Is it possible to restrict the fonts allowed in Office documents, either file-per-file or globally, to fonts that are "safe" for sharing with other people?

By "safe" I mean "unlikely not to be available at the recipients PC".


It is anyone's guess what fonts are available on a recipients PC, so in order to preserve correct display of Word documents and Powerpoint slides, care must be taken to either

  • use only "safe" fonts, that are unlikely to be missing on the target machine, or
  • embed fonts into the office documents.

Both can easily fail; Using safe fonts consistently isn't easily possible, especially when working with slides created over a long period of time and importing content from other people's slides. Even fixing it may be hard, as the font may hide in obscure places such as a newline character accidentially having a different format assigned; I've seen this for instance in templates.

The same applies, albeit to a lesser degree, for the embeddability of fonts; For instance when trying to save with font embedding, I get an error "Courier: Font not embeddable", even though I can't find any monospaced text in the Powerpoint file.

Additionally, embedding subset fonts creates files that aren't fully editable, while embedding whole unicode fonts significantly inflates the file size. And just like with font-availability, it is anyone's guess if the recipient's software will support embedded fonts. (Probably a safe bet though, when assuming MS Office products.)

When possible, the safest option is likely to create a PDF/A document, but often recipients will request the PPTX file (to reuse slides), or office documents are formally required for further processing. PDF/A files also suffer from the inflated file-size.

Hence I was wondering, if it is possible to enforce the use of safe fonts only; And, related, if such a list of safe fonts even exists across at least Mac OS and Windows versions of office, let alone Web versions, mobile versions and third-party Office apps. However, requiring a Microsoft product seems like a reasonable constraint, where PDF/A isn't an option.

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