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How many times do I need to embed fonts using pdflatex
March 31, 2012 3:15 AM   Subscribe

My thesis is in latex, with PDF graphics that I've made but without fonts embedded in them. The graphics all use the same fonts, so can I embed them only in one of the PDF input files, or do I need to do it for all of them?

I want to be able to send the PDF to my university's bindary, so the first I see of it will be once it's in the expensive hard book format! I don't want to lose quality by sending the whole file back through ghostscript. In the worst case I could print it myself but it would be far easier to get them to do it.
posted by kg to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
If I understand your question correctly, then what you need to do is embed per PDF. Having fonts embedded in one PDF will not allow that font to be used for any purposes other than that single file. It is not a shared resource for other apps on hosting system.
posted by lampshade at 3:57 AM on March 31, 2012

Here's a hopefully better example of what i'm trying to do.

The latex file has code similar to:

So my output from pdflatex (out.pdf) would have the 3 images in it. But, a.pdf, b.pdf, c.pdf don't have fonts embedded. If I change a.pdf to embed the fonts in that, will they also be used in all of the output, or do I also need b.pdf and c.pdf? I'd only be sending out.pdf to the printers/bindery.
posted by kg at 4:10 AM on March 31, 2012

To be absolutely safe, you'll need to embed in all of a, b & c. Sure, out.pdf may be a smidge bigger, but will have every character you need.

Fonts embedded in PDF are often subsetted; that is, only the glyphs used in that file are embedded. Consequently, you might get missing characters if you're relying on a subset embedded font in another file.

(Fonts can also be re-encoded to save space, so your letter A in one file might be 💩 in another. This used to be far less common; my prepress experience is about a decade out of date now, though.)

Before going to the printer, do you have access to a preflight tool? What you see in Reader or Preview may not always be what you'll get on the page. I really would recommend printing a proof for yourself. If you haven't proofed it, the bindery will happily take your money twice.
posted by scruss at 4:47 AM on March 31, 2012 [3 favorites]

You need to embed the fonts in ALL the PDFs individually.
Think of the PDFs as isolated containers. They contain everything they need to do their job, but do not share their contents with other containers.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:28 AM on March 31, 2012

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