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I want to create a single PDF file with an editable text field/form that supports as many languages as possible.

I thought that using the Noto Sans font would be the solution, but I noticed that it is in fact divided into different fonts according to the language group. I'm unsure if what I want to do will even be possible, as you can only assign one font to a text field in Acrobat.

I'd really like to have just one PDF and for users to enter the text in any language.

Does anyone know if this is possible, or know any workarounds?

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    It would be good to know what languages you are talking about. I'm quite sure you are not willing cover all the worlds written scripts.
    – mrserge
    Oct 8, 2018 at 18:34

2 Answers 2

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Use a font with a full feature set of glyphs, diacritical marks, and variations as you would find in an "Open Type" font.

Several font foundries are already offering multilingual OpenType versions of their fonts. In addition to the common western European languages, these also cover Polish, Hungarian, Czech, Turkish, and more. Fonts are even appearing that cover Cyrillic and Greek too, all in the one font file.

As it turns out non-roman glyphs are often not included with a single font which limits you to latin-based languages excluding slavic, Arabic, Hebrew, and Eastern languages such Indian, Chinese, and Japanese, etc.

Workaround: You might be able to compose some language variations and paste them into your document as a graphic in which case you would lose the ability to edit the resulting text block.

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  • A OTF font is limitted to f 65,535 characters given that chinese and japanese need ~50,000 each its clear that you can not fit all languages in one font even if you tried.
    – joojaa
    Apr 10, 2018 at 18:57
  • Right. So maybe a solution would be to offer 2 or 3 different versions of the pdf according to the language group. The text field needs to be completely editable. Although is there really no way of assigning multiple fonts to a text field in Acrobat?
    – Sarah
    Apr 10, 2018 at 19:27
  • @Sarah That might be the limitation of Acrobat. Check their forums for possible foreign language versions of Acrobat.
    – Stan
    Apr 10, 2018 at 19:31
  • Late to the party, but FWIW, between Chinese and Japanese, quite a few characters are identical. And there are indeed huge numbers of characters in each, nobody knows/uses them all. By the time students graduate from highschool, they're expected to know the ~2100 Joyo kanji; certainly they'll learn/use more at the university and later levels, and in specialized fields. IAC UTF8 uses up to four bytes for code past the first 128, so can encode far more than 65,535 (though that was true of an earlier, now obsolete, UCS-2 encoding. Whether any given font will actually so many characters? TBD Jan 24, 2022 at 2:07
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Please try "Arial Unicode MS regular" and see what languages are still missing (and let us know here). It is one of the most complete fonts I have met, at presently 50377 glyphs.

I believe a safe place to source it, is by starting here:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/typography/font-list/arial-unicode-ms

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