When sending artwork to print, all fonts are made into outlines so our printer shouldn't have any font queries. However, there are a couple anomalies that keep popping up and showing as missing fonts within the file. I have scoured the artwork trying to find where these fonts are hiding with no success.

I don't want to replace them, I want to delete them but can't work out how to highlight them within the artwork.

I have tried Type/Find Font and selected the missing one(s) assuming it would highlight it in the artwork, but it doesn't.

I have also tried Object/Path/Clean Up in-case it's simply an empty text path that is hiding somewhere, but this doesn't work either!

  • Do you have any symbols in your files? Live type within unexpanded symbols can cause what you describe.
    – Westside
    Jun 12, 2018 at 17:57
  • Did you search for the text in the Symbols panel?
    – LeoNas
    Jul 12, 2018 at 20:17

3 Answers 3


Empty text objects do not outline, but they register as a font in your document because the text object retains font attributes whether there are any characters in the object or not. They can be difficult to locate manually. Here is a way to find them easily.

After converting type to outlines, only empty or locked text objects will remain, so...

  1. Unlock all layers and sub-layers.
  2. From the Object menu, choose Select > Object > All Text Objects

From there you can see and easily delete any text objects that were previously hidden.


Illustrator files can easily become heavy with leftover artwork especially when moved between multiple designers or different versions of AI. What I would try is:

  • Check if there are any hidden layers. If so, delete them.
  • Then, unlock everything, select everything and hit Ctrl+Shift+O. This will force all leftover and possibly "hidden" text to be converted to shapes.
  • Make sure you work on a copy and don't save the original AI file with converted text.
  • Thanks for your help. I've tried this and it doesn't clear the issue up. This is our standard procedure before sending to print. I know we have some fonts within swatches but these have been sorted out. Jun 12, 2018 at 15:31
  • Are you sure there are NO LOCKED OBJECTS? Hit CTRL+ALT+2 to force unlock all. Even the tiniest invisible locked thingy can cause this. Also, are you linking to any external files?
    – Lucian
    Jun 12, 2018 at 15:34
  • Double check all objects inside a clipping path. It's most likely the issue. Also, if you have any placed images, make sure they are all flattened or converted to outlines. Jun 12, 2018 at 15:43
  • No links and nothing locked....can you see why I'm struggling now?!! Jun 12, 2018 at 15:46
  • 1
    Clipping paths then :)
    – Lucian
    Jun 12, 2018 at 15:47

Menu File > Save as > PDF

From Acrobat > Menu File > Properties > Fonts

At least from there you can see all the file fonts.

Here there's an answer about how to find where exactly are each font in a PDF file:

How to find out WHERE a specific font is used in a PDF document

1) Create a new Custom preflight profile Advanced|Preflight|Options|Create New Preflight Profile

2) Give the profile a name (Fontfinder, say)

3) In the left window of the dialog click "Custom checks"

4) In the right window of the dialog below the blank box click the plus symbol to create a new check and include in current profile

5) Click "text" in the Group, the bottom property is "Text size". Select this and click "Add"

6) The pane below now has more options. Click on the drop down options probably labelled "equal to" and select "less than"

7) Enter a large value in the Number field. I entered 500

8) Top left of the dialog when check fires report as... and enter something like Text size 500 pt or less and click OK. There should be a new custom check in the pane with a red cross beside it. If the cross is not red, click on the check label, and select "error" below the pane

Repeat the steps above for another error check, but changing the option for 500 to "greater than or equal to", and Check fires report as Text 500 pt or greater

9) Click OK in the Edit Profile Dialog

10) Run the profile on your PDF

I set the font to error on a large point size so that all of the errors would report in a group. The second check is simply to catch any font larger than that. >I suppose you could check for pt size 50000 and have the same result.

  • What version of Acrobat is needed for this? I only have reader. Jun 18, 2018 at 14:12
  • Oh yes, this is just for the professional version, Acrobat Reader has a very limited features. If you work with printing files is something you should have at your studio.
    – user120647
    Jun 18, 2018 at 14:17

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