Responding to Adobe's most recent guidance on Type 1 fonts
Many of our customers remain confused and, frankly, angry over the decision to force them to upgrade their font collections at significant expense to their organizations. We've quoted directly from Adobe's latest guidance (January 2022) on Type 1 fonts, and responded with our thoughts.
This is a big deal: Extensis estimates that 26% of the fonts in use are Type 1 fonts.
Type 1 fonts (also known as PostScript, PS1, T1, Adobe Type 1, Multiple Master, or MM) are a deprecated format within the font industry, replaced by the larger glyph sets and more robust technical possibilities of OpenType format fonts.
Type 1 fonts were introduced by Adobe in 1984 for use with its PostScript page description language, and became widely used with the spread of desktop publishing software and printers that could use PostScript. In 1996, Adobe products and type development began to concentrate on the use of more versatile OpenType fonts rather than Type 1.
While the use of Type 1 fonts is still supported by some operating systems, it is not supported in many environments crucial to modern platforms, including web browsers and mobile OSes. The lack of support for Unicode information in Type 1 fonts also limits their ability to support extended language character sets.
That's fine, but many print applications do not need "larger glyph sets and more robust technical possibilities". This feels like yet another way to drive revenue by eliminating support for a significant asset (font collections) already bought and paid for.
When will support for Type 1 fonts end in Adobe products?
Users will no longer have the ability to author content using Type 1 fonts beginning January 2023, though Photoshop has already ended support. Until that time, users will be able to work with their Type1 fonts without any change.
Some products, including Document Cloud applications, will continue to display and work with Type 1 fonts as they have all along.
It is very important that you identify, isolate, and if necessary, replace your Type 1 fonts in 2022. These will not work in Adobe InDesign in 2023. You may also need to anticipate staffing needs to update your existing documents to reflect this reduction in functionality.
What will happen to documents using Type 1 fonts after January 2023?
Adobe applications will not recognize the presence of Type 1 fonts, even if you have Type 1 fonts installed in your desktop operating system:
1. Type 1 fonts will not appear in the Fonts menu.
2. There would be no way to use previously installed Type1 fonts.
3. Existing Type1 fonts will appear as “Missing fonts” in the document.
Don't say they didn't warn you! It remains to be seen if they will stick to this timeline as our guess is there will be a whole lot of livid users of Adobe products come a year from now.
Can I convert my Type 1 font files to a supported format?
Converting Type 1 fonts to the OpenType format is possible but will produce a sub-optimal result. Additionally, converting your files may be prohibited by the font foundry’s End User License Agreement. Please consult the license agreement or contact the foundry directly for more information.
This is possible but may be illegal. It's hard to know however, as it is unclear what the license agreement was back in the 1980s, 1990s, etc. when you purchased your Type 1 collections. We believe it would be incredibly hard for a company to demonstrate the licensing terms for products that were in place decades ago at the time you purchased them. That said, we are printers, not lawyers, so perhaps you should ask one if you plan to convert.
FontLab has a conversion tool called TransType 4. We purchased the tool to write this article and tested its conversions on some Type 1 fonts from the early 1980s. The tool worked flawlessly.
Even if you decide to convert, you will still need to remove the old Type 1 fonts and replace them with the newly-converted fonts. This can be a tedious process and may require hours of work, depending upon how you've organized the old fonts in your font management program. Our recommendation: start with a few, and budget a little time each week throughout the year.