the font names are different for each platform. :/ According to adobe (and as far as I understand), eliminating the Mac fields and leaving the windows ones must make the font compatible with both. Fortunately, the windows one seems to be the field that contains the "gothic" part... unfortunately, the file perhaps won't open now in Mac, though new apps seems to work better... it's worth trying an experiment to see which one works...
    – Pepe Ochoa
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 18:30

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