Embedding fonts in EPS for placing in docs (in progress)

This page discusses what happens when an EPS file that uses a font (as opposed to using outlines) is used in a document, and that document is then printed or used to create a PDF.

Many graphics applications let you choose to embed fonts in the EPS files they create. If you import these into a DTP application, the behavior of those graphics depend on quite a few factors. This is no where near a thorough discussion of many applications.

Presently this page only includes Windows topics. Mac will come later, but I can tell you this: The Mac, at least in OS 9 and below, is a heckuva lot better at this than Windows!

PDFs from docs with EPS graphics


Illustrator 9, FrameMaker 6, Distiller 5. The Acrobat Distiller PPD has been modified to exclude all fonts from residency other than the Couriers.


  1. Created Illustrator EPS with one nonresident PostScript font and one nonstandard TrueType font.
  2. Save one EPS with fonts embedded, one without.
  3. Turn off font in ATM.
  4. Import each EPS into FrameMaker (two separate files). Nothing else appears on the page. See "Triggering downloads" below.
  5. Print PostScript and distill each file twice: Once with Distiller having knowledge of where the PostScript and TrueType fonts were located, once without.
  6. View in Acrobat 5, with the fonts still turned off in ATM.


Fonts embedded in
Distiller has knowledge
of font locations
Yes No Yes No TrueType PostScript
  X X   okay okay
X   X   okay okay
  X   X Courier Courier
X     X okay okay

Conclusion: An Illustrator graphic with an embedded font will distill okay if the font is embedded or if Distiller has knowledge of the font's location.

Triggering downloads

Say for example you have a page with a graphic that uses FontX, and FontX is a font that's not resident on your physical printer. The font is not embedded in the graphic. It is possible to find these behaviors: