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I work in a multinational office. Some people have CHN copies of Windows 7/XP and Office 2007/2010 installed, others have various ENG variants. All are legit.

I was surprised to discover recently that the official, licensed fonts included in these various packages are not all equivalent.

Clearly, a Chinese version would need a healthy selection of East Asian fonts that your average English version would never need (so you get SimSun and that's it), but there are some major (IMO) omissions on the English side.

For example, CHN versions don't ship with the Gill Sans series, or apparently with Gabriola?

And because these are official, licensed Microsoft fonts it seems they cannot be (easily) sourced, downloaded, and transferred between systems.

Has anyone dealt with this problem? Is there a master Microsoft font list or plug-in available so my office can standardize its font selection?

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Just an idea, what if you install Chinese language support on an ENG box? – Aug 19 '11 at 23:30
@todda - That just affects the language bar AFAIK. All of our machines have CHN, EN, and occasionally JPN language support. It doesn't unlock additional fonts. – Andrew Heath Aug 19 '11 at 23:32
I like the question about the 'master list', it'd be good to know. Keep in mind there may be limitations on the font licenses themselves, depending on where MS got them from, and how they licensed them from the original source (ie: they may not have paid for a world-wide usage right). As a possible workaround, you can embed TTF fonts into Word documents so they appear as intended on other machines, but you are limited to the font's license (stored in the font), which may prevent it from happening. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Aug 19 '11 at 23:35
I had an idea, but it turns out there's no Windows analog for the X Font Server. :-( – amphetamachine Aug 19 '11 at 23:40
@Andrew Heath Yup: How to embed fonts in PowerPoint – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Aug 19 '11 at 23:43
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I suggest visiting the Microsoft Typography site. This claims to provide detailed information on what fonts ship with which products and how to buy addiitonal copies of fonts if needed. For example, this is a link to the Gill Sans fonts shipped in some Microsoft products. If you have fonts that are listed as provided with a product but have not been installed, perhaps because of the installation options selected, you could then discuss with Microsoft what the terms would be for transferring the required fonts from PCs that have the same software installed and have the desired font(s). Their policy on fonts is:

The fonts are governed by the same restrictions as the products they are supplied with. You are not allowed to copy, redistribute or reverse engineer the font files. For full details see the license agreement supplied with the product.

(Taken from their Font Redistribution FAQ)

You may also want to look at the Microsoft Typography site referenced above and at your installed fonts to check the versions of fonts in addition to whether you have them. A different version of the same font may have differences in font metrics, character shapes or range of characters (glyphs) provided. This can result, for example, in a file produced one PC being openable without error on a PC with a different version of the same font(s) but there may be subtle (or obvious) changes in typography or layout. Layout changes could even result in text being no longer visible (e.g. because a fixed-size text box has overflowed).

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