Converting Fonts to Outlines in Your Print Files

When sending files to a commercial printer, they often request that you convert fonts to outlines first. This is so they can open your files without needing to load the proper fonts onto their system. It not only simplifies their workflow, but streamlines the file transfer process for everyone involved.

There are various ways to create outlines directly in your InDesign files, but I don’t recommend messing with your native files for this. Inevitably you’ll have to make changes to that file, and if you accidentally choose “save” rather than “save as,” your latest editable version could be lost forever. #designersworstnightmare

Instead, I recommend converting fonts to outlines in your PDF files. This is a much safer option, not to mention super simple and fast. Just follow the steps below.

Converting fonts to outlines in your native files is a risky move. Inevitably you’ll have to make changes to that file, and if you accidentally choose “save” rather than “save as," your latest editable version could be lost forever. Instead, convert fonts to outlines in your print-ready PDF files. This is a much safer option, not to mention super simple and fast. Click to learn my 3 simple steps to converting fonts to outlines in PDF files. #copperbtmdesign

CONVERTING FONTS TO OUTLINES IN A PDF FILE

After creating a PDF of your file, follow these 3 simple steps to convert your fonts to outlines.

1. Open your PDF file in Acrobat Pro DC >>> Open the Print Production panel and click on Preflight.

Converting fonts to outlines in a PDF file is often required by commercial printers. Learn how in three simple steps.
Converting fonts to outlines in a PDF file is often required by commercial printers. Learn how in three simple steps.

2. In the Search field at the top right of the Preflight dialog box, search for “outlines.”  This selects the “Convert fonts to outlines” fixup.

Converting fonts to outlines in a PDF file is often required by commercial printers. Learn how in three simple steps.

3. To run the fixup, at the bottom of the dialog box, click Analyze and Fix, and save the file under a new name. I typically add "-outlines.pdf" to the end of my file name to make it clear that I have converted my fonts to outlines in the file.

That's it!

To check to see if the fonts are actually outlines, you can:

In Acrobat Pro DC choose File >>> Properties >>> Fonts. There should be no fonts listed since they are all outlined (and no longer fonts).

Converting fonts to outlines in a PDF file is often required by commercial printers. Learn how in three simple steps.

Or you can open the file in Illustrator >>> Select page range "All" and uncheck the "Import PDF pages as links for optimal performance." Now you can use the selection tool to verify that the fonts are outlined.

Converting fonts to outlines in a PDF file is often required by commercial printers. Learn how in three simple steps.

See how simple that was? This is the best method I have found, and I promise, it will change your life for the better! Go ahead, give it a try.