Tool questions: Font problems in PDF/X-1a files generated from Word 2000

Subject: Tool questions: Font problems in PDF/X-1a files generated from Word 2000
From: "Boudreaux, Madelyn (GE Healthcare, consultant)" <MadelynBoudreaux -at- ge -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 7 Oct 2009 13:23:46 -0400

Wordy and long. Sorry. At wit's end. View bleak from here. Much
preferred wit's middle.


For compliant printing reasons, I have to generate all PDFs as PDF/X-1a
compliant files. We are still using Word 2000 (although some docs are
finally being converted to Frame, thank goodness! Even though it means I
can never touch them again.)

The printing company sent a document back recently, because there are
non-embedded fonts in the PDF, meaning it fails PDF/X-1a compliance.
Google tells me very little, except that PDF/X-1a is supposed to
eliminate this, but the hole in my brick wall is getting bigger and my
head is getting flatter over this problem...

Issue #1: This is a multiple-chapter file. I generate each chapter's PDF
from Word individually, then use Adobe 9 to group them into a single
file. The preflight confirms PDF/X-1a compliance on the individual files
with properly embedded fonts (including ones I'm not actually using, but
it says they are embedded), but not on the final file. (I've used both
Assemble PDF Portfolio" and "Merge Files into a Single PDF..." to the
same conclusion.) Other compliance problems also crop up when I
concatenate the files, but they don't appear to cause the print vendor
any issues.

Issue #2: Some of the PDFs include fonts which are not (apparently)
present in the Word file. These almost always appear in the PDF as empty
spaces in the PDF. (To explain: in the preflight in Acrobat, you get a
list of fonts in the file. If you click on a font that appears in this
list, Acrobat shows you blue crosshairs over that font. In these cases,
the crosshairs are over empty, white spaces.) In Word, I select the
previous and following paragraphs around those spaces and change to my
selected font, but even if Word shows only the font I want, Acrobat
still finds another font there. In the PDF/X-1a dialogue, there's a
checkbox to use or ignore system fonts. Selecting or clearing this box
gives me different results, in that different fonts appear in my
preflight checklist -- ArialMT or just Arial, for example. But the
unused fonts still show up in the PDF.

Issue #3: In some cases, although I select a chunk of text in Word and
change it to my selected font, the setting never takes. I can select the
same section (or a smaller section within it) and still find that the
Font box goes blank, indicating that there's more than one font in the
selection. (Spray painting "WORD SUXORS" across my screen and then
running away to join the circus is a recurring fantasy...)

So, my questions are:
1a) Why would concatenating the files destroy the embedded fonts?
1b) How do I make sure that the fonts are all embedded properly, either
by embedding all fonts even if they aren't really used, or by
eliminating unused fonts and embedding only those that are used?
2) Where are these blank-space fonts in the final PDFs coming from?
3a) How do I make Word actually change the selection to the font I want,
or why does it refuse to do this?
3b) Anyone know of a circus that's hiring?

I truly don't care if the incorrect fonts are embedded in the file, as
long as they are invisible, or if I can correctly get rid of them so
Acrobat doesn't try to embed them at all. I just want to reliably create
a PDF/X-1a file that can be printed. (Alternately, I'd prefer jobs that
don't involve tiger dung or extra big shoes...)

Madelyn Boudreaux


Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers developing Table of
Contents, Context IDs, and Index, as well as Doc-To-Help
2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.

Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control!

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Please move off-topic discussions to the Chat list, at:

Previous by Author: RE: David's post on Minimalism
Next by Author: What makes a job good (or bad) (was RE: #5 on the list of Low Stress Jobs)
Previous by Thread: RE: Color and colorblindness
Next by Thread: format for references to topic headings in online help

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads