Utopia fl ligature not exporting to PDF – any idea why?

natalie_F's picture


My coworker was having an issue this morning with a PDF returned from our client. "fl" had gone missing from the beginning of one of the words. When we turned the ligatures off and tried another PDF, it was fine. Any idea why this happened?


oldnick's picture

A little more information would be helpful. What application is the original document in, and how did you generate the PDF?

natalie_F's picture

Oops sorry, the document is in InDesign CS3. The PDF is exported from InDesign.


oldnick's picture

Evidently, yours is a not-uncommon problem; e.g.,


Your solution--turning off ligatures--works, so you probably oughta go with it...

Theunis de Jong's picture

ID uses ligatures by default, but in the case of an old (presumably Type 1) font, it has to rely on the font's character map to know whether or not there is any glyph in that position. If there is none, or if the font designer used that position to insert something else he thought would be useful (that would not be uncommon, given the limit on the total number of glyphs in a Type 1 font), you'll see nothing -- or a "wrong" glyph -- in InDesign, and in any PDF it generates.

In other words: is there actually something on screen if you use this font in InDesign?

(I would suspect there is not; there may be dodgy fonts that look good in ID itself but don't export, but I haven't ever seen it happen.)

[Ed.] Gah! And Nick's link tells me you cannot rely on your PDF viewer either!

Michel Boyer's picture

I just downloaded Utopia-Regular (putr8a.pfb) from the TeX-Archive Utopia directory which contains Version 001.001 with Copyright (c) 1989, 1991 that Adobe contributed to the X consortium many years ago. I ran the tx AFDKO command on it:

tx -pdf putr8a.pfb > utopia.pdf

Here is the resulting file (pdf 196K). The fl ligature is there, and is named fl. I doubt it would have disappeared in subsequent versions.

Michel Boyer's picture

How do you use Type 1 fonts with InDesign so that I could try?

Theunis de Jong's picture

If your OS doesn't support them directly, you can put Type 1 fonts into the InDesign application folder in a special one called "Fonts". ID should be able to load it from there.

(Ah -- CS5 ... it's been promised you can use "Document fonts" by copying them alongside the document, in the same folder, but word on the streets has that, of all things, Type 1s don't work. Can't help wondering why--)

Igor Freiberger's picture

I used Utopia in many projects during the past 12 years, usually exporting final version from ID to a PDF. The /fi/ff/fl ligatures were always exported correctly both from Type1 and OpenType fonts.

Maybe there is a problem with the PDF export settings or the Utopia files are corrupted.

Anyway, you can disable ligatures in Utopia without visible flaws. The short terminal in /f/ makes /fi/fl/ff/ ligatures very similar to the isolated characters.

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