Convert PDF to OTF

How to identify which fonts are in PDF document. Recovery of OFT fonts from PDF documents.

How to convert pdf to otf file

  • Fonts

About PDF documents and embedded fonts

PDF format

PDF (Portable Document Format) is a widely used file format created by Adobe Systems, designed to present documents consistently across various devices and platforms. It encapsulates text, fonts, layout, images, and other media elements in a fixed-layout document that looks the same regardless of the software or hardware used to view it.

Fonts in PDF format

Embedding fonts in PDF documents ensures that the document appears the same on any system, regardless of whether the reader has the font installed. This is crucial for maintaining the integrity and consistency of the document's layout and design. This is especially true for documents that rely heavily on specific typography, like corporate reports, academic papers, or legal documents. Embedding fonts guarantees text is displayed accurately, preserving the author's original formatting and design intentions.

Several font formats can be embedded, each with unique features and compatibility. The most common font formats embedded in PDFs include:

  1. TrueType (TTF): TrueType is a widely used font format developed by Apple and Microsoft. It is well-supported across various platforms and known for its high-quality display on screen and in print.
  2. PostScript Type 1 (PS1): Developed by Adobe, PostScript Type 1 fonts are used in professional publishing. These fonts are known for their precise control over font layout and high-quality printing.
  3. OpenType (OTF): OpenType is a format developed by Microsoft and Adobe that extends the TrueType font standard. It supports a wide range of characters and languages and includes advanced typographic features. OpenType fonts are increasingly popular due to their versatility and comprehensive language support.
  4. Type 3: Type 3 fonts are a more complex format that allows the use of PostScript language to describe font characters. They are less common and typically used for special purposes, such as representing non-standard fonts or complex graphics within the font design.

What is pdf to otf conversion then?

In most cases, users searching for pdf to otf conversion want to identify and possibly recover a particular font from the document. Some need to know the font's name to download it from online sources, while others want to recover the font directly. Both tasks are similar; they require a different approach.

How to identify which fonts are embedded in my PDF file?

Using Adobe Acrobat Reader

The easiest way to identify fonts is to use the freely available Adobe Acrobat / Acrobat Reader. These fonts are available for pretty much every platform, and regardless of the version, they should be capable of this simple task. Of course, you can use any similar tools you have at your disposal; they all work the same for this purpose.

  1. Open your .pdf file with Adobe Acrobat Reader
  2. Go to the menu and click on File, and then select the Properties option.
  3. In the Document Properties window, click on the Fonts tab. Here, you will see a list of all the fonts used in the document, along with details on whether they are embedded or not.

Once you know the font name, search the Internet and download it or use tools to recover embedded fonts from PDF documents.

How do I recover embedded fonts from PDF documents?

Using FontForge software to recover embedded fonts

Why ForgeForge? Simply because it works and is available for free on Windows, macOS, and Linux. Of course, you can find many tools like this, so use whichever you prefer. In the end, they all work based on the same principle; just the names of buttons and menus can be different. It will always require a bit of technical know-how on your part.

Open your PDF document with FontForge

Launch FontForge, and instead of opening a font file, open the PDF file from which you want to recover the fonts. FontForge can read PDF files and extract font information like any PDF reader.

Find the font you are looking for

When you open your .pdf file in FontForge, it displays a list of fonts used in the document. Each font will be represented by showing the characters included in the PDF. Select the font you wish to recover.

Examine and edit the font

Once you've selected a font, FontForge will open it using its font editor. You can then review and edit the font as needed. This step is crucial if the font was partially embedded (subsetted) in the PDF, meaning it might only contain the characters used in the document and not the entire font set.

Generate the font

After any necessary editing, you can generate a new font file. Go to File ► Generate Fonts, and choose your preferred font format, e.g., in this case, OpenType format (.otf), and where you want to save it on your computer.

Test the recovered font

Testing the recovered font to ensure it works correctly is always a good idea. Install the font on your system, try using it in a word processor or design program, and look for any errors or inconsistencies.

The font recovery process does not work for me

If the previous point does not work for you, your PDF file likely lacks embedded fonts. Instead, it consists of picture scans or outlines and not text. The only way to proceed from here is to use tools that identify fonts based on images. Once you know the font's name, download it from any available online sources. There are still a few things you can try to determine about the font used in your PDF document.

Use OCR software to recover the text from PDF scans

OCR software will allow you to convert the picture scan into selectable text. This is very crucial because any tools that identify fonts need text. Plenty of dedicated OCR solutions are on the market, but you can even find open-source OCR engines, such as Tesseract. The result of OCR will greatly depend on the quality and resolution of the picture scans in your PDF.

Identify the font from the recovered text

Once you have the text, you have several options on how to proceed.

  • You can, for example, try to out and use one of the online font identification services like WhatTheFont, Font Squirrel's Matcherator, or Adobe Fonts. These tools allow you to upload the image of the text (after OCR) and then attempt to identify the font based on the shapes of the letters.
  • Another great tip is to use one of the available font Identification apps, such as WhatTheFont and Adobe Capture. You can take a photo of the text (post-OCR) and use these apps to identify the font. They use advanced algorithms to analyze the letter shapes and suggest possible matches.
  • If automated tools don’t yield results, try consulting design forums or communities like Reddit's r/identifythisfont. Experienced designers and typographers often recognize a font or suggest similar ones.
  • The last remaining option is to manually compare the font in your document with fonts from online libraries like Google Fonts or Adobe Fonts. Look for key characteristics like serif or sans-serif, letter shapes, and x-height and make best guess which font it is. Then download it from online sources if possible.

The database currently does not contain any pdf file converter.

Additional formats for
pdf file conversion

Share on social media: