You’ve no doubt heard that Adobe products will no longer support Type1 fonts. Although Photoshop support ended in November 2021, January 2023 will end support for InDesign. Having had a mac, and fonts, since 1992… I have designed hundreds if not thousands, of projects built with Type1 fonts which comprise the majority of the thousands of fonts I own on my computers.

I was recently working on edits to a book and was having numerous problems with the Type1 fonts ScalaSans and Minion Pro. I decided to use the Adobe Cloud Open Type versions, but alas it did not include the small caps, ornaments or the figures… all of which I had used in Character and Paragraph Styles for the project. Which meant I had to rebuild the style sheets that used these fonts with the Adobe OpenType versions and give up on some of the features that made me choose that typeface in the first place. 🙁

This led to hours and hours of research about what exactly was going to happen in January! Oy.

After watching a few videos and reading numerous articles I identified all the Type1 fonts on my systems and pulled them into a collection (FontBook) or removed them from the system (FontExplorer – which is also being discontinued! I am so sad, it has been THE BEST MOST SOLID FONT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE EVER IMHO). I won’t be using them on projects going forward and didn’t want them gumming up my fonts menus.

I also decided that rather than sell my mid2012 MacBookPro running CS6 I am going to keep it to edit legacy projects with OSX intact. How long this will be a viable solution is dependent on several factors, but with a souped up SSD drive inside… I am hoping it will be very stable. 

To sum up what I have learned over the past few weeks, the challenge will be in editing and repurposing files built with Type1 fonts.In order to edit a file built with a Type1 font after January 2023:

  1. You will have to substitute the font in InDesign CC as Adobe will no longer “see” the Type1 font on your system.
  2. If you substitute for the OpenType version (on your hard drive) of your Type1 font you will very, very, likely have reflow issues.. Some OpenType versions are completely different!
  3. You can edit the file on an older system and the pdf will work just fine in InDesign or other software that can handle a pdf.

If you have the original purchase receipt you may be able to get an upgrade via the foundry, for a discount. Sadly I do not think this is a viable option for many individuals and businesses. Who has a receipt for a font that was purchased on a floppy disk? Who keeps emails for 20 years?

Software exists to convert a Type1 font to OpenType. Here are some caveats:

  1. Your conversion done on your desktop may not match other conversions. This may start a chain of nightmares when sending files to printers.
  2. Web based converters cannot handle Mac Type1 but they can handle windows.

How about the future? As of today Mac OS 12.5 still recognizes Type1 fonts but that might not always be true. I will not be using Type1 fonts in any project except for maybe personal stuff.

I think the best our design/print community can do is to prepare for longer times to prep files and make edits to projects created with Type1 fonts, and if possible keep a legacy machine going for those edits. By talking to customers now you can prepare them for the time and costs involved in this transition. And for goodness sake, don’t give this time away!

I am a big believer in not leaving things to the last minute. And if you have down time and know about projects that will come in for edits after January 2023… take a look now and see what you will be up against. 

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