fonts - embed complete or subset?

seejay

Well-known member
I have always believed that the right way to go when advising clients to create PDF's is to subset them. This week, I have experienced a problem where a subset font has 'dropped out' on the page and didnt print - strangely the problem only affected some of the characters i.e. some letters printed some dissappeared. We didn't notice the problem in prepress, it was printed, but fortunately the missing text was picked up prior to binding.

When looking at the file, I could see no obvious reason why it would drop out, so reported it to my RIP supplier as a tech issue - they have responded by claiming that the reason the font dropped out is because it is subsetted and not embedded as a complete font set. They elaborated and claimed that subsetting fonts is not standard in our industry - I think this explanation is pants!! any thoughts out theref?
 

Andy

Well-known member
Re: fonts - embed complete or subset?

Hi Seejay,

If the font was subsetted and some characters added/changed (e.g. with Acrobat), then yes you could get (missing sub-setted) characters dropping out. However, otherwise, it should work fine - subsetting is quite standard. Sounds like a bug in the RIP to me. Does the PDF file view correctly with Adobe Reader? If so, then definitely a bug in the RIP - you should get it reported as one. What RIP are you using?

PS If you had been using something like FirstPROOF to check your plate data, you would have noticed the disappearing letters and saved yourself a lot of time & money!!

Regards,

Andy.

Andy Cave,
Chief Executive Officer,
Hamillroad Software Limited.
www.firstproof.com
www.hamillroad.com
 

chris_r

Well-known member
Re: fonts - embed complete or subset?

i always advise to fully embed fonts. ive never really understood the disadvantage to this. i have had trouble making text corrections to pdfs that have been provided to us with subsetted fonts, and occasionally we can help a customer out by making late corrections to a pdf file.

we havent had any issues directly related to fully embedding to my knowledge. is there a disadvantage i am unaware of?

cr
 

Gerhard

Active member
Re: fonts - embed complete or subset?

Fonts are also under the copyright laws. Because of this normally they are only subset in a PDF file means only those letters, which are available in the text can be added with an editing software for PDF. If you have the right font already in your font folder you will not have problems editing text.
 

chris_r

Well-known member
Re: fonts - embed complete or subset?

that is one of the great pleasures of pdf...i dont have to play games with fonts. in my workflow, im not going to spend any time shuffling around loading fonts when i am getting print-ready pdf fies.

cr
 

TBjammin

Member
Re: fonts - embed complete or subset?

The only "disadvantage" that fully embedding fonts is that sometimes the RIP will use its own version of the font instead of the font used in the PDF. Subsetting avoids this because all fonts are given a new name. I have never had a problem with this and have always asked customers to embed the full font (when possible).

Subsetting does not allow for quick edits in the PDF (most of the time) and it is possible to get two of the same font in a PDF. When you get in a situation where you have two sets of the same font, it only uses the subset for one of them, thus leaving out characters in the other occurrence of the font, which makes it impossible to output correctly without creating outlines.
 

chris_r

Well-known member
Re: fonts - embed complete or subset?

i agree with all of that, and like tbjammin, it has never been an issue for me. we do make a lot of late text changes, and i hate dealing with fonts, so embed them all, and so far, im good.

cr

oh yeah, and i have used that same thought process with rampage and prinergy.
 

Dov Isaacs

Well-known member
Re: fonts - embed complete or subset?

In fact, any RIP, be it PostScript, PDF via PostScript translation, or direct PDF, that substitutes a resident font for any font in the PostScript or PDF stream is absolutely and blatantly out of compliance with either the PostScript or the PDF language specifications. If you indeed have such a RIP, the supplier of same owes you an update with a fix to prevent such font replacement. (In passing, I'll note that I've heard this story many times over with one common thread -- the person describing this symptom always heard about it third hand -- the type of thing - pun intended - that urban legends are made of.

With regards to subsetting and "quick edits," the text touch-up facility of Acrobat does not allow editing of text unless the font is also installed on the user's system, regardless of whether the font in subset embedded, fully embedded, or not embedded. Why? Because (1) even with full font embedding, not all the font metrics are actually embedded in the font and (2) there are legal restrictions in the vast majority of commercial fonts (including every font from Linotype, Monotype, and ITC - including such fonts licensed via Adobe) that specifically prevent embedding for editability. Recent versions of PitStop have again allowed edits using embedded fonts, but such operations are of dubious legality.

- Dov
 

seejay

Well-known member
Re: fonts - embed complete or subset?

Thanks guys,

I appreciate all your comments and feedback.

The file was supplied to us as a pdf, all we did was process the file - no editing or modification of the file was done. When checking the file in Pitstop, the font is subsetted, but there is nothing about it that rings any alarm bells.

Incidentally, when we outline the font, it processes correctly - but as a rule, we tend not to outline fonts.

The problem has been forwarded to our Workflow supplier - I will see what they have to say about it. My gut feeling with this is its due to a bug in the RIP.
 

chris_r

Well-known member
Re: fonts - embed complete or subset?

> {quote:title=Dov Isaacs wrote:}{quote}

> With regards to subsetting and "quick edits," the text touch-up facility of Acrobat does not allow editing of text unless the font is also installed on the user's system, regardless of whether the font in subset embedded, fully embedded, or not embedded. Why? Because (1) even with full font embedding, not all the font metrics are actually embedded in the font and (2) there are legal restrictions in the vast majority of commercial fonts (including every font from Linotype, Monotype, and ITC - including such fonts licensed via Adobe) that specifically prevent embedding for editability. Recent versions of PitStop have again allowed edits using embedded fonts, but such operations are of dubious legality.
>
> - Dov

dov,

i appreciate the explaination very much! being one who would never willfully disobey important legal restrictions myself, the folks at enfocus should be ashamed!

ok, ok, the temptation to use pitstop to make edits is often too much for me to handle, but whats a guy to do when the press is down and a word is mispelled. im only human!

cr
 

chris_r

Well-known member
Re: fonts - embed complete or subset?

> {quote:title=LoneGoose wrote:}{quote}
> misspelt ;)


i'll used pitstop to go back and make a quick edit of that! thats why im not paid to be a proofreader, i guess!

cr
 

disbellj

Well-known member
Re: fonts - embed complete or subset?

cr,

What program do you use to make last-minute edits to a supplied PDF file?

Don
 

chris_r

Well-known member
Re: fonts - embed complete or subset?

Don,

I initially will try the Acrobat Touch Up Text tool or the Pitstop Edit Text tool. one of the almost always works.

cr
 

disbellj

Well-known member
Re: fonts - embed complete or subset?

I guess I might have to look into Pitstop or maybe OneVision's PDF editor.

Don
 

chris_r

Well-known member
Re: fonts - embed complete or subset?

pitstop is a must-have in my neck of the woods. very versatile tools, has saved me many times. nowadays the only files we get from customers are pdfs, so we need to be able to crack them on the fly if we need to, and that is what pitstop allows for us. as a matter of fact, it would be hard to function without it.

cr
 

disbellj

Well-known member
Re: fonts - embed complete or subset?

Even though I don't get many PDFs (I don't ask for them from customers), I do get some, and it's getting harder to deal with making changes to them (although I think that if I had a good PDF editor I could make all changes needed if given a PDF 1.4 or higher with fully embedded fonts and live transparency). One must also make sure that at the rip, there are no fonts used by the system as substitutes and that the rip be set to fail any job missing fonts.

Don
 

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