When I export to PDF from InDesign I keep getting this error message:

"This font could not be embedded due to licensing...The PDF will not be created if the glyphs cannot be represented."

Yet the PDF still get created and nothing looks different. Is this because I have the fonts installed on my machine? I don't wanna send this over to the client and they see it differently.

  • 3
    Buy a font that allows embedding. Nov 6, 2014 at 10:58

9 Answers 9


It is because somewhere there is a font which is not licensed to embed in PDFs, just as the warning states.

The PDF will look fine if the font is installed on the system. Therefore it will look okay on your system. However, any system which does not contain the font may not render that particular font properly.

The only way to get around the embedding restriction is to purchase a license which does allow embedding, or to use a different font (which also will allow embedding).

In some cases you can convert type to outlines and remain within the non-embed license. In other cases, a license which restricts embedding the font may also restrict converting the font to outlines. In which case, you're out of luck.


In addition to Scott's answer, you can circumvent this issue by converting all type in the offending font into outlines: Type > Create Outlines. This will markedly increase your .pdf file size if you're using the font a lot (for say, body text).

This way, you don't have to embed any of the info in the font file--all your letters are shapes after all. Be warned that you can't edit the text anymore after this conversion.

  • 4
    If allowed :) Some fonts which restrict embedding also restrict outlining. Depends upon the font license though :)
    – Scott
    Nov 5, 2014 at 15:47
  • Also note that this makes the PDF rather useless for digital archival and distribution (as there is no longer text to parse by search engines or screen readers). It may be OK for print use, of course.
    – DA01
    Nov 7, 2014 at 17:12

I've been struggling with this issue for some time, but at last I managed to find a solution and it works.

When publishing the file from e.g. Corel Draw to PDF select PDF Style settings. Then under the Objects Tab check "Export all text as curves". Done.

enter image description here

  • 1
    The process in this case is made inside InDesign, not Corel Draw.
    – Rafael
    Aug 8, 2018 at 18:36

I know this is old, but I have been searching everywhere for a solution.

Problem: Barcode fonts would print to the printer, but would not embed in PDF. I tried reinstalling the fonts and the PDF creator, and upgrading Adobe Reader. The fonts were licensed. I just could not get them to embed in a PDF no matter what I (thought) I tried.

Solution (for me): Uninstall all the troublesome fonts first! Make the Windows User (this is important) who will be using the embed feature an administrator on the PC. Usually just log in as Domain admin, change the user account type to administrator and log off. Log back in and make sure the fonts are indeed deleted from the admin folder.

Reinstall all the troublesome fonts. Now try to create the PDF. Demote the user. Why this worked for me is the fonts were usable in many programs but since they were not installed as administrator, I could not get the licensing to function - which PDF's need in order to embed.

I hope this works for someone else.


This only works on an Apple computer. If the PDF looks good on your computer, because you have the font on your system, but you know it will change on another person's computer (because they don't own that font), do the following. Open the offending PDF in Preview, on a Mac, then resave it as a PDF. I have used this a few times and it works fine.

  • Be advised that embedding a font, or even converting it to outline, and then sending it to someone else might be a breach of copyright. Please beware of the font license when doing this, especially in a commercial setting. In this particular case, it is almost quite definitely a breach of copyright, and will expose you to possible legal action.
    – PieBie
    Feb 9, 2023 at 8:27
  • So.. you're saying Apple doesn't honor font license restrictions in their apps? Interesting.
    – Scott
    Feb 9, 2023 at 15:09

If possible, I would always "outline" the text. By doing that, you know your design will be printed correctly. If you don't, you may get a surprise back. Nice design messed up by a wrong type face. Horrible.


Another solution, it's long but for sure everyone will see your design exactly as you designed it. Save each page as a jpg, the in photoshop convert each page to pdf. Then in acrobat, put them together. This is obviously for small jobs. I wish someone would explain how to get licenses for those fonts or if there is an easier way...

  • 1
    The problem is not "getting a license", but the license itself. Some font creators just don't want to see their font embedded, and their license reflect that.
    – Jongware
    Sep 12, 2015 at 10:23

Just disable "Create PDF Compatible File" tick when you save. enter image description here


convert every page to jpeg and put this image in the indesign file then convert the file to pdf with my best wishes

  • 1
    Welcome to GD.SE. This doesn't really answer the question; check help center to understand how the site works.
    – Luciano
    Jun 28, 2016 at 10:22
  • This is not a good idea.
    – Cai
    Jun 28, 2016 at 11:52
  • 1
    Not only is not a good idea, but the same option Lara already posted one year ago.
    – Rafael
    Jun 28, 2016 at 13:56

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