Knowledge Base - Technical Articles

Technical Article   Problem:  Some symbols, markers, or fonts change or disappear when exported to EPS or PDF

Article ID: 28548
Bug Id: N/A
Software:  ArcGIS - ArcEditor 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.3.1, 10 ArcGIS - ArcInfo 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.3.1, 10 ArcGIS - ArcView 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.3.1, 10
Platforms: N/A


Some or all regular or custom markers, symbols, north arrows, or certain fonts may change to random and/or incorrect symbols and fonts when exported to PDF or EPS and that file is viewed on another computer.


The fonts that contain those symbols, such as markers, north arrows, and text are not installed on the computer on which the PDF or EPS is being viewed or printed.

Solution or Workaround

As all ArcMap symbols and markers are stored in fonts, the best solution is to embed fonts used in the map into the output document.

 Some fonts do not allow embedding or may not be valid fonts. -show me-

If the 'Embed document fonts' option was used when exporting to PDF from ArcMap:

1. Open the PDF in Adobe Reader.
2. Navigate to File > Document Properties.
3. Select the Fonts tab and check for fonts that do not have "(Embedded Subset)" after the name.

These fonts may disallow font embedding. To check:

4. Download and install the Microsoft Font Properties Extension. See the link in the Related Information section below.
5. Start Windows Explorer and navigate to C:\Windows\Fonts or C:\Winnt\Fonts.
6. Right-click on the questionable fonts and select Properties. Notice the additional information now available from the Font Properties Extension.
7. Select the Embedding tab and note if the font allows embedding or not.

If a font that does not allow embedding is used as a symbol, click on 'Convert marker symbols to polygons' in the PDF export options. The font glyph is converted to outlines to get around the embedding restriction. Note that higher-resolution exports will render converted font symbols more accurately.
[O-Image] Font Properties extension

  1. Open the Export Map dialog box by clicking File/Export Map.
  2. Click the drop-down list. Save as type menu and select either EPS (*.eps) or PDF (*.pdf).
  3. Expand the Export Map dialog box to view the Options. -show me-
    When ArcMap is first installed, the Export Map dialog box is collapsed and may be difficult to notice.

    Instructions provided describe how to expand the ArcMap Export Map dialog box options.
    Click the arrow in the lower left-hand corner of the Export Map dialog box. The dialog box expands and displays the export format options. -show me-

    [O-Image] ArcMap Export dialog options button

  4. Click the Format tab.
  5. Click on Embed All Document Fonts. -show me-

    [O-Image] Embed all document fonts
  6. Click Save to begin the export.

Related Information

Created: 1/18/2005
Last Modified: 5/6/2011

Article Rating: (6)


By johngallimore - 05/31/2013 8:31 AM

The article is incorrect or the solution didn’t work.

The solution does not work. For legends, the only real workaround is to zoom into the legend on the layout, and use a screen capture tool to convert the legend to an image(jpeg, bmp, etc...), then insert the image in place of the legend on the layout. 10 second solution for a 10 year old problem. Come on ESRI, you can do better than this!


By manyjennifer - 12/05/2011 10:36 PM

The article is incorrect or the solution didn’t work.

Even I click on 'Convert Marker symbols to polygons', the unallowed embedding fonts also cannot be converted into glyph in the pdf. This function don't work.


By Anonymous - 12/09/2010 12:27 PM

I have suggested related resources/links that can enhance this article. See below.

Does ESRI creat these 'issues' to make me look like a jerk! I view the .pdf on my computer it looks perfect. I e-mail to my boss and it looks like $%^&! unacceptable.


By Anonymous - 07/15/2010 8:21 AM

I’d like to suggest some keywords to help find this article.

This article fixed the labels on my graph axes, but now I have lost the North arrow on the exported map in the EPS format.


By Anonymous - 06/06/2008 9:28 AM

Great article! It helped a lot!

Great article! It helped a lot!


By Anonymous - 05/11/2007 1:13 PM

I would like to see a new article that discusses the topic outlined below.

Problem 1: Re embedding fonts, I had to collect information from 9 different ESRI windows & links, and 3 more from Microsoft ... before I could get the story. Problem 2: If you want us to be able to use Arc maps in our presentations (ppt), our posters (ppt or CorelDraw), and our publications (paste to Word, Excel, or pdf) why not liberate the ESRI symbols? We have followed the rules for years, but every time there's an upgrade (to Arc, to Windows, to Powerpoint, to Adobe) we go through anothe


By Anonymous - 06/08/2006 4:20 PM

The article is incorrect or the solution didn’t work.

North arrow still does not appear when exporting to PDF, following steps listed in solution.