Font issues are probably the #1 complaint when it comes to PowerPoint. For as long as the program has been in existence, if you wanted to be certain that others were viewing your presentation that way you designed it, you had to stick with the limited and generally boring collection of “safe” fonts such as Arial, Verdana, Times New Roman and the like. Presentitude.com has great information on the safe fonts. Yes, you can embed some fonts for users of PCs (Mac don’t support embedded fonts), but I have never recommended doing that for about a thousand reasons. Trust me, it leads to tears.
Solutions to the font problem include making a PDF or turning your slides into pictures, both of which eliminate animation and any hope of editing. Sure, you could send the font file to your client, but have you ever tried to walk someone with zero computer knowledge through installing a font over the phone? More tears.
After all these years, there is still no perfect solution, and the font landscape has actually gotten more complicated for PowerPoint even as it’s gotten far better for web content and Adobe documents with web fonts, Google fonts and typekit.
But there are two new-ish tools out there for drying those PowerPoint font tears.
Presentation Font Embedder for the Mac + Software Giveaway!
PowerPoint for the Mac has never been able to embed fonts or read fonts embedded in a presentation on the PC side, but this new app, available on the App Store, solves the first problem by letting a Mac user embed fonts used in a presentation so that those embedded fonts can be read and used by a PC user. This may be useful for some people and some workflows, but you still can only embed TrueType fonts and then only certain TrueType fonts. Furthermore, even though you can embed the fonts, once you open the presentation on the Mac, you still get the warning that Mac cannot do anything with the fonts. So, this is not a solution for sending a presentation to other Mac users.
But Presentation Font Embedder adds a second option called “Universal” embedding (the first method is called “Editable”) which takes all your live text boxes and converts them to transparent images. This is very cool, and you can actually see the conversion happening slide by slide resulting in a deck whose typography will look the way you want it to look on all computers and platforms. Animations as long as they are applied to whole text boxes are retained.
The app is drag and drop and stupidly easy to use. I don’t see that many users taking advantage of the “Editable” method, but can definitely see the benefit of the “Universal” one. Note though that the resolution the text is saved out as may be less than optimal for retina displays.
If you’re someone who could benefit from the new app, I’ve got 5 free licenses to give away. First 5 people to contact me will get one. Just email me.
Text-to-Outline PowerPoint Add-in
Jamie Garroch and YouPresent, makers of custom PowerPoint solutions, have created a very cool PowerPoint add-in called Text-to-Outline that, you guessed it, converts live text to vector outlines, meaning your fonts are no longer fonts, but shapes that can be viewed by anyone on any platform. No font files required!
Outlining fonts has long been a trick of graphic designers for distributing art files. For example, a designer might create a logo using a typeface, but when creating distributable files, will outline that type so it will look the way it should. Below is the result of a line of type run through the add-in.
Text-to-Outlines is simple to install use. You have options for saving only certain fonts, only certain selected text boxes or fonts throughout an entire presentation. And it will even save your live type on the pasteboard for you if you like, just in case.
The only downside with Text-to-Outlines is that, of course, it is only for PCs. But it does work on 2013 and 2016, and has a number of applications beyond sharing presentations which Jamie discusses here.