Fonts are generally one of the more frustrating parts of using PowerPoint. Chances are that, if you are reading this, you have dealt with a PowerPoint presentation looking wrong because you (or someone you sent a PPT to) don’t have the correct fonts installed. This problem is exacerbated by the Mac v. PC divide.
And until very recently, if you wanted to make sure that your PowerPoint presentation would look the same when viewed on a Mac or a PC, there were only a very small handful of cross-compatible fonts to choose from. So when clients would ask us if they could use a custom font, the answer was generally no.
That’s because if they are part of a large team with multiple collaborators, or if the deck was meant to be shared out as a PowerPoint file, the chances that someone else would not have the font installed were high, inviting failure. For this reason we often pushed our clients to use cross-compatible system fonts, ensuring fidelity and taking full advantage of PowerPoint’s dynamic, collaborative nature.
But with the most recent version of PowerPoint, that’s all changed. Yes, font fans rejoice, because you can FINALLY embed fonts on PowerPoint for Mac!
Let’s back up – what is embedding fonts?
When you open a PowerPoint, the file knows what font should be displayed. But in order for that font to actually show up in your presentation, it needs to be loaded on your computer. This is the source of all those mystifying “font not found” pop ups you’ve been ignoring for years. If you don’t have the appropriate font on your computer, PowerPoint automatically swaps it for something that actually is on your machine. But when you embed a font into your PowerPoint file, that font moves along with the file, meaning it can be opened on (almost) any computer and show the correct fonts.
Twenty years of waiting
For nearly two decades, this has been a standard (if little-used) feature of PowerPoint for PC. But with the newest version of PowerPoint for Mac, this amazingly useful feature is finally available for everyone!
This is good news for users on both sides of the divide, because it means greater cross-compatibility and less time spent on testing. When preparing important PowerPoints for clients, we would often run tests where a PC user would embed a font into a PC file, and it still wouldn’t display properly on a Mac. Now, that is much less of a concern.
Sounds good, but how do I actually embed fonts?
If you are a Mac user, you either need to have a Microsoft 365 subscription for the newest version of PowerPoint (PowerPoint 2019). Please note that PowerPoint 2016 Mac will allow you to view the embedded fonts from its more modern successors, but it does not have the capability to embed fonts itself.
Open the file you want to embed fonts in.
Select Preferences in the application menu.
When you see Output and Sharing, select Save.
Under Font Embedding, select Embed fonts in the file.
Open your file, then click File > Options (it's near the bottom left corner of the window).
In the left column, select Save.
At the bottom, under Preserve fidelity when sharing this presentation, select the Embed fonts in the file check box.
As certified PowerPoint nerds, we’re overjoyed that this feature is finally available to users on all platforms. But even with this new feature, if your organization has a mixture of Mac and PC users, you should still take the time to test your presentations before big meetings. Our initial results have been promising, but fonts have been historically fickle and it’s always a good practice to make sure everything is working properly before you’re in front of a large audience.
Have other font questions? Drop us a line!