How to Use Mac Fonts in PowerPoint Presentations

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Many Mac® users consider the fonts on Mac to be more elegant than the fonts on Windows, and therefore they want to use their Mac fonts in their PowerPoint presentations. Figure 1, however, shows what can happen when you send those presentations to Windows users, or use a Windows PC to drive the projector in your presentation. It is not pretty.

Mac Fonts

Figure 1_Without font embedding, this can happen

Technology to the Rescue: Font Embedding

Normally, fonts are installed in the OS—either macOS® or Windows—and applications access the fonts installed in the OS they’re running on. Font embedding is the technology of actually adding fonts into the document you’re working with. When you do this (and assuming that the application supports embedded fonts) your document will look as you intended, regardless of where you view it.

Microsoft Office for Windows applications (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) have supported font embedding for some time. As of February 2018, PowerPoint 2016 for Mac added support for embedded fonts. (Notice that I said “support for embedded fonts,” not “support for embedding fonts.” There is a difference, as explained later in this post.)

Using this new capability in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac, Figure 2 shows what the not-very-pretty presentation from Figure 1 looks like after properly embedding the Mac fonts that are not available in Windows.

Mac Fonts

Figure 2_With font embedding — perfect results

Two Approaches to Font Embedding

Before I show you how to embed fonts, I need to explain about the two approaches to font embedding, and the pros and cons of each approach.

Figure 3 shows the two basic approaches to font embedding:

1) embedding the actual font file (or a portion of it) in the document, and

2) embedding the outlines of each character used in the document.

Mac Fonts

Figure 3_The two types of Font Embedding

There are pros and cons to each approach:

Embed the Font File

Embed the Outlines of Characters Used

Pros

Cons Pros

Cons

Text can be edited Can significantly increase the file size of the document Works for all fonts Text cannot be edited
Some fonts are tagged “Not embeddable” by the font creator Works in all document types Does not work in some OSes
Does not work with some older font types Works in most applications
Works with all font types

 

How to Embed in PowerPoint

PowerPoint for Mac

While the latest version of PowerPoint 2016 for Mac supports embedded fonts if they’re present, it does not have the ability to actually embed fonts. For this, you must use a third-party utility. The one that I’ve used successfully is Presentation Font Embedder (available in the Mac App Store, or as a direct purchase). It’s simple to use (Figure 4) but slightly expensive ($27.49 USD) compared to other single-purpose utilities.

Mac Fonts

Figure 4_Presentation Font Embedder

PowerPoint for Windows

PowerPoint for Windows has the ability to embed fonts, so no third-party utility is generally needed. From the “Save As” dialog (Figure 5), click on the “Tools” menu and choose “Save Options…”

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Figure 5_The WinPowerPoint Save As dialog

In that Options dialog (Figure 6), choose “Embed fonts” in the file preference.

Mac Fonts

Figure 6_The WinPowerPoint Save options

A Possible Complication

The creator of a font can mark it as non-embeddable. For such a font, you must use the outline method shown in Figure 3.

In Windows 10, it’s easy to determine if a font is embeddable, since the Font window contains a column showing the embeddability. (See Figure 7.) If the Font Embeddability column shows anything other than “Editable,” the font probably can’t be embedded.

Mac Fonts

Figure 7_In windows 10, you can easily see if a font is embeddable

On the Mac, the only way I’ve found to determine if a font is embeddable is to try and embed it; if you get an error message (Figure 8), then that font is not embeddable.

Mac Fonts

Figure 8_Error message when a font is not embeddable

Text to Outline – Add-in for Mac and Windows

For years now, whenever I wanted to use a special font in a PPT presentation – and wanted to make sure that everyone would be able to see the text in this font correctly – I used a free WinPowerPoint add-in, Text to Outline. I would move my presentation to Windows, open it up in WinPowerPoint, use this add-in, and then move the presentation back to Mac.

The developers of this add-in have recently ported it to Mac so that it works in MacPowerPoint 2016. You can get it here.

Here is what your MacPowerPoint ribbon will look like after installing this add-in:

Mac Fonts

For further details on font embedding, see the following:

Embedding fonts

Can you embed fonts in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac?

Embed fonts in Word, PowerPoint, or Excel

Embed Fonts in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Fonts, Typography, and Accessibility

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Kurt has been a Mac developer since before the Mac came out. Today he is the Senior Product Manager at Parallels where he works on both Parallels Desktop for Mac and Parallels Access. Prior to Parallels, he was the Senior Mac Evangelist in the Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU) at Microsoft Corp. Kurt is the author of three books and has lectured internationally on object-oriented programming, UI design, and virtualization. Kurt is also a Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS Accredited Support Professional for 2014 and 2015. Outside of work, Kurt has been a fencer for many years, has four times been a member of the US team at the world championships, and has also been the coach of the US team: http://www.naginata.org.

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