I have a design for an ad that I've done for someone as a favour (I do a lot of web graphics work in Adobe Illustrator, but haven't done print work up until now).

When I send them a print-ready PDF, will the printing company need to have all of the fonts being used, as they would in an .ai or .svg file where the fonts haven't been converted to outlines?

I'm guessing probably not, but am struggling find info on this.

FYI: I cannot just use 'create outlines' on this because one of the fonts doesn't convert well when this is done.

  • 1
    You can tell if the fonts in your PDF are embedded by opening the PDF and viewing the fonts tab in the document properties. (File>Properties...). Fonts that are embedded will say so, i.e.: (embedded subset). If there is no embedded notation next to the font name, it isn't embedded.
    – 13ruce
    Oct 1, 2019 at 21:15

2 Answers 2


Not if the PDF is saved correctly and the font licensing allows for embedding fonts.

If you save a PDF as a PDF/X compatible file, by default fonts (or a subset) are embedded within the PDF. There should be no need to have actual font files to output the PDF.

However, if someone wants to open that PDF in something like Illustrator, they then would need the fonts.

  • or they can use acrobat to outline the text.
    – joojaa
    Oct 1, 2019 at 5:57

The easiest way is to convert your fonts to outline, So printer will don't need fonts for it.

  • 5
    You actually should not convert to outlines unless it is requested. This is especially true for small type sizes.
    – Scott
    Oct 1, 2019 at 8:14
  • 3
    I concur with @Scott here. Converting to outlines is a last alternative. Not all glyphs outline well. Sometimes curves become polygonal. Text effects, like underscore and strike-through may be removed. The complexity of the file is greatly increased as well, since outlining the fonts essentially creates hundreds, if not thousands of additional vector nodes. The list goes on.
    – 13ruce
    Oct 1, 2019 at 21:11
  • 1
    Hi yes I did say in the question that I can't outline the font — it's a fine/narrow font that loses it's crispness when outlined.
    – pjk_ok
    Oct 1, 2019 at 21:23

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