Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Adobe Reader cannot find font ArialNarrow-Bold defeated

Here is a really interesting error that I ran across and struggled with for a few days.

I needed to print out some PDF forms for folks to complete as part of a field trip with my robotics team.  All well and good enough, we are up to around form number 5, so nothing strange at all about the request.

I open the PDF to print it, and am greeted by a number of small dashes in the form where text should be and the following error message from Adobe Reader: “Cannot find or create the font ‘ArialNarrow-Bold’. Some characters may not display or print correctly.”

Well, no kidding, just look at how the characters render.


All those dots and closer dots.  That is crazy.

Well, my workstation is Windows 8.  I can’t imagine at all why there would be fonts missing.  Or that someone would create a form that actually does not have an equivalent defined nor the font isn’t embedded in the form.

Anyway, off to searching.  And I find a few interesting links.

One is the Microsoft typography repository: http://www.microsoft.com/typography/fonts/family.aspx?FID=22  Very interesting stuff.  If you drill into the font, you can actually see the products it shipped with: http://www.microsoft.com/typography/fonts/font.aspx?FMID=180

So, a bit more research and I run across a hotfix for an older version of Office.  A font hotfix: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/956514

And some research at Adobe points to a historical change that happened that really makes the clues come together: http://helpx.adobe.com/creative-suite/kb/arial-narrow-unavailable-incomplete-cs.html

Oh, and It does not help that monotype has pulled all possibilities of getting the font, without purchasing it or a product that contained it.

Now for the fun part.  Where to get version 2.30 of the font or earlier.  Well, let me save you a bunch of time.  If you go back to the typography site, you see a list of products that have the font.  And then you go about fetching the media, installing, and checking the version of the font.

The oldest available that I can find is 2.30 – which is perfect.  Office XP has it.  Not Office 95, and through MSDN you can’t get Office 2000 nor 98.  And Office 2007 has the 2.35 version which includes the change that causes the break.

Copy those into your \windows\fonts folder and you are good to go.  Wait!  Nope, it still does not work.  I now blame Adobe.

Well, through piecing some Adobe behaviors together through other forum threads I discovered an interesting folder.  C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Reader 11.0\Resource\Font

Copy the version 2.30 font files there.  Close Acrobat and open it again.  And suddenly you can print your PDF. 


Two days.  Poking around for a solution.  should it really be this hard?


Sheltinka BH said...

It reeeeeally shouldn't.
But thanks for this, hope this helps my crying girlfriend print her masters thesis poster tomorrow... on the day of the dealine, yup...

Matt Cameron said...

Good work. Saves me the time of all that troubleshooting. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Forever grateful man, so many suggestions online - but this one worked.

Alexander Amelkin said...

Wow. It would be even more helpful if you said where to download the 2.30 version from.
Microsoft Typography page sends me to fonts.com to buy (!) them.

BrianEh said...

As I stated in the post "Office XP has it" - you have to obtain Office XP to get it.

For me, that was MSDN. But that is not an option for everyone.

And yes, Typography sends you off to buy it. If it was that simple, I would not have bothered writing a blog post.

AlTaiR said...

Thanks for your research...fixed my PDF problem in seconds.
Link to all ArialNarrow font variants v2.20 dated 9/12/96. DropBox
Good thing I keep a good archive ;-)

Anonymous said...

Fantastic dropbox link. Thank you!

Guillermo Ferrari said...

Thank you much Brian and bloggers.
Want to have even more fun?
I had exactly the same problem with the arial narrow font. Inspired on hints from Brian Eh, I just took the arial narrow font installed on windows (arialnarrow.ttf), which it says to be version 2.35, and just copied it in the font directory of Adobe Reader 11. And it works fine!!!
Have fun.