Thursday, January 22, 2009

Embedding Fonts in PDF using OpenOffice.org

i am at a workplace where i can afford to use a non-mainstream product for things that i want to do. because, well i don't get paid enough to tow the line to standardization and i have enough power to control the destiny of my job to some extent.  one of the products that i choose to use is openoffice.org for my word processing needs (for small documents, large or complicated documents get LaTeX).  i still use excel and powerpoint because well excell rocks and powerpoint doesn't but at least powerpoint works really well with the tablet.


but back to openoffice.org writer.  last week i wrote a lab for organic chemistry that taught students to draw chemical structures and also to embed them in microsoft word.  i wrote the lab in openoffice.org because it is so much easier to control various things like outline format and picture layout in openoffice.org.  one thing i didn't anticipate is that embedding the drawings in writer and then exporting to pdf meant that the fonts in the drawings were still fonts in the pdf.  this is a good thing in many ways probably but it had one unintended consequence.  one student opened up the pdf and printed it (good thing) but in the process some piece of equipment (either computer or printer) didn't have the symbol font.  (i know... what doesn't have the symbol font?) so my letter pi curiously turned into a q (not sure what alternate font it chose). so i went looking for how to embed all the fonts in a pdf and yup it is there. writer does rock.  so the way to do it and i'll probably do it with all pdf files that i post from now on given the variability in people's computers, is when you click on export to pdf it pops up a menu.  one option is PDF/A-1. this is an archive format that anticipates that someday everyone will have different fonts so it forces the fonts to embed.

10 comments:

Groovyspecs said...

That was a VERY helpful post! Thank you so much, you just made my day a whole lot easier :)

dr. Hannibal Lecter said...

You just made my day with this post, thanks!

nachtstern said...

omg, this just so saved me!
I was trying to export my lesson plan while preserving the fonts and had trouble finding out how.
Thanks!!!

timotheonb said...

Thanks a million. I needed to find out how to embed fonts so I can publish a book with an online publisher. They require I have embedded fonts so that I can publish it.
timotheonb

René said...

Thanks very much. This comes in real handy with writing my resume in open office.

Michael Weiss said...

Cool. Not at all obvious.

Claire said...

Can't thank you enough for this information - this information should be in the help areas so that individuals don't have spend hours and hours trying to have fonts embedded for publishing as well as sharing.

PhotoExtremist said...

True, but links do not work when you open the PDF in Adobe Reader after saving it in the PDF/A format. :(

Sharon Lippincott said...

Well, shucks. Win a few, lose a few. I do have Adobe, but when I use OpenOffice, which I usually do, it's so easy to use the built-in pdf function.

Most of the time font embedding trumps links, and I so appreciate that the first search link I tried gave me this fun post.

BTW, if you are doing POD books, Adobe is still the standard, especially if there is a chance you'll be selling in Europe.

Mr. D said...

Hi! Yeah, i've tried embedding fonts with the PDF-/A-1a option, but then usually parts of my text end up missing, if they are near a graphic. This doesn't happen when I uncheck that option. What is going on?