Embedding Fonts In Word

Using different fonts for your text can spice up your document and make it look more stylish and appealing. However, not everyone has the same collection of fonts on their computer as you have on yours – especially if you have downloaded some new ones. If you send your Word document to a colleague and you have used a font that they don’t have, your document may look a complete mess! Word attempts to find a substitute font for the missing one, but sometimes the characters used in the original document don’t have an equivalent in the replacement font. Chaos ensues! Also, precise formatting may no longer apply as Word uses the character widths and sizing of the substituted font, not the original. Therefore, text may flow differently on the target system and lines or pages may not break at the same place as originally intended.

One solution to this problem is to use only the fonts that are supplied by default with your Windows operating system. This makes for a dull Word document though. Another, far better, solution is to embed the font you are using in the document before you email it to your colleague. The font gets bundled up with the document and can be used by the recipient when they open it. Of course, bundling the document with “something extra” like a font will increase the file size – sometimes dramatically.

It’s important to note that only TrueType fonts are able to be embedded, and then only those fonts whose creator has given licensing permission. Some font creators set their fonts to be non-embeddable.

In previous versions of Windows, you needed a special tool to check whether a font was embeddable. Windows 7, however, gives you direct access to this information.

Are You Allowed To Embed That Font?

To check whether you are able to embed a font in your Word document, and assuming you’re using Windows 7, you first need to get a list of all the fonts on your system. Click Start > Control Panel > Appearance and Personalisation > Fonts.

Font Management

Click to enlarge

Your default view will probably show a collection of large icons. We need to see more details about these fonts, so in the menu bar, click View > Details. If you can’t see the menu bar, click Organise > Layout > Menu Bar. Once you’re displaying the font details, you’ll notice that Font embeddability is displayed in the far right column. It’s this information that tells us what we can do with the font with regard to embedding it in Word documents. The options available are:

  • Installable
  • Editable
  • Restricted license – to get more details about the restrictions, hover over the words Restricted license. Restricted license usually means that all you are able to do is print the document of view it.