Removing Type 3 Fonts in a Hurry with Adobe Acrobat DC

One of the things they don’t show in the AI movies is the part where the protagonist is fixing their camera ready1 just before the deadline and discovers (unexpected plot twist) that their pdf contains “Type 3” bitmap fonts which are apparently forbidden. Frantically, they google for a solution. This was me recently and I relay my findings below.

The most likely cause of this error, when using pdflatex, is that one or more of your figures contains type 3 fonts. The correct way to avoid this issue is to configure your plotting library to avoid type 3 fonts (e.g. instructions for matplotlib). For tracking down the offending figures the command line program pdffonts which can be installed using homebrew with package poppler is useful for listing all fonts and font types in the pdf.

However, if you are here, you’ve probably realised that redoing your figures and the subfigures you made with them is going to take more time than you have.

Fortunately, there is a quick solution that still seems to maintain vector quality using Adobe Acrobat DC. Its quite straightforward but I didn’t find this documented anywhere so I’ve documented it below (primarily for my future self).

  1. Open the offending figure pdf (note: you probably don’t want to do this to your whole document but only the specific figures with issues since it looses the text information) in Adobe Acrobat DC.

  2. Choose More tools

  1. Choose Print Production
  1. Then Flattener Preview
  1. Make sure to check Convert All Text to Outlines (this is what turns fixes the type 3 fonts) and then Apply.
  1. Finally, save the pdf and recompile your latex file with the corrected figure pdf.

  1. Formal word for final version of a paper. ^
comments powered by Disqus