I'm using Foxit Reader as default PDF viewer. How can I see what type of font is used for a selected part of a PDF document?

(If this can only be done with another software, I'd prefer a freeware as I don't want to pay for just viewing selected fonts' types.)

  • your pdf is in various types of font? – Ye Lin Aung Mar 8 '10 at 11:59
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    Yep, lots of font types in it. – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Mar 8 '10 at 12:11
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    That's funny, I had the exact same question today. You saved me the trouble of asking it. :) – Sasha Chedygov Mar 9 '10 at 7:20
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    :) Although, we have no solution yet. – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Mar 9 '10 at 7:40
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    At superuser.com/questions/62562/… Rabarberski states "I don't want to find which font is used on a certain piece of text (I know how to do that)"... – Arjan Mar 29 '10 at 14:18

13 Answers 13


If you are using PDF-XChange Viewer, do this:

  1. Select your text with the text selecting tool
  2. Right-click the selection
  3. Click on "Text Properties..."
  4. Choose "Formatting" (on the left)
  5. There is an arrow on the left of your selected text (which comes on the right part of the
  6. You click on it and you get all the information you want.

enter image description here

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  • 5
    Perfect answer - PDF XChange Viewer is free software as requested in the question and does so much more than Acrobat Reader. – Amos M. Carpenter May 16 '14 at 3:03
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    I think this should be the accepted answer since it is free. – Randy Levy Jun 23 '14 at 18:42
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    @Patrick : it is not available in Linux/BSD or OSX. – user2284570 Dec 1 '14 at 20:30
  • It works fine under wine. (It also happens to be the best (and only free) pdf annotation tool that you can use on linux and that uses the pdf standard.) – Diagon Oct 10 '16 at 19:02
  • This worked perfectly for me, and it's definitely available on just the free program. Thanks for sharing! – Sarah Bailey Mar 5 '17 at 21:19

Here's something very simple for unencrypted PDFs:

 strings my.pdf | grep FontName | cut -d '/' -f4

Try removing the "cut" part if it gives no meaningful results.

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  • Its very hard for me to link the font to the correct text with multiple fonts in one pdf. +1 for a cli solution :) – Jarco Sep 10 '13 at 12:05
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    Just to note: it seems this does not work on pdfs produced with pdflatex. – PLL Sep 3 '15 at 19:39
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    This does not seem to work for me either — it just prints out FontName FontName FontName – fatuhoku Feb 22 '16 at 17:43
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    Is it hard to check manuals for "strings", "grep" and "cut"? It extracts all strings from the PDF, selects only lines with FontName, shows the 4th field from the ones separated by '/'. – Aleksey Gureiev Dec 7 '17 at 4:59
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    @fatuhoku you need to pick the right number for the -f4. Remove the cut section and see the uncut output. – Aleksey Gureiev Dec 7 '17 at 5:01

In both Foxit Reader and Adobe Reader if you go to File > Properties and then click on the Fonts tab you will be able to see a full list of fonts available in that document, however, there isn't any features in these basic PDF readers that will let you select some text and view the properties for that text to see exactly which font it uses.

For that you need Foxit PDF Editor, Adobe Acrobat or some other PDF editor.

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    Also, if some fonts are embedded inside the PDF, it doesn't mean they are actually in use. – user2284570 Dec 1 '14 at 20:28

In Adobe Acrobat X Pro (not for free), you can use the Edit Document Text tool to find out about the font:

  1. Click Tools on the documents menubar in the top right corner to show the side menu of tools.
  2. Open the Content area in the right sidebar and locate the Edit Document Text tool.
  3. Select some text
  4. Right-click and select Properties...
  5. The Text tab of the properties dialog shows the font (you can also change it)

In Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro, you can use the TouchUp Text Tool which is found under (Tools > Advanced Editing > TouchUp Text Tool).

This might also work in other Acrobat versions, but the Tool might be buried somewhere else in Acrobat's menus.

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  • Are there alternatives for Linux users? – zygimantus Oct 13 '16 at 7:47
  • In the current version of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, go to Tools > Edit PDF, then select the text block. You should be able to see the font name under FORMAT in the right sidebar. – its_me May 12 at 15:36

I don't know of any way to do what you want other than using some very expensive commercial PDF processing software (such as Enfocus' PitStop or callas' pdfToolbox4).

The closest you can get is the pdffonts.exe commandline utility. That is contained in the XPDF-based tool collection, available here: http://www.foolabs.com/xpdf/download.html (Download: ftp://ftp.foolabs.com/pub/xpdf/xpdfbin-win-3.03.zip ).

If you run

pdffonts.exe -f 22 -l 22 c:\path\to\some\pdf.pdf

the result will show all fonts used on page 22. To see all fonts used in the complete document, just run

pdffonts.exe c:\path\to\some\pdf.pdf
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  • It is not clear from the answer but this solution also works on Linux. xpdf is normally available via the package manager, although my package manager references xpdfreader.com as the homepage of xpdf. – Lucas Jul 20 '18 at 11:40

While it doesn't preserve layout particularly well, Libre Office http://www.libreoffice.org is able to import PDF files. After importing a pdf, if you click on a text block it will tell you what font was used.

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    In LibreOffice (Draw) the fonts look different if you have not installed them, but the font selector shows you the font of the block you have selected. Top answer: free and easy :-) – Alexander Taubenkorb Sep 6 '15 at 13:01
  • Won't work on a Mac, since LibreOffice insists on opening the PDF in Writer, not Draw. – Dɑvïd Aug 17 '16 at 16:37
  • worked for my pdf on a mac – daslicious Jan 22 '18 at 5:12

If the font is installed on your computer, then maybe copying the text to some word processor does the trick? And even when not installed, some word processors might still show the requested name in their font dialog.

(Other than that: a screen capture and WhatTheFont! might help, if it's worth the trouble. Or select the text, and then "print" the selection to a new PDF document, to see what its font properties shows then?)

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  • My friend came with the same idea, and seemed to work, am upvoting. But - WhatTheFont did not help at all. First you have to do a lot of manual work in validating the characters extracted from the image. And in the end... "No match found". – Veverke Mar 29 '17 at 14:13

Meanwhile I found a different method to list fonts used in a PDF (and indicate wether they're embedded or not), which uses Ghostscript only (no need for additional third party utilities). Unfortunately this also does NOT satisfy your requirement to learn about a font used for highlighted text.

This method uses a little utility program, written in PostScript, shipping with the source code of Ghostscript. Look in the toolbin subdir for the pdf_info.ps file.

The included comments say you should run it like this in order to list fonts used, media sizes used

   -q ^
   -sFile=____.pdf ^
   [-dDumpMediaSizes] ^
   [-dDumpFontsUsed [-dShowEmbeddedFonts]] ^

I did run it on a local example file. Here is the result:

C:\> gswin32c ^
      -dNODISPLAY ^
      -q ^
      -sFile=SHARE.pdf ^
      -dDumpMediaSizes ^
      -dDumpFontsUsed ^
      -dShowEmbeddedFonts ^

SHARE.pdf has 12 pages.
Title: SHARE_Information_070808.indd
Creator: Adobe InDesign CS2 (4.0)
Producer: Adobe PDF Library 7.0
CreationDate: D:20080808103516+02'00'
ModDate: D:20080808103534+02'00'
Trapped: False

Page 1 MediaBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ] CropBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ]
Page 2 MediaBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ] CropBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ]
Page 3 MediaBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ] CropBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ]
Page 4 MediaBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ] CropBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ]
Page 5 MediaBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ] CropBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ]
Page 6 MediaBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ] CropBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ]
Page 7 MediaBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ] CropBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ]
Page 8 MediaBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ] CropBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ]
Page 9 MediaBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ] CropBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ]
Page 10 MediaBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ] CropBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ]
Page 11 MediaBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ] CropBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ]
Page 12 MediaBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ] CropBox: [ 595.276 841.89 ]

Font or CIDFont resources used:
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  • Can no longer find pdf_info.ps in the /usr/share/ghostscript/9.18/lib directory (Ubuntu). Also, can't find it at the git. Any other ideas? – Diagon Oct 10 '16 at 19:29

Sounds like the fonts tab in Adobe Reader is an easy solution.

But another way would be to select the text, copy and paste into Word, and you should be able to determine the front in Word if it copies the formatting like it did for me.

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    No! The font tab list fonts which are embedded in the PDF file it doesn't mean they are used. – user2284570 Dec 1 '14 at 21:03

Rowan's answer is fine, and if you really need to narrow it down to a small portion of a complex document, try to re-print a subset to another PDF (there are excellent free PDF printers, if you don't have one), and check the font properties of the resulting file.

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An easier solution is just to use Adobe Reader X and to right-click anywhere in the document, choose "Document Properties", then click on the tab "Fonts". There you see a list of all fonts used in the document.

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    Does this apply for a selected part of the document as per the OP's question or for the whole document? – Tog Oct 28 '13 at 14:19
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    It's a list for the whole document yes, but I used it myself after having the same problem as OP and it worked great. It would be problematic if there are tons of different fonts used in the doc though. – andli Oct 30 '13 at 20:46
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    @andeh : No! This list the fonts which are embedded in the PDF file it doesn't mean they are used. – user2284570 Dec 1 '14 at 21:02

Another solution is to open the PDF file with Adobe Illustrator, if the fonts are not streamlined you'll be able to know which fonts you are using.

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  • If the fonts are not installed, you will see their names displayed in the "Missing fonts" window. Perfect solution. – xApple Feb 20 '17 at 18:32

In Adobe Reader XI go to File -> Properties and click the Fonts tab. They are all there. Super easy, and free

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