Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Font Substitution Problems.

Font Substitution Problems

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 26, 2016)

Font issues, when it comes to Word, are always interesting. The fonts used in Word are those that are installed within Windows. When you first install Windows, only a limited number of fonts are available on a system. As you install other software, other fonts are added to Windows, and those fonts automatically become available to Word. The problem is that over time, every system will have different fonts available on it. This is because different software is installed on each system, and each piece of software has its own set of fonts.

A real problem crops up when you create a Word document on one system, using the fonts available on that system, and then transfer the document to a different system. When you open the document on the other system, not all the fonts used in the document may be available on that new system. If a font is not available, Word substitutes what it believes to be the most similar font that is available, often with unpredictable results.

The best way around this problem is to make sure that both systems have the same fonts installed. In an office environment, this is not an unreasonable expectation, but it does take a bit of management time on the part of users. Some companies have solved the problem by specifying what fonts can be used in official company documents—fonts that are, again, available on all company systems.

If you cannot be sure that a font will be available, and you must use that font, and the font at issue is a TrueType font, then you can follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Save tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Save tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Ensure the Embed TrueType Fonts check box is selected.
  5. If you will be using a small number of characters in a particular font, choose the Embed Characters In Use Only check box.
  6. Click on OK.
  7. Work with your documents as normal.

You should realize that embedding TrueType fonts can increase the size of your document files. In fact, if you use a lot of fonts, it can increase the size drastically. In addition, not all TrueType fonts are "embeddable." Some fonts are protected by their creators against distribution by embedding. If you are curious about whether a particular font can be embedded, you can either contact the vendor or download a free Font Properties Extension Tool from Microsoft. This tool is for use with 32-bit Windows (XP or later) operating systems. You can download it at the following address:

http://www.microsoft.com/typography/TrueTypeProperty21.mspx

The tool updates Windows so it displays more information when you right-click on a font file and choose Properties. One of the pieces of information displayed is whether the font is protected or not. If it is protected, it cannot be embedded in a Word document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1502) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Font Substitution Problems.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Understanding the Organizer

The Organizer is a great tool for, well, organizing the information stored in your templates. This tip introduces the ...

Discover More

Can't Copy Data between Workbooks

Edit a group of workbooks at the same time and you probably will find yourself trying to copy information from one of ...

Discover More

Easily Finding Superscripts

Word has a powerful Find and Replace capability, but sometimes it can be tricky to figure out exactly how to use it. Here ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Removing the Box from a Text Box

Insert a text box, and it is automatically formatted to have a border around it. Getting rid of the border is easy, if ...

Discover More

Creating See-through Text Boxes

When laying out your document, you may want to use a text box that appears to be positioned over your text, but to be ...

Discover More

X-ing Out Text

You can easily use strikethrough formatting to show deleted text in a document. What if you want to actually overprint ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five more than 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.