Missing Font Mysteries- Solved At Last!
Ilene Strizver Have you ever experienced the frustration of opening an existing document and being confronted with a prompt for a “missing font” that you have not used in the document? Or, have you on occasion found unused fonts listed in the Fonts in Use / Usage directory of your document and wondered how they got there?
This happens to just about every designer at one time or another. It can be both frustrating and time-consuming to resolve, and the actual mystery often remains unsolved, as to why or how the unused font(s) got in there in the first place! If you don’t find the cause when the discrepancy occurs, you will probably get an email or a call from your printer requesting the missing fonts, even if you insist that they are not used in the document.
The four most common explanations for these mysterious missing fonts are:
You have changed a font somewhere in the document, but neglected to include all the related line spaces and character spaces. Both off these invisibles hold font attributes. When selecting text to style in a different font, remember to select the pilcrow, the end-of-paragraph sign, which also holds formatting.
You have unused, formatted text located outside the live area, which uses the “mystery font(s).” How many times have you copied a text box to the background artboard of your document when playing around with different fonts styles, then forgotten that it’s “out there”? This is often the culprit, especially when you are using a previous document as a template.
You have overflow text, which is unseen, but contains the mystery font. It is common to select and change only the viewable text in a text box, and to overlook a few words or even a paragraph that might overflow and thus be unseen. If this is the case, the font used (and perhaps no longer needed) for the unseen text will still come up in the font directory. If the overflow text will no longer be part of the document, delete it; if it will remain in the document, change the font.
- You are the victim of default settings in either the Character or Paragraph Style sheet.
(The missing font might even be a version of Times (TT) that is not available in your operating system!) Whether or not you use style sheets in your document, the default font indicated in the basic, or default style, may show up as a missing font if it is not actively available in your system – even if you have not used it in your document. The fix is to locate it in the style sheet and remove and/or replace it.
Following up these clues will resolve the great majority of “missing font” mysteries.
- Editor’s Note: Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer and writer specializing in all aspects of typographic communication. She conducts Gourmet Typography workshops internationally. Read more about typography in her latest literary effort, Type Rules! The designer's guide to professional typography, 3rd edition, published by Wiley & Sons, Inc. This article was commissioned and approved by Monotype Imaging Inc.