There are a couple of documents I need to edit (making small changes) from time to time, and I only have them in PDF format. That would not necessarily be a big problem, except they use some fonts I don't have, so sometimes I had to convert text to shapes (groan) and write things in a different font (or spend time looking for similar fonts that are free). I would also like to recreate the documents in ODT format for easier editing, and getting the right fonts is an important step.

I identified the main fonts involved: Palatino, Baskerville and ITC Eras (each one with different styles) and found that they are supposed to be included with certain versions of Microsoft Office. They can be bought separately too, but they seem quite expensive. I don't have MS Office, and I use Linux most of the time.

So the main question is what's the best way to get those fonts (legally) or really close alternatives. Here are some options I'm considering:

  1. Buying Office (or at least Word)
    It looks like 2013 is the currently available version, and I couldn't confirm that it includes those fonts. I would also prefer to install the fonts in Linux if possible.
  2. Buying the fonts individually
    That would surely work, but the problem is price. Each font seems to cost at least US$30 for just one style, and that adds up quickly.
  3. Buying font packages
    It would be nice to find a reasonably-priced package of MS Office fonts, or some other collection of fonts that includes the ones I'm looking for. However, I haven't found any such package.
  4. Finding free alternatives
    So far I found a "Libre Baskerville" font that's quite similar to the Baskerville used in those documents, but I haven't found an alternative for Eras.
  • 1
    There's a really good free Type1 + OTF Palatino designed for use with LaTeX (huge glyph set) at CTAN (the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network). Can't help with Eras, though. Mar 6, 2015 at 2:18
  • @StanRogers That font is based on URW Palladio L, which I already have installed; I checked and it looks really similar to Palatino, in fact it is mentioned on wikipedia as URW's version of Palatino. Thanks for the tip :)
    – aditsu
    Mar 6, 2015 at 2:29
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    I down voted. You've listed your 4 options, any answer would be purely opinion as to which of the 4 options is best. There's no way to provided a definitive answer to this "resource gathering" question beyond your listed 4 options. GD.SE isn't really a "personal search engine" if you are asking others to go find fonts for you.
    – Scott
    Mar 6, 2015 at 5:00
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    Also I don't expect anybody to "go find fonts for me". I'm just hoping to get some advice based on other people's experience. Anyway, thanks for commenting.
    – aditsu
    Mar 6, 2015 at 5:35
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    Fact based how? Buy office, buy the fonts, find free fonts - those facts? Not sure what other options there would be. Perhaps stand on a street corner with a sign "Will work for fonts"?
    – Scott
    Mar 6, 2015 at 8:35

2 Answers 2


The best solution I found so far is a combination of options 2 (buy fonts individually) and 4 (find free alternatives). I suspect (but haven't confirmed) that current MS Office doesn't include all those fonts (option 1), and that there are no such font packages available (option 3).

The details differ for each font:

  1. Palatino (or some variation of it) is included in recent versions of Windows, and Stan Rogers pointed out that a free version is available in Linux. URW Palladio L looks virtually identical to Palatino, and the font he mentioned, tex-gyre-pagella, is an extension with more glyphs.
  2. Baskerville has a free alternative called Libre Baskerville. It does have some small differences; if that is not acceptable, the solution is to buy a suitable Baskerville font.
  3. ITC Eras doesn't seem to have any free alternative that's similar. The obvious solution is to buy it; alternatively, it can be replaced with a free font that will inevitably look quite different (if that's acceptable).

Finally, I would like to add that Google Fonts is a good resource for free fonts, not just for the web - many if not all the fonts listed there are also freely available for download in ttf or otf format.


You do have a legal, free option: Download the Microsoft Power Point Viewer. It includes some, if not all, Office fonts.

  • 1
    Thanks, but I couldn't find any new font installed afterwards (I also tried the word viewer). I unpacked the installer and found only the "C" fonts inside (Calibri, Cambria, Candara, Consolas, Constantia, Corbel), all of which are also included with windows 7, and none of which I'm looking for. I also noticed that windows 7 includes Palatino Linotype.
    – aditsu
    Mar 6, 2015 at 14:47

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