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  Avoiding Font Substitution - Printing TrueType Fonts in Windows®
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PostScript® Printer Font Substitution

Anyone who does desktop publishing knows how critical it is to avoid font substitution in their page layouts. It is not a very well known fact that Windows PostScript printers will substitute certain TrueType® fonts by default. I ran into this one day while printing font specimen sheets of some of my Windows TrueType font collections. In some of the printouts I noticed that certain fonts were completely wrong. I tried sending the same printouts to Acrobat Distiller to be made into PDFs, but I got the same result! After digging into the settings of the printer drivers I noticed that all my PostScript printers were, indeed, setup to substitute certain trueType fonts.

Device Fonts

Nearly every modern PostScript printer comes with 35 Type 1 (PostScript) fonts permanently installed in the printer. More here on Type 1 fonts. These pre-installed fonts are called "device fonts". Following is a list of these 35 device fonts:

  • AvantGarde-Book
  • AvantGarde-BookOblique
  • AvantGarde-Demi
  • AvantGarde-DemiOblique
  • Bookman-Demi
  • Bookman-DemiItalic
  • Bookman-Light
  • Bookman-LightItalic
  • Courier
  • Courier-Bold
  • Courier-BoldOblique
  • Courier-Oblique
  • Helvetica
  • Helvetica-Bold
  • Helvetica-BoldOblique
  • Helvetica-Narrow
  • Helvetica-Narrow-Bold
  • Helvetica-Narrow-BoldOblique
  • Helvetica-Narrow-Oblique
  • Helvetica-Oblique
  • NewCenturySchlbk-Bold
  • NewCenturySchlbk-BoldItalic
  • NewCenturySchlbk-Italic
  • NewCenturySchlbk-Roman
  • Palatino-Bold
  • Palatino-BoldItalic
  • Palatino-Italic
  • Palatino-Roman
  • Symbol
  • Times-Bold
  • Times-BoldItalic
  • Times-Italic
  • Times-Roman
  • ZapfChancery-MediumItalic
  • ZapfDingats

Font Substitution Table

The Windows PostScript printer will try to substitute certain TrueType fonts in your document in favor of one of its built in Type 1 device fonts. The printer uses a "font substitution table" to determine which fonts to substitute. Depending on how your system is configured, the printer's font substitution table will contain some or all of the following fonts:

TrueType Font Substitute Font
Arial Helvetica
Arial Narrow Helvetica-Narrow
Book Antiqua Palatino
Bookman Old Style Bookman
Century Gothic AvantGarde
Century Schoolbook NewCenturySchlbk
Courier New Courier
Monotype Corsiva ZapfChancery
Monotype Sorts ZapfDingbats
Symbol Symbol
Times New Roman
Times

The above table lists all the fonts by family - which includes the 35 device fonts. Below is a breakout of the font substitution table showing all the 35 individual fonts.

TrueType Font Substitute Font
Arial Helvetica
Arial Bold Helvetica-Bold
Arial Italic Helvetica-Oblique
Arial Bold Italic Helvetica-BoldOblique
Arial Narrow Helvetica-Narrow
Arial Narrow Bold Helvetica-Narrow-Bold
Arial Narrow Italic Helvetica-Narrow-Oblique
Arial Narrow Bold Italic Helvetica-Narrow-BoldOblique
Book Antiqua Palatino-Roman
Book Antiqua Bold Palatino-Bold
Book Antiqua Italic Palatino-Italic
Book Antiqua Bold Italic Palatino-BoldItalic
Bookman Old Style Bookman-Light
Bookman Old Style Bold Bookman-Demi
Bookman Old Style Italic Bookman-LightItalic
Bookman Old Style Bold Italic Bookman-DemiItalic
Century Gothic AvantGarde-Book
Century Gothic Bold AvantGarde-Demi
Century Gothic Italic AvantGarde-BookOblique
Century Gothic Bold Italic AvantGarde-DemiOblique
Century Schoolbook NewCenturySchlbk-Roman
Century Schoolbook Bold NewCenturySchlbk-Bold
Century Schoolbook Italic NewCenturySchlbk-Italic
Century Schoolbook Bold Italic NewCenturySchlbk-BoldItalic
Courier New Courier
Courier New Bold Courier-Bold
Courier New Italic Courier-Oblique
Courier New Bold Italic Courier-BoldOblique
Monotype Corsiva ZapfChancery-MediumItalic
Monotype Sorts ZapfDingats
Symbol Symbol
Times New Roman Times-Roman
Times New Roman Bold Times-Bold
Times New Roman Italic Times-Italic
Times New Roman Bold Italic Times-BoldItalic

Using Type 1 Fonts to Avoid Font Substitution

Because Type 1 PostScript fonts are the preferred format for page layouts destined for printers and service bureaus, as a general rule you should obtain and install the 35 actual Type 1 fonts in your computer and use them in your layouts instead of their TrueType equivalents. If you prefer to use the typefaces in the TrueType column above, then obtain and install Type 1 versions.

Adobe Acrobat has already moved from Helvetica and Times to Arial MT and Times New Roman PS MT starting with Acrobat version 4. So if you have Acrobat 4 installed on your computer you can at least start with Arial MT and Times New Roman PS MT:

Type 1 Font Font Files
Arial MT _a______.pfb / pfm
Arial MT, Bold _ab_____.pfb / pfm
Arial MT, Italic _ai_____.pfb / pfm
Arial MT, Bold Italic _abi____.pfb / pfm
Times New Roman PS MT _er_____.pfb / pfm
Times New Roman PS MT, Bold _eb_____.pfb / pfm
Times New Roman PS MT, Italic _ei_____.pfb / pfm
Times New Roman PS MT, Bold Italic _ebi____.pfb / pfm

You can find these in the C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 4.0\Resource\Font folder.

Configuring The Printer to Avoid Font Substitution

Circumstances may dictate that you must use TrueType fonts. If the TrueType font you want to use is in the printer's font substitution table, then you will have to configure the Windows PostScript printer. You can edit the printer's font substitution table, but there is a more direct setting you can make that will bypass the font substitution table altogether.

Configuring a PostScript Printer to Avoid Font Substitution - Windows XP

Configuring a PostScript Printer to Avoid Font Substitution - Windows 98

 
 

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