'Start replacing fonts' ahead of Adobe's 2023 support sunset

Mar 07, 2021 at 06:09 pm by Staff


Users of Adobe's 'Type 1' fonts have been advised to plan for when support for them is withdrawn in less than two years time.

The company has announced it will be ending support for the fonts in January 2023, encouraging users to "explore alternatives" ahead of the deadline, particularly of its Creative Cloud and FrameMaker applications.

US-based newspaper guru and trainer Kevin Slimp told GXpress users should begin replacing fonts now. "Don't wait, and make a long-term plan for dealing with Type 1 issues in your documents," he says.

Some Adobe products, including InDesign, now remind users of Type 1 fonts when opening documents. Slimp says the less than two years to the deadline will "pass before you know it". He urges:

-Take note of Type 1 fonts used in your workflow;

-Make a plan right away, determining what to do about documents with Type 1 fonts. "Your templates will require tweaking," he says;

-Consider a re-design - "It's the perfect time to create new templates, while you are replacing fonts";

-Begin replacing fonts - "If you can't live without Palatino, you'd better find an OpenType version before 2023 arrives."

Adobe principal scientist Dov Isaacs says neither PostScript nor PDF are affected by the announcement, and that PostScript, Adobe PDF Print Engine, and Adobe Embedded Print Engine-based RIPs/DFEs and printers will "by definition" continue to support Type 1 fonts. It's the source documents - not PDF or EPS with embedded fonts - that users are being urged to examine.

Adobe has already deprecated support for Type 1 fonts in Photoshop this year, while Microsoft eliminated support for Type 1 fonts in Office on Windows some years ago.

Dov says Adobe PDF-based products including Acrobat Reader, Standard, and Pro, and the Adobe Mobile Readers (iOS and Android) will continue to support display, printing, and text editing of PDF files using Type 1 fonts, which is required by the ISO PDF specification. Fonts from Adobe Fonts are not affected.

"The good news is that fonts embedded into your PDF and EPS files are safe," says Slimp. "They will still work when placed on a page in InDesign. However, don't try to open them in Illustrator or Photoshop for editing. You'll be welcomed with that same 'missing fonts' error.

As the announcement applies to new releases beginning in January 2023, Dov says support for Type 1 fonts in earlier releases is not affected. "Thus, you can continue to use Type 1 fonts for editing legacy documents after January 2023," he says. "Of course, given the continual incompatible operating system updates by Apple for MacOS and increasingly by Microsoft for Windows, the ability to run these older versions may be limited as time goes on."

Slimp points out that there are "plenty of fonts to choose from" in the Creative Cloud font library, and advises those who bought Type 1 fonts from Adobe and other foundries to ask whether there is an upgrade path to OpenType versions of the same fonts.

And he says he suspects the requirement "could speed the move of some newspapers away from Adobe to other software options". Slimp has recently been holding webinars for those interested in switching to Affinity, and says while he is not recommending a move from Adobe software, "now is a good time to look seriously at your options".

Phasing out of Type 1 fonts is "not the end of the world," he says. "The worst-case scenario is we have to spend a few hundred (or a few thousand) dollars and replace a few fonts. But like the move from Ethernet cables to wireless networks, the move away from Type 1 fonts has been a long time coming."

The latest changes take Slimp all the way back to 1994, when Syquest drives were replaced by smaller, less expensive Zips.

"How many Mac users remember the SCSI interface? For that matter, how many PC users remember the parallel port? Does anyone remember the Apple FriendlyNet? Be careful before admitting it. You're bound to age yourself.

"Letting go of familiar, albeit antiquated, tools is one of the costs of keeping up with technology," he says.


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