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Embedd fonts AND Editable PDF?

Community Beginner ,
Jun 15, 2023 Jun 15, 2023

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Hi All,

 

Is there any Adobe app that will allow me to make an editable PDF that also has embedded fonts? I work for an arts organization at a univeristy that has very specific brand guidelines. We don't have the resources to create promotional material for everyone so right now we have a Canva subscription that allows us to create templates with our approved colors and typography but we'd like an alternative. I'll also say that some of the faculty who need these posters may not exactly be super savvy with design or app use. After researching online it seems one can either have an editable PDF (mostly I see Acrobat used for this) or embed fonts into a PDF via InDesign.

 

Any suggestions would be much appreciated! I'm even trying to see if I can create something in Microsoft Word but the fonts seem to be the real issue here.

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Community Expert , Jun 16, 2023 Jun 16, 2023

I thought about it but it would require training and most importantly, InCopy is not going to produce high-quality output so there would be a need for someone to output the updated files in InDesign.

It's certainly the way to go for documents that only need small edits to content but beyond the training, it's absolutely essential to be very organized.

The licenses are $5.00/month per user for anyone without a CC license.

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Community Expert ,
Jun 15, 2023 Jun 15, 2023

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I believe that the logic is that fonts are embedded to allow display and print, with the fonts often subsetted and encrypted to prevent inadvertent distribution. That does not enable editing unless, possibly, the user has the complete, presumably licensed font on their system. 


╟─ Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Guide to Pro Results (Amazon) ─╢

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 15, 2023 Jun 15, 2023

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Thank you for the quick response! Yes, the issue is the font licensing and even use of Adobe programs. The university has CC installed on computers but the specific font we use was purchased from the foundry so is not easily accessible.

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Community Expert ,
Jun 15, 2023 Jun 15, 2023

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Let's be clear..PDFs are an end product. While basic editing is possible, you would indeed need to embed the entire font by choosing zero as the percentage for subsetting, but even then there's no assurance that the entire font will be available.

 

In short, you're chasing rainbows here because beyond the most basic edits, recreating the PDF from the original document is the proper way to go.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 15, 2023 Jun 15, 2023

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Definitely chasing rainbows here! Just not sure if there is a working solution that could make the faculty more independent with their own promotional materials but ensure that they don't violate the branding guidelines. I thought there could be a google form or something that faculty would fill out and then I could manually input it into an existing template file, export is as a PDF and sent back, but even that minimal amount of work can easily add up and we have limited staff to accomodate requests. Thank you for the assistance!

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Valorous Hero ,
Jun 15, 2023 Jun 15, 2023

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It really depends how much editing is needed? If you could share an example of what needs to be edited, that would be helpful.

If we're talking about changing small things like a name, a price, or a time, you can add form fields to your PDF and export as an interactive PDF.

This will change the colour-space of the PDF to RGB.

But it will enable the end-user to modify those bits of information without otherwise mangling your design.

For the fonts, it works as follows: If you set the font of a text field in InDesign's Buttons and Forms panel, the font will not be embedded. The user will need to have the font installed on their system. This might not be such a problem if you choose to use free fonts, such as any Google fonts, etc.

If you want to use a pro font that you have bought: Many of them, though not all, allow embedding.

To embed the font, open the interactive PDF in Acrobat, select the text field, and select the font you want to apply to that field. If Acrobat does not show a warning that the font cannot be embedded, that means the font can and has been embedded. In that case, anyone with the PDF can fill in the field and will be able to use the font you have selected, even if they do not have it installed on their own system.

If you want to set the font to be embedded in InDesign (rather than in Acrobat), it is not possible to do so natively. My (free for short forms) add-on, FormMagic (https://www.id-extras.com/products/formmagic/), will let you do this (and a lot more, such as setting alignment and colours) in InDesign.

HTH,

Ariel

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 15, 2023 Jun 15, 2023

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Interesting and very informative for me to file away even if not applicable for this! Essentally, we get requests from faculty in the arts, theatre/dance, and music schools for small flyers or posters they can put up on campus to promote an event, like say a lecture or a performance. The colors and typography, logos, etc. have to be approved by branding so the idea is that if a template exists that is pre-approved, faculty could simply change things like date/time, location, and title to suit their needs. It could even just be typography based with no images. This is an idea that is in process, previously the promotional mateiral has been a bit all over the place, so unfortnately I don't have a visual example to share.
Looking forward to checking out FormMagic, I'm sure it's something we can use in the future. Thank you so much!

 

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Community Expert ,
Jun 15, 2023 Jun 15, 2023

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@JEBCWMCA Several things I noticed in your post.

 

If you're using Canva and you're at a University, note that Canva can't create a PDF that's fully compliant with the PDF/UA standards for accessibility (which is required for most, if not all, academia in the US, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere). Here's a tech-blog that explains the different US laws for accessibility.  https://www.pubcom.com/blog/us-laws/all/

 

Generally, fonts should be embedded into the PDF at the time the PDF is exported from the source file. But Canva gives little or no control over this.

 

So a PDF exported from Canva is a hot mess that will need substantial remediation in Acrobat or other tools to bring it into compliance.  This is not an efficient workflow.

quote

After researching online it seems one can either have an editable PDF (mostly I see Acrobat used for this) or embed fonts into a PDF via InDesign.

 

There's something not right with this "either/or" statement.

First, the font must be embedded into the PDF (at the time it's exported) in order for it to be editable. Otherwise, the text can turn to gibberish when someone attempts to edit it...because the font's glyphs aren't embedded.

 

Second, editing tools are extremely limited in a PDF. It's not a word processor or desktop publishing design program, so it's difficult to change large amounts of text and have it reflow correctly. Doesn't matter whether you use Acrobat or another company's PDF software. The file format wasn't designed to be changed or heavily edited.

 

 

I'm even trying to see if I can create something in Microsoft Word but the fonts seem to be the real issue here.

 

Trying to understand your project. I think you want some templates to give admin staff and faculty so that they can fill in the details and publish the final PDF themselves. Correct?

 

You're not the first person to want this! But it's a tough workflow to accomplish.

Word might be your best best. You can create form controls in the Word file (expandable text blocks that can be edited as needed) and because it's Word, there's no need for your staff to learn a new program. They can export to an accessible PDF from Word and distribute the final PDF.

 

And Word can accommodate your branding requirements: color, fonts, layout appearance. You will, however, have to learn how to use Word, something that most designers don't do. But it can be done. Our shop has done this type of template for our clients to use.

 

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents
|    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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Community Expert ,
Jun 15, 2023 Jun 15, 2023

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And everything the guys said above is correct: @BobLevine @TᴀW @James Gifford—NitroPress 

You have some of the best brains in the business on this thread!

 

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents
|    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 15, 2023 Jun 15, 2023

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Oh wow, thanks Bevi for all this great info! I must sheepishly admit, I have never used Canva. The larger marketing group that my organization is a part of told me about their Canva subscription and use so I am definitely going to bring this to their attention as we want to prioritize accessibility. I told them I would investigate alternatives and report back.
Yes, you are correct about use. Just looking for a basic flyer or poster that can be emailed or printed for faculty to promote things such as an artist lecture, a music concert, or a dance performance. I don't have an example of this because right now these posters aren't really standadized, but the idea is that we can have said one background color, one text color, and then a sort of who/what/where design that uses different weights of type to be appealing with our logo somehwere on the poster.

I suggested we just have a request form where faculty enter the information, someone inputs it into an existing Adobe template file and then exports and sends it back to the requestor, but it seems they have tried this approach before and even this is too much work for the department. I'm definitely looing for a sort of magic bullet that probably doesn't exist, but I volunteered to research options so here I am.

 

You hit the nail on the head with faculty not having to learn new programs, what I've heard from the marketing department is that in the past they have struggled to understand Adobe programs so it's a big ask to send, say an InDesign file and expect them to be able to adjust it. I like your Word suggestion, do you know of any specific resources for learning how to do this? I found some things on Youtube yesterday on first glance, but the seemed to all be using existing templates provided by Word.

I have never used the Adobe Support Community before and my mind is rather blown at how quick folks are resonding with such a high level of expertise! Thank you!

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Community Expert ,
Jun 15, 2023 Jun 15, 2023

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Hi @JEBCWMCA, glad we could help.

FYI, the title "Community Expert" indicates that the poster has been invited to contribute to the forums because of their expertise in a subject area or software program. Many of us are also part of Adobe's beta testing program which gives us a lot of background knowledge.

 

RE: templates, there isn't much out there on YouTube and LinkedIn Learning didn't impress me. So my shop runs a short class a couple times a year. I know there's one coming up later this summer. www.PubCom.com 

 

There isn't much material out there at all: I have 2 MS Office experts (MOS) and Microsoft beta testers who know so many details about office, and we've perfected a solution that works for our clients. We create templates for our clients, as well as coach their staff in making their own. Hence, the class.

 

In this blog, the 3 samples were created in Word, so there's quite a bit you can do while keeping it simple for everyone to drop in their headings, content, photo, etc. https://www.pubcom.com/blog/2020_02-05/should-flyers-be-accessible.shtml

 

We also encourage our clients to make these flyers accessible, even when they intend to only print them. There's always a case where someone grabs the PDF flyer and emails to a colleague...and that's when the accessibility "blank" hits the fan.

 

Hope this helps you figure out a solution for your team!

 

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents
|    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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Community Expert ,
Jun 15, 2023 Jun 15, 2023

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I wonder if maybe an InCopy workflow with InDesign template files might be the way to go...

I'm surprised Bob didn't suggest this. Preumably if your university is licensing Creative Cloud it includes InCopy. The question would be if your faculty members would have access.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 15, 2023 Jun 15, 2023

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I've never heard of InCopy! Maybe I shouldn't say these out loud and forever on the internet. 😉

 

Thank you, am going to look into this tomorrow!

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Community Expert ,
Jun 16, 2023 Jun 16, 2023

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I don't use InCopy, myself, but it's the companion program for InDesign built for designer/author collaboration. Designer does the layout in InDesign, Author can edit the text (and maybe graphics) in InCopy.

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Community Expert ,
Jun 15, 2023 Jun 15, 2023

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Hm, interesting suggestion, @Peter Spier.

It could work.

One drawback I see with an InDesign/InCopy "template" is that it must fit on the page layout.

A Word template is more fluid...it can just roll over to the next page when things go too long. And it's form content controls (essentially, form fields) are also fluid and can expand to fit the content.

Going to half to think more about this!

 

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents
|    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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Community Expert ,
Jun 16, 2023 Jun 16, 2023

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I think rigidity is actually an asset if you're dealing with templates for small brochures and posters. These are fixed size/format documnets that you don't want to have the text run over.

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Community Expert ,
Jun 16, 2023 Jun 16, 2023

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I thought about it but it would require training and most importantly, InCopy is not going to produce high-quality output so there would be a need for someone to output the updated files in InDesign.

It's certainly the way to go for documents that only need small edits to content but beyond the training, it's absolutely essential to be very organized.

The licenses are $5.00/month per user for anyone without a CC license.

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