You might have noticed that when a coworker or collaborator opens a Word document you’ve carefully styled, it looks a little different. This often happens because the user doesn’t have the same fonts you do. And when you use one of those fonts in your document, their copy of Word can’t recreate it. Instead, Word just picks either the default font or a similar font and does its best.
For everyday documents, this isn’t so much of a problem. But for documents where appearance matters, this can be a major downside. It’s one of the reasons that many people use PDFs to distribute content, but PDFs don’t offer the same editing capabilities as Word documents. If you need your text to stay the same and preserve editing capabilities, you’ll have to embed your fonts in Microsoft Word.
What does embedding fonts do?
Embedding the font saves the font file inside your Word document. This will have the effect of increasing the size of the file since now the font needs to ride along with the document. However, if you already have embedded images, the difference isn’t likely to be too noticeable. There are also space-saving measures you can take to reduce your file’s footprint.
This only works with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Publisher, and only with the Windows version of the applications. It won’t work on Mac, iOS, Android or web versions of any application.
Further, the font can only be embedded if the font allows it. This is called “embedding permission,” and not every font will allow it. It’s a way to limit the font’s usage to a number of machines, so licenses might exclude this use to lower the cost. If this happens, you’ll find that the recipient can view and print the document but not edit it.
How to embed fonts in Microsoft Word
To embed fonts in Microsoft Word, you’ll need to have the relevant document open and active.
1. Click the “File” menu in the ribbon.
2. Click “Options” on the left side of the screen.
3. Click “Save” in the menu pane on the left.
4. Find “Preserve fidelity when sharing this document,” and check the “Embed fonts in the file” option.
5. If you want to reduce the size of the file, check the “Embed only the characters used in the document (best for reducing file size)” option. This will only include characters that already appear in the document, reducing file size. However, your recipient won’t have full editing capabilities, and other styles of the typeface, like “Light” or “Semi-bold,” will not be available if they don’t already appear in the document.
6. Make sure to leave the “Do not embed common system fonts” option enabled. This will avoid shipping the document with common fonts like Calibri and Times New Roman. You can likely assume the end recipient already has those fonts installed.
If you need to preserve the appearance of your Word document, you can embed unusual fonts with the document itself. This will prevent font-related display errors and replacements. But it can significantly increase the size of the file, so be wary. PDFs may be a better option if editing is not a concern.