I've got a broad need to create a PowerPoint template to be shared across a range of several dozen people, with widely varying ranges of technical aptitude and different computers.

I have no guarantee that any given font will be installed on any given person's computer.

I'm currently attempting to embed fonts in a PowerPoint template, which I will then circulate.

The issue I'm having is that when the PowerPoint template is opened, my trial users get an error message that the fonts embedded inside it are "restricted" and the presentation will be read-only. PowerPoint then attempts to auto-substitute fonts at more-or-less random.

This is obviously suboptimal and kind of defeats the whole purpose of having a shared template.

I'm not going to attempt to defeat font restrictions.

What I need is a list of popular fonts that are recognized as "unrestricted" so that I can construct a template and then embed fonts in it without fear of the fonts being flagged as "restricted" when the template is shared.

Searches like "list of unrestricted fonts" and "unrestricted fonts for PowerPoint" aren't super useful. Microsoft's help page on the subject tells me what the issues are with font restrictions but doesn't give me any further assistance other than to link to a list of fonts included with Windows. Since not all of my users will be using Windows, so I can't rely on a list of Windows system fonts to ensure "unrestricted" fonts.

  • You need to reduce the scope. Asking "what fonts exist on all platforms" isn't going to be well received and that's how I am reading your question currently. You don't even mention when fonts you used, which programs are being used besides Powerpoint, nor the operating systems. – Ramhound Mar 12 '15 at 15:36
  • I've redefined my ask in terms of seeking a list of "popular" fonts which are unrestricted. I don't think this is unreasonable. As stated clearly in the question, I'm only concerned with PowerPoint, and the users I'm dealing with use a variety of operating systems. – JeanSibelius Mar 12 '15 at 17:50
  • PowerPoint is a Windows application. While exists on OS X, iOS, Android, Windows Phone it does not exist on Linux. Since were talking about creating a template most of those devices don't make sense for users to use to create Powerpoint presentations. – Ramhound Mar 12 '15 at 18:07
  • 1
    Since you mention that you want to embed fonts, I figured I'd throw this in: font embedding only works on Windows versions of PPT. Mac PPT can neither embed fonts nor use fonts that have been embedded. Absent test results to the contrary, It's probably safer to assume the same of iOS/Android/WinPhone versions too. If PowerPoint doesn't find the requested font on the system, it'll substitute the closest thing it can find. Generally, you'll be safe using Arial, TimesNewRoman and CourierNew. Bored silly, but safe. – Steve Rindsberg Mar 27 '15 at 15:35

If you want to embed the fonts, use fonts that are not restricted. "Restricted" in this context is in regards to the copywriting/royalties on fonts.

Restricted License embedding

Fonts that have this flag set must not be modified, embedded or exchanged in any manner without first obtaining permission of the legal owner.

Quote Source

Since there are 10 quadrillion fonts in the world (give or take a few), and people make new ones all the time, giving you a complete list of royalty free/embeddable fonts is impossible.

If you open your Fonts folder in Windows, you can click on a font, and it will tell you it's "embeddability" rules in the metadata at the bottom (if the font includes that info; and you may have to expand your Font window or the metadata area to see them):

enter image description here

You can also right-click a font, hit "Properties" and then view the Details tab:

enter image description here

Editable embedding

Fonts with this flag set indicate that they may be embedded in documents, but must only be installed temporarily on the remote system. In contrast to Preview & Print fonts, documents containing Editable fonts may be opened "read-write;" editing is permitted, and changes may be saved.

Search the web for "Royalty Free Fonts" and you'll find several sites specializing in them. Many commercial/paid font sites also offer royalty-free fonts, and the better sites will allow you to filter out fonts that cost $$$ and/or by royalty.

Just because... here's one of many free font sites currently operating: http://www.fontsquirrel.com/ (can't attest to their quality personally).

  • That's very helpful, thank you. I'd be over the moon if there were a way to actually sort fonts by embedability -- is there any way to do this other than a font-by-font checking process? – JeanSibelius Mar 12 '15 at 17:51
  • 1
    Open your fonts directory (windows key+r then type %WINDIR%\Fonts and press Enter). Change to DETAILS view if not already there. Rightclick the bar at the top with Name, etc and put a check next to Font Embeddability. Sort on that field; you can also have it display only Editable and Installable fonts (either should work for your purposes). Note that you can't embed fonts in Mac PPT and Mac PPT can't use fonts embedded in Windows. – Steve Rindsberg Mar 13 '15 at 0:06

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/922958 explains how to see if they are restricted and choose your own substitutions.

On the computer on which the presentation was created, follow these steps to replace the <br/>
 restricted fonts with fonts that can be embedded:

Open the PowerPoint presentation.
In PowerPoint 2007, Click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click Save As.
In PowerPoint 2010, Click File, then click Save As.
In the Save as type list, click PowerPoint Presentation.
Click Tools, and then click Save Options.
Under Preserve fidelity when sharing this presentation, 
click to select the Embed fonts in the file check box.
Click OK, and then click Save.
A warning message appears if the presentation contains fonts that have embedding restrictions. Replace the restricted fonts with fonts that do not generate a warning message when you save the presentation. To do this, follow these steps:
    On the Home tab, click the arrow next to Replace in the Editing group, and then click Replace Fonts.
    Select a font in the Replace list, and then select a similar font in the With list.
    Click Replace.
    Repeat steps 7b and 7c as needed to replace other fonts, and then click Close.
Repeat steps 2 through 6 until you can save the presentation without receiving a warning message about embedded fonts.

I would recommend that you create "external" templates with web-safe fonts. You can go crazy with your "internal" or "confidential" template, and then have users understand the difference.

My current organization makes the differentiation between print and digital materials. We have a specific font in use for print, but Arial is considered the Digital equivalent.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.