How to solve common font issues in editable PDFs

QUESTION

I have created an editable PDF. When the user opens the PDF though they do not see the same fonts in the form fields that I have set. What has gone wrong?

STEP 1: CHECK THAT THE FONTS HAVE BEEN EMBEDDED

In order for fonts to be displayed correctly on someone else computer, the font has to either be installed on the computer or embedded into the PDF. Embedding the font into the PDF avoids having the user installing the font onto their computer. You can check that the fonts used in all form fields have been correctly embedded:

  • Open the PDF in Adobe Reader
  • Right click on the PDF and click on Document Properties
  • Under the fonts tab, check that all the fonts you have used are in the list
  • Next to each font you have used in a form field, it should say (Embedded), not just (Embedded Subset). An embedded subset means that only a few characters can be used of a font and not all that you might want to use

Some fonts cannot be embedded because of license restrictions. Most programs (Adobe Acrobat Pro and FlatPack) will warn you if the font you selected won’t embed fully because of license restrictions.

STEP 2: PUT SOME DEFAULT TEXT INTO ALL FORM FIELDS

Even though you have embedded the fonts and set the form fields to use the font as described, some versions of Adobe Reader on a Mac will revert to another font as soon as you start typing in an empty form field. To avoid this set some initial text on all the form fields in the PDF. Many products use “Edit here” or give an example of what to type into the form field.

STEP 3: ENSURE THE FORM FIELD IS NOT SET TO RICH TEXT FIELD

Unfortunately, this is another bug with some versions of Adobe Reader. If your form field is set to Rich Text Formatting, and the user does not have the font installed, when they click on the form field, the form field is reset. To avoid this make sure the form field is not set to a Rich Text Field in the PDF.

STEP 4: OPEN PDF IN LATEST VERSION OF ADOBE READER

Opening the editable PDF directly from a browser will not work well. Most browser based PDF viewers will not know how to display the form fields correctly. Put some instructions in your product to first download the PDF to the computer and then to open the PDF in the latest version of Adobe Reader.

FLAT PACK INSIGHTS / TIPS:

  • Any form fields will automatically have the font embedded in them.
  • If the font has a license restriction, you will see a warning which font was not able to be embedded.
  • You can also automatically copy the textbox text into the form field, by checking the “Copy Text to form field” checkbox.