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TrueType Font Embedding
When a document is created using TrueType fonts, the actual character information isn't usually stored in the document. The document just contains references to a typeface. Therefore if a document is loaded onto a machine which doesn't have the TrueType fonts installed, substitute fonts are used in place of the originals. For text only documents, this is usually no more than a nuisance as the document can still be read using the substituted typeface.

For documents containing logos, signatures and symbols substitution is obviously more of a concern. As a general rule, for all computers that require the use of a specific custom TrueType font the font should simply be installed. This will obviously negate the need for any substitution to take place and will ensure that all documents will display and print correctly.

There are times however when a document is required on a computer that may not have the required fonts installed. In this instance it may be possible to use a technique called "font embedding" which as the name suggests will embed a copy of the TrueType font into the document ensuring that the document will display correctly.

For this technique to work, both the application and the TrueType font must support embedding. Initially only Microsoft applications supported embedding, but recently several other applications have started to offer the technology. Indeed Microsoft has now released an embedding development kit so new versions of applications may well offer support for the technology.

When a TrueType font is produced the manufacturer will set the level of support for embedding. There are essentially three levels that the manufacturer may set.

Not embeddable
If this option is selected then the font will not be embedded even if the application supports the technology. This is often the selected option for traditional typefaces from major type foundries.

This option allows a font to be embedded in a document, so that it is temporarily installed on a viewing system when required. The document can be viewed, edited and printed, but the font can not be used in other documents on the viewing computer.

This option is similar to 'Editable' except that the font is actually fully installed on the viewing system. This technique can be used for easy distribution of a font within an organisation, but due to the simplicity of the technique it is also possible that the font may become installed on systems where it was not initially intended.

By default all Formula Solutions custom fonts are produced as 'Editable' which is the level of embedding that we would always suggest. We can, however, produce custom fonts with any setting required by the customer.

Although the technique for using font embedding is application specific it tends to use a similar approach in all applications. As most applications that currently support embedding do not allow the user to select specific fonts, it is usually just a case of setting font embedding for a document to be either on or off. This selection is typically made in 'Save' settings or document options. In Microsoft Word 97 for instance, the option to select embedding is accessed via a dialog box from the Options item in the Tools menu.

When embedding is selected and the document is saved any TrueType fonts that have a suitable level of embedding set will be added to the document. This will increase the document size by approximately the combined size of the embedded fonts. Whenever the document is then loaded all fonts not already installed are added so that the document can be correctly displayed.

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