Illustrator is a powerful vector graphics editor that’s widely used by graphic designers, illustrators, and other creative professionals. One of the most critical aspects of creating graphics in Illustrator is the use of fonts.
In this article, we’ll show you how to embed fonts in Illustrator, so your graphics look the same on all devices, even if the font isn’t installed on the device.
Having spent tons of time on a design, you want to ensure that your work is consistent and accurate, no matter where it is viewed. This includes using the right fonts, which can be a challenge when sharing files with others.
One solution is to embed the fonts in your Illustrator file so that they are included with the document and won’t be substituted with another font on someone else’s computer.
In this guide, we’ll explain how to embed fonts in Illustrator, so you can make sure your work looks exactly as you intended.
Why Do I Need To Embed Fonts?
The great thing about Illustrator is that you can use any font you like.
Font embedding is usually the most important task to be done before sending a file for print production or making presentations from another device.
If you have been creating graphics for eBooks, banners, or digital resources, chances are you may have been stuck with an Illustrator document file that can’t be viewed properly because of missing fonts.
This is similar to situations where you aren’t able to view files with missing links or images.
The best way would be to embed images and fonts used in the files.
What Happens If I Don’t Embed Fonts?
Missing fonts can be a nightmare leading to a heart attack because no matter how gorgeous your design is, your artwork can look like this:
When it is supposed to look like this:
If you are curious, this fitness logo is created by Zeppelin Graphics. The font is called Southern Aire, but it’s only for personal use. Purchase the commercial license super bundle from the font creator himself, Måns Grebäck, a very talented fonts guy!
If you don’t embed fonts and happened that you opened your file on another device that doesn’t have those fonts installed, you will see the Missing Fonts dialog box:
Illustrator will replace those fonts with substitute fonts and you won’t be pleased.
They will never turn out well, the text will not be aligned in the way you want, and will be very ugly, trust me.
So if a vendor, partner, colleague, or printer has requested for you to embed fonts before sending to them the Illustrator file, it’s a good idea and there is a very good reason for you to do so.
If for some reason, you’d rather not embed fonts, that is fine. The other way is to rely on Illustrator to activate fonts from Adobe Fonts. It will automatically detect and replace the missing fonts with the same one from its font library. But you may not be so lucky all the time as Adobe may not have the font you want.
You can package your file such that Illustrator will automatically gather all the fonts and images you are using into one folder. Then, transfer the whole folder, with the inclusion of font files over to your other device or print shop’s computer. Whoever opens this file must have the packaged fonts and images in the same folder within the device.
When Illustrator Font Could Not Be Embedded
I know, Illustrator is so good, yet some days it can be a pain, I tear up a bit when I see this pop-up notice that says “Cannot save the file as the font [name of font] could not be embedded because of licensing restrictions. Please turn off the PDF compatibility option and try again.”.
You may have encountered such errors before. This is by far the most common issue when it comes to the saving process with a downloaded font. You just wish to save the Illustrator document and now you have to embed the fonts?? And you must be thinking, “how do I know what licensing issue is that?“.
Is it because the fonts are Opentype fonts or Truetype fonts? Or worse, it made you wonder if you have violated some font license agreement. Even if you were to change the fonts, there are so many different fonts out there, how would you know which font will work or display errors like this again?
The problem may not be due to font licensing issues, but the font may have been created such that it doesn’t allow embedding. So what are you going to do to move on?
I hear you.
If you want to learn more about how to embed fonts and save your file, read on.
How to Embed Fonts in Illustrator in 4 Easy Ways
What Does Embed A Font Mean?
In Adobe Illustrator, embedding a font is where everything that has to do with the font and font information used in the file is saved in Illustrator. In this way, Illustrator recognizes the font style, look, and type, and will have it shown with the original design wherever you view it from.
Here are 4 methods to embed fonts in Illustrator:
1. Uncheck Create PDF Compatible File
Step 1: Go to File on the top menu bar, and select Save As….
Step 2: Type in your file name in the Save As box and select Format as Adobe Illustrator (ai).
Step 3: In the Illustrator Options dialog box, the default setting includes the “Create PDF Compatible File” property. Uncheck or deselect this option.
You will see that the sentence “Subset fonts when percent of characters used is less than: 100%” will be grayed out.
Then click the OK button.
You won’t get the error message again and your file is saved.
2. Embed Font as Outlines
With the text fonts that you’d like to embed, select the text layer or layers. Then, select Type on the top menu and select Create Outlines in the drop-down menu.
You can also use keyboard shortcuts by pressing Shift + Command + O on a mac.
Or Shift + Ctrl + O on Windows.
You will now see that your text is converted to a vector file format with anchor points or pathed points and a text outline. Your fonts are now embedded and can’t be edited or selected like editable text.
Note that the file size of your document or the size of your artwork file will increase when you outline fonts in Illustrator.
3. Embed Font Using Expand
Other than using Create Outlines to embed text, is to learn how to Expand text in Adobe Illustrator. Select your text, then, select Object in the top menu and select Expand. Or select Object > Expand.
In the Expand dialog box, Object and Fill would have been checked by default. Then click the OK button.
You will see that your artwork has been converted to a vector file format, similar to the Create Outlines method.
4. Save As An Electronic Document or PDF
Similar to an Indesign Document, this method requires you to save the file or export it as PDF to embed the fonts.
Once you are ready to export your file, select File in the top menu and select either Save As… or Save a Copy… in the drop-down menu.
A dialog box to save the file will open up.
Under Format, select Adobe PDF, which is to be opened via Adobe Acrobat. Then click the Save button.
Next, the Save Adobe PDF export dialog window opens up, and select PDF / X-1a; 2001 in the Adobe PDF preset section.
Then, select the Save PDF button.
You can open up the PDF document to check the fonts in your file, either with Adobe Acrobat Pro or any PDF editor.
Illustrator Font Embedding FAQ
How do I package fonts in Illustrator?
You can package fonts like how you package a file in Illustrator. With your document opened, save your file, then, go to File > Package…. Check all boxes in the Package dialog box and click the Package button. Open the folder where you’ve packaged the file, you will see a folder labeled “Fonts”. You will see all fonts used packaged inside.
Final Thoughts: How to Embed Font in Illustrator
Out of these methods, my best choice of embedding fonts would be to save the file as PDF. Compared to Creating Text Outlines you still maintain the original file with editable text. If you need to make changes, Your text file is still available for you to make edits.