[pdftex] Embedding Base14 fonts

George N. White III aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca
Mon Mar 29 14:14:18 CEST 2004

On Mon, 29 Mar 2004, Martin Schröder wrote:

> On 2004-03-28 23:13:58 +0200, Hans Hagen wrote:
> > Hans (who always embeds all fonts since metrics may change over time)
> If the metrics of the Base14 fonts change, hell freezes over. :-)

You can't even assume glyph shapes won't change. Hell has been well and
truly frozen ever since Helvetica became Arial.  It may thaw out in a few
years, but even for hell weather prediction is an uncertian art.

Think about the sort of enviroment where I work, a research institute
that hosts a couple secretariates for international organizations.  These
organizations use PDF heavily.  You have PDF files created on assorted
OS's at sites scattered around the world over which you have no control
and need docs to look "right" at all those sites.  When someone creates
a figure using XXdraw and requests "Helvetica", they often get something
else and unless the author takes extraordinary care, this font is not
embedded.  When this file is viewed or printed the font is almost always
something other than Helvetica.  Even if you limit yourself to the
Adobe base fonts, the metrics have changed over time.  The consider
the vertical bar "|" in italic versions of Helvetica, the URW clone, and
Ariel.  In 2 of the 3, the "|" is slanted.  This has bitten us more than
once where the figure has a mathematical annotation "a|b" or "|a|" that
was generated on a system that uses Arial-Italic (so the "|" looks
vertical) but displayed using ghostscript where the default (URW clone)
gives a slant to the "|".

The "easy" fix is to use the URW fonts and always embed.  With figures
I often convert fonts to paths so I can be sure they will display properly
now and in the future.

George N. White III  <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
  Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada

More information about the pdftex mailing list