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Embedded Fonts: Keep Your Documents Looking Good!

Thursday, November 18th, 2004 by | Filed Under: MS Office Help, MS Word

Embedded Fonts: Keep Your Documents Looking Good!

We constantly hear about news reporters “embedded” in the military to cover the war, well, how about a font embedded in your Word doc?

There is an ancient Chinese proverb that says, “He who creates a beautiful Word document is wise, but he who enables others to see that beautiful Word document is wiser still.”

Okay, it’s not really an ancient proverb. But it is true!

”Have you’ve ever found a cool font on the web and used it in a document? Chances are if you sent the document to somebody else, your cool font didn’t show up the same on their computer. Word will substitute missing fonts with whatever it deems the closest match – and Word is not always very good at finding close matches.


So wouldn’t it be great if you could just include the font with the document?

(Okay, this is a tips column. You know where I’m going with this.)


Embedding fonts in your documents is a simple process. From the Tools menu, select Options to bring up the Options dialog box.

Click the Save tab and click the box on the option Embed TrueType fonts .


You also have the option of embedding just the characters that are in use in your document. This is useful if you are using a very complex or flowery font and wish to keep the file size down. If you’ve used a special font for a headline or title, Word will save just the information it needs to reproduce only those characters used in the document.

However, if you embed only the characters in use, and then the person who gets the file wants to correct a spelling mistake or make some other change to that title, they are limited to only the letters you have already used. So it’s a trade-off between file-size and convenience. And since this whole thing is about convenience, I’d recommend going with the whole font. The choice, as always, is yours.


“Dear Tips Column, I have this friend who uses a Macintosh…”

Wait, he uses a Mac, and you’re still friends with him?

No, ha ha, I use Macs sometimes, too. But when you send Word documents to a Mac, even if you’ve embedded the fonts, they won’t show up properly unless the receiver has the Mac equivalents of those same fonts installed. Only other Windows users will be able to see your font-embedded document in all its glory.

But then, Windows users make up something like 95 percent of the world, so it’s okay.


This is mostly my personal opinion, but as a writer and designer, I have one suggestion for the world: Please, refrain from using Arial or Times New Roman for anything you’re going to print. Both of those fonts were specially designed to look good on a computer monitor – not on paper. There’s a whole world of subtlety in fonts that just cannot be expressed in the 72 dots per inch of a monitor.

Use something like Verdana, Georgia, or anything with the word ‘book’ in it. Print them out, and compare them with the overused Arial and Times New Roman.

Try it! You’ll impress your boss! Amaze your friends! Win the love and admiration of complete strangers! Well, you’ll at least produce more professional-looking documents.

~ Tom Dalton

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