How to embed fonts in PDFs on Mac

4 min read

Most people prefer PDFs over other file types for documents not only because they are easy to use and viewable on any device, but also because they display content in exactly the way you intended. 

PDFs preserve layout, colors and images right from the get-go. That’s why when you send files to a professional printer, they will ask for a PDF document and not for a Word one, for example. 

In some cases, PDFs are also able to preserve fonts. Say you have a nice font that you’ve bought from a foundry and you’ve designed your PDF document around it. If you want to share that document with others, they won’t be able to see it the way you do (the document will look corrupted), because they don’t have the same font installed on their devices. 

That’s why in order to share PDFs with non-system fonts, you should embed them into your PDF first. So how to embed fonts in a PDF?

How to embed fonts in PDF on Mac

To embed fonts in PDF on Mac, you have to use either a PDF editor such as Adobe Acrobat Pro, or a text editor such as Microsoft Word, or a design app such as Adobe InDesign. 

Note: Not all fonts can be embedded, as embedding is an option that must be specifically allowed by the foundry according to your license.

But before we move into embedding, first you need to know how to check if fonts have actually been embedded in a PDF that you or someone else created.

You can do so with a free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader: 

  1. Open your PDF in Acrobat Reader
  2. Go to File ➙ Properties (Command + D)
  3. Navigate to Fonts
  4. If you see Embedded or Embedded Subset, then your PDF document has fully embedded fonts. If not, your fonts might not be visible to others, unless they have those fonts installed on their machines.

Acrobat Reader embeded fonts

Since Acrobat Reader is a read-only app, you can’t learn how to embed fonts in PDF Adobe Reader can display. You’d need to use Acrobat Pro for that instead.

How to embed fonts in PDF Adobe Acrobat Pro

Adobe Acrobat Pro is one of those all-around PDF-editing apps that can do practically anything, including embedding fonts to any PDF file.

Note: Adobe Acrobat Pro is not a free app and, as such, you’ll need an active subscription (or a trial version) to follow the steps below.

Here’s how to fully embed fonts in PDF with Acrobat Pro: 

  1. Open your PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro
  2. Go to File ➙ Print
  3. Set the printer to Adobe PDF and click Properties
  4. Navigate to Adobe PDF Settings
  5. Edit Default Settings
  6. Select Fonts
  7. Check “Embed all fonts”

How to embed fonts in PDF Mac with Adobe InDesign

Another Adobe software you can use to embed fonts is, of course, InDesign. As the most popular professional publishing software in the world, InDesign can modify any document meant for either printing or the web, from brochures to social media banners. 

Adobe InDesign can also show you how to embed all fonts in PDF: 

  1. Open your document in Adobe InDesign
  2. Go to File ➙ Adobe PDF Presets and pick any quality you like
  3. Save to launch a new dialog box
  4. Navigate to Advanced 
  5. Enter 0% in the “Subset fonts when percent of characters used is less than”
  6. Export

embed fonts in PDF with InDesign

How to embed PDF fonts without Adobe software

As mentioned above, while Adobe software is quite capable, lots of users find it bloated and expensive. Are there any other alternatives that can show you how to embed fonts in a PDF file? How about Microsoft Word? 

Microsoft Word is the most widely used text editor in the world. But it’s not just good for typing and editing documents. Under the hood, Word keeps tons of features for all kinds of scenarios, including font embedding. 

Here’s how to embed fonts in PDF Word settings: 

  1. Open your document in Microsoft Word
  2. Go to File ➙ Save As
  3. Set PDF in the format dropdown
  4. Click Options… 
  5. Check the PDF/A compliant box
  6. Click OK and Save

embed fonts in PDF Word

Now you know how to embed fonts in Word to PDF, but what if you don’t have Microsoft Word either? Or what if you’d like to know how to embed fonts in PDF without Acrobat but still using a PDF-editing tool? Well, then there’s nothing better for you than Nitro PDF Pro.

Nitro PDF Pro is a professional PDF editing app that you can use for any PDF manipulation you can imagine, from merging files to converting formats, to encrypting documents, to embedding fonts. 

Overall, Nitro PDF Pro is lightweight, powerful, and fast. Here’s how to use it to embed any fonts into your PDF file: 

  1. Open your PDF in Nitro PDF Pro
  2. Go to File ➙ Export…
  3. Select Flattened PDF in the dropdown
  4. Export

embed any fonts into your PDF

When you flatten PDFs, all images, layouts, and fonts would be preserved exactly as they are.

As you can see, there are many ways of how to embed fonts in a PDF on Mac. You can use Adobe apps like Acrobat Pro and InDesign. You can learn how to embed fonts in PDF from Word. But our recommendation would be to get Nitro PDF Pro and never worry about missing a PDF-editing tool ever again.

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