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


7 Answers 7


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, Adobe Acrobat, and Foxit Reader 3 -- probably slightly different in other applications -- File menu > Properties > Fonts tab gives you a list of all fonts used in the document.

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.

  • 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. Commented Jan 11, 2011 at 16:36
  • 2
    Xpdf comes with pdffonts, cf. man page, a command line tool with switches to restrict its font listing to those from a page range. Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 8:55
  • I've made this community wiki, intending that all resources are compiled into one list.
    – e100
    Commented May 5, 2011 at 19:37

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

  • 6
    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
    Commented Jan 11, 2011 at 11:40

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:


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

strings /path/to/your.pdf | grep -i fontname
  • This is the best answer because no new software is required. It took around half minute to output the lines but it worked like a charm. Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 15:27

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.


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.

  • 1
    pdf text generally copies without styling in some operating systems and some pdf readers.
    – dkuntz2
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 5:52
  • 1
    And I doubt this would ever work for fonts you don't have installed on your system.
    – e100
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 9:20

1. Summary

1.1. Requirements

If your requirements:

  1. free software or service
  2. font identification for Cyrillic symbols

1.2. Recommendation


  1. FontMatch for semi-automatically determination on images
  2. pdffonts, strings or Foxit Reader for automatically identification into PDF files

2. Disclaimer

This answer is relevant for August 2019. In the future data of this answer may be obsolete.

3. PDF

You can use img2pdf for converting your images to PDF files (and PDF-XChange Editor for optional adding OCR layer) and use this software.

3.1. pdffonts

Poppler tool pdffonts. Windows users can install Poppler via Chocolatey.

D:\SashaDebugging\FontsIdentification>pdffonts KiraGoddess.pdf
name                                 type              encoding         emb sub uni object ID
------------------------------------ ----------------- ---------------- --- --- --- ---------
Arial                                CID TrueType      Identity-H       yes no  yes      7  0
Arial                                TrueType          WinAnsi          no  no  no       8  0

3.2. strings

As Kyle Cranmer said. Windows users also can use strings tool, installing the necessary software from Chocolatey:

D:\SashaDebugging\FontsIdentification>strings KiraGoddess.pdf | grep -i fontname
/FontName /Arial
/FontName /Arial

3.3. Foxit Reader

FilePropertiesFonts as described in community wiki answer:

Foxit Reader

3.4. Limits

For some PDF files fonts may be:

  1. not determined
  2. determined incorrectly

I recheck pdffonts/strings/Foxit Reader results, use FontMatch.

4. FontMatch

You can use pdftoppm for converting your PDF files to images and use FontMatch.

4.1. Usage

Make screenshot of any letters from image → FileOpen → select your screenshot file → Identify → FontMatch suggest possible fonts:


Manually compare top fonts from Matching Fonts list with your font. For comparing another letters it would be nice apply programs as Font Runneropen source local fonts viewer:

Font Runner

4.2. Limits

  1. Solely local fonts supported
  2. Software no longer maintained

5. Not helped

I tested КираИдеал.jpg on not human-driven services and software from font-identification tag description.

5.1. Data


5.2. Not supported Cyrillic symbols

  1. WhatTheFont — WTF:


  2. WhatFontIs:


  3. Matcherator:


  4. Identifont — Latin-specific guide:



  5. Bowfin Printworks — also, Latin-specific guide:

    Bowfin Printworks

5.3. Paid

  1. Adobe Photoshop Match Fontspricing.
  2. FindMyFont — 30 days usage period for free version:


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