PDF fonts/vectors question

nina's picture

Quick technical question, and sorry if it's silly:
I have a PDF with a wordmark that I need to use. The wordmark is set using a font that I don't have (and don't plan on getting for this one job). The PDF is displaying fine (as the font is embedded) but if I open the PDF in Illustrator it replaces the font.

Now: Do I *need* to ask for a new PDF with outlined fonts, or is there any way to somehow outline/vectorize the fonts inside the PDF? I do need the logo in vector form, if at all possible.

bojev's picture

Blow up area with wordmark as big as possible on screen - take screen shot - then use to make paths in PhotoShop or trace it in Illustrator.

pica pusher's picture

Could you rip out all the other stuff in the PDF (in Acrobat), crop it, and simply place that PDF as a link when you need to use the logo?

Theunis de Jong's picture

I've used both suggestions successfully (and only when in dire need; but still -- too often).

In addition to Bob's suggestion: if you have a rather large screen, and you put your PDF viewer in full screen mode (and the logo is not too large), you might even be able to make a screen shot that after reduction is still 600 DPI.

riccard0's picture

If you have Acrobat, I second the trim and crop option.
To whom suggested taking a screenshot, theres no need: just open it in PS at the desired resolution.

Theunis de Jong's picture

... Hmm. Does that work with embedded fonts? I'd think not, if the same fails with Illustrator.

(I've never understood the internals of Illustrator deciding on a whim to outline some text and others not; sometimes one style of a font is left as-is, or replaced by a local font, while another style gets converted.)

bojev's picture

If pdf has not been password protected to prevent it you can place pdfs into Illustrator and InDesign files and crop etc. Remember Place is different than Open.

nina's picture

Thanks, all!
Good call on the cropping etc and just placing the PDF. That's what I've done for now. Ideally they wanted me to change the background color, but I'll tell them I'll need an outlined PDF for that… This is basically a favor I'm doing a friend, so I'm not going to spend hours doing funny stuff :-), just wondering if there's an easy way.

pica pusher's picture

Final suggestion, involving a bit of dark magic:

  • place pdf in inDesign
  • draw a paper-colored box covering the logo
  • set the box's transparency to multiply, so it becomes transparent (make sure in your flattener preview for "Affected Graphics" the whole logo turns pink)
  • make a transparency flattener preset with "Convert All Text to Outlines" checked
  • export a new PDF, using the new flattener preset
  • open the new PDF in illustrator!
gamba.otf's picture

@ pica pusher

This actually works.
Thank you.
No more useless logo tracing for me.

VBM's picture

I offer free font extraction services, for future reference.

nina's picture

Pica Pusher – awesome.
Thanks so much! This is incredibly handy. :-)

pica pusher's picture

I aim to please, or at least to give away trade secrets! Who’d have thought Adobe’s effed-up stitching would come in handy?

Nick Job's picture

This is a workaround for CorelDraw but it may work for Illustrator too...? I would have cropped around the logo, printed it much bigger (eg 1000%) as a pdf and saved the resulting pdf as an eps in Acrobat (do later versions of Acrobat allow ?)Then open the eps file (in Corel, at least) with text converted to curves on opening. Does Illustrator not allow you to open with text as curves at the outset?

David Sudweeks's picture

I followed Dan's (Pica Pusher's) method and find it very handy. Thanks Dan.
A note to InDesign CS4 users: In order to select the transparency flattener preset in the Advanced panel of the Export Adobe PDF dialog, you have to change your compatibility from the default "Acrobat 5 (PDF 1.4)" to an older standard. Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3) works.

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