Embedding Fonts in PDFs

May 25, 2014

Submitting camera-ready final papers is one of the many mundane tasks that make up the non-research part of grad school. We’ve all done it: had Sheridan Printing or whomever reject our final version because it didn’t embed its fonts. (It’s a mystery as to why it’s possible to create PDFs that work fine on one machine and break on others.)

So you need to embed fonts in your PDF. The world is full of broken or overcomplicated advice, including the depressing suggestion that you buy Adobe Distiller, which has been discontinued since 2013.

Here’s a tiny script that just does the right thing. You will need two dependencies: Ghostscript and exiftool. On a Mac with Homebrew, this is as easy as:

brew install ghostscript
brew install exiftool

Then paste this minuscule shell script into a file (I call it pdfstill):

You can grab this script real quick like this:

curl -O https://gist.github.com/sampsyo/898489dd2672c5d1af36/raw/pdfstill
chmod a+x pdfstill

The command pdfstill paper.pdf will produce paper.still.pdf, ready to satisfy your conference’s friendly publishing ogres.