Adobe Acrobat: Embedded Font Error

Cannot extract the embedded font 'Foobar'. Some characters may not
display or print correctly.

You may see this error with Adobe Acrobat 8 when you open certain PDF documents. If the Foobar font has been used all over the PDF, all you see of the document will be gibberish!

Adobe says they have fixed this error in their Acrobat 8.1.1 update:

#1572280 Type 3 fonts with missing operators. PDF documents that contain Type 3 fonts with missing operators are non-compliant with the PDF specification. These non-compliant PDF documents are typically generated by third party products. When trying to opening the document, users see an error message, “Cannot extract the embedded font ‘F0’. Some characters may not be displayed or printed correctly.” PDF documents open correctly in Reader/Acrobat 7.x, but not 8.0 or 8.1. The root cause is Type 3 fonts that do not comply with the PDF specification, which requires either the ‘d0’ or ‘d1’ operator in every Type 3 character procedure. In version 7.x, if the offending character was not displayed, the PDF document opened normally. Version 8.0 catches this error even if the character is not displayed. The updated behavior will ignore the missing operator when the character procedure is empty.
Root: fixes an issue in versions 8.0 and 8.1, not present in earlier versions.

However, installing the 8.1.1 update does not really fix this error! In fact, even though I incrementally updated all the way up to 8.2, the error is not solved. 8.2 is the last Acrobat 8.x update available for the 8 series.

There does not seem to be any solution to this error by Adobe. It does not seem to be fixed even in the 9.x series of Adobe Acrobat (see Mark Kostka’s comment below). The solution seems to be the latest versions of Adobe Acrobat Reader or Foxit Reader. The PDF documents display and print without any problem in these readers!

11 thoughts on “Adobe Acrobat: Embedded Font Error

    1. Quick fix – save the PDF as a POSTSCRIPT – then run it through ACROBAT DISTILLAR – the end user will not get the font error and the fonts in error will not show up as “morse code” as I like to call it.


  1. I began seeing this error in a number of documents and am running Acrobat Pro 8.2.3. Were you able to find a resolution?


  2. Weird.
    I get this error on Acrobat X Pro too, but it seems to happen after I save as optimized PDF. Original file has all fonts embedded as subsets (confirmed) and the optimizer settings that I use don’t un-embed any of the fonts. However, as soon as I save as optimized, the error pops up, and the font that is reported is not embedded anymore!


  3. @David Watson:
    I am seeing the same issue on Mac, Lion, Acrobat X Pro. When I optimize my PDFs, the error appears. So far I have found no way to work around the error besides not optimizing, which is not a viable option for the file sizes that I have to work with.


  4. I tried Adobe Reader X, Foxit Reader, web PDF viewers and xpdf-utilities, but no luck. Funny, since the actual text is there, it’s just not displayed correctly. You can select and copy the morse code and paste it somewhere else to get the text, or you can save the PDF as text. I’ve spent too much time on this problem already, f-ck it, but thanks for the info.


  5. I will try Foxit~~~I used Adobe because the function is very strong and practical. But may be Foxit is the most convenient “Reader”


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