Adobe is retiring Type 1 font support, here's how to prepare for the change

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2021
Adobe has announced that they will end support for creating content with Type 1 fonts by January 2023. Here's how you can prepare to make the shift to more widely supported formats.




It's always intimidating when a company ends support for something, be it an old piece of software or a legacy format. And, it doesn't get much more "legacy" than Postscript Type 1 fonts.

However, there are steps you can take to make the transition as painless as possible.

We'll help walk you through the process of understanding what Type 1 fonts are, how to find them on your system, and what you can do to prepare yourself for when the fonts go unsupported.

What a Type 1 font is

Type 1 fonts are a legacy format created by Adobe in 1984 when desktop publishing was still in its nascent years. Apple started supporting the technology in the original LaserWriter, announced on the same day that Aldus PageMaker, in 1985.

The format went public in 1991, allowing individuals and companies to design -- and sell -- their own Type 1 fonts.

Adobe stopped developing Type 1 fonts in 1999 and began introducing its own OpenType fonts -- a format developed by Adobe and Microsoft -- in 2000. Many developers started converting old Type 1 fonts to more widely supported formats shortly after. By 2005, it became exceedingly difficult to find Type 1 fonts.

Many
Many "Adobe Originals" fonts were released as Type 1 fonts | Image Credit: Adobe


Adobe announced that they would pull support for Type 1 fonts in Photoshop in 2021 and end support for the legacy format across all Adobe products in January 2023.

What will happen when support is ended for Type 1 fonts

As Adobe officially sunsets Type 1 fonts, you might be wondering what is going to happen. Like most impacts induced by deprecated file formats, it depends where and why these fonts are being used.

Most major software applications, open-source libraries, and mobile platforms already do not support Type 1 fonts. Chances are if you use or design for these platforms, you are already using a more widely supported format.

For Adobe Creative Suite programs like Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator, the fonts will become unavailable to use upon retirement. This means that any Type 1 fonts you could previously access within Adobe programs will not appear in the in-program font list. Additionally, any file that contains a Type 1 font will trigger Adobe's "Missing Font" error when opened within an Adobe program.

Certain file formats, such as EPS and PDF files, will be unaffected by the change, provided that they are being placed for display or printing as a graphic element. This means old PDF documents can be viewed and printed but not edited in applications like Photoshop or Illustrator.

Who will be affected when Type 1 fonts go unsupported

Most people will not be affected by the retirement of Type 1 fonts. As stated above, Adobe had stopped creating Type 1 fonts in 1999, and most developers had moved to more robust formats in early 2005. Many developers had even converted existing Type 1 fonts to OpenType and TrueType formats in the early 2000s.

However, there's a chance that you may still have some Type 1 fonts. This is especially true for designers working with in-house fonts developed explicitly by their company, especially if their company has been active since the 1990s.

If this applies to you, you'll want to discuss either converting an existing Type 1 font to an OpenType or TrueType format or creating or licensing a new font altogether.

If you purchased a Type 1 font through a third-party vendor, you'd need to either seek out an updated TrueType version or find a similar font that you can obtain the license for. Some foundries may offer discounts or free upgrades for those looking for OpenType versions of Type 1 fonts.

We do not recommend that you convert third-party fonts to OpenType/TrueType formats, as this likely violates the end-user license agreement.

FontBook, showing a Type 1 font entry
FontBook, showing a Type 1 font entry


If you've purchased a Type 1 font through Adobe, you may want to see if there's already a supported Type 1 font included with your Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Adobe offers many of their older "Adobe Originals" fonts for free under their subscription packages.

In the event that you do not own a Creative Cloud subscription, Adobe allows users to purchase perpetual licenses to OpenType versions of their Adobe Type 1 fonts via Fontspring. Those who purchased Type 1 fonts published by Adobe Type should contact Fontspring to receive a discount on an upgrade.

How to locate Type 1 fonts on your Mac

The latest version of macOS, Big Sur, still supports Type 1 fonts on Intel and Apple Silicon machines. For now.

If you're new to Mac, within the last decade or so, you probably don't have any Type 1 fonts installed. If you're unsure whether or not you have Type 1 fonts on your machine, here's how to tell if you have any installed.
  1. On your keyboard, press Command + Spacebar to open Spotlight search

  2. Type FontBook

  3. In the search bar in the top right corner of the window that appears, click the magnifying glass

  4. Click Kind




  5. In the search field, type Type 1

  6. If any fonts appear, you can select them to confirm that they are Type 1 fonts



This helps you identify which fonts on your system you will need to replace or avoid using in the future.

When you should upgrade to TrueType or OpenType formats

We highly suggest that anyone who has existing Type 1 fonts find alternatives as soon as possible. As stated, Adobe Photoshop will stop supporting Type 1 fonts in 2021, and all other Adobe programs will end support in January 2023. Switching now ensures that you will not run into problems by the time Adobe officially sunsets Type 1 support.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 1,266member
    I must have thousands of Type 1 fonts on shareware CD’s. Now I’m feeling nostalgic for Pagemaker. 
    jpframer1986
  • Reply 2 of 25
    rcfarcfa Posts: 1,124member
    Any conversion utilities?
    mac_dog
  • Reply 3 of 25
    I understand that Adobe is ending support for Type 1 fonts, but what if the font is installed in your system and you aren't using Adobe products?  

    I suspect that they'll work just fine until Apple ends support (which may be a long way off.)
    dysamoria
  • Reply 4 of 25
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,869administrator
    rcfa said:
    Any conversion utilities?
    Most are long-dead. We'll be evaluating a few places and surviving apps.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 5 of 25
    It appears, looking at the screen shots above, that the extension (.ttf, .otf) does not have to match the type/kind. Why is that? One would think that if the font is listed with .otf, it would be an OpenType font. Anyone have insight on this?
    edited February 2021
  • Reply 6 of 25
  • Reply 7 of 25
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,869administrator
    Already on our list, yup.
  • Reply 8 of 25
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,956member
    Well I guess 39 years is a pretty good run...

    What exactly is they difference between a type 1 font and an OpenType font? (I.e. why the change?) All the story says is that Adobe switched over.
  • Reply 9 of 25
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 1,266member
    MplsP said:
    Well I guess 39 years is a pretty good run...

    What exactly is they difference between a type 1 font and an OpenType font? (I.e. why the change?) All the story says is that Adobe switched over.
    This website explains the differences pretty well. 

  • Reply 10 of 25
    It's quaint that font design firms are still called "foundries" like they are still pouring molten lead into molds.
    DAalseth
  • Reply 11 of 25
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,808member
    Thanks for the tutorial on how to find them. That worked great. It turns out I have a dozen Type1 fonts. No idea where they came from and they aren't ones I would be using. They're mostly math symbols with names that start with STIX and one Chinese font. 

    How do you go about deleting unwanted fonts?
    edited February 2021
  • Reply 12 of 25
    Already on our list, yup.
    Transtype works great. I've been using for quite sometime.

    Yours
    Vern
  • Reply 13 of 25
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,578member
    It's quaint that font design firms are still called "foundries" like they are still pouring molten lead into molds.
    I love how you posted that while apparently completely oblivious to the fact that a „font“ is literally the result of founding, which is what the foundry does. 
    MplsP
  • Reply 14 of 25
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,808member
    spheric said:
    It's quaint that font design firms are still called "foundries" like they are still pouring molten lead into molds.
    I love how you posted that while apparently completely oblivious to the fact that a „font“ is literally the result of founding, which is what the foundry does. 
    Actually that is the same anachronism. The origin of font goes back to the 12th century meaning a receptacle for a liquid, either baptismal water or in this case molten metal. 
    hexclockrandominternetpersondysamoria
  • Reply 15 of 25
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 1,266member
    DAalseth said:
    Thanks for the tutorial on how to find them. That worked great. It turns out I have a dozen Type1 fonts. No idea where they came from and they aren't ones I would be using. They're mostly math symbols with names that start with STIX and one Chinese font. 

    How do you go about deleting unwanted fonts?
    https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/08/08/how-to-add-or-remove-fonts-on-the-mac-with-font-book
  • Reply 16 of 25
    If this applies to you, you'll want to discuss either converting an existing Type 1 font to an OpenType or TrueType format or creating or licensing a new font altogether. 
    .....
    We do not recommend that you convert third-party fonts to OpenType/TrueType formats, as this likely violates the end-user license agreement. 
    EULAs say lots of absurd things, but forbidding users from fixing broken fonts that they purchased seems particularly insulting.


    edited February 2021 dysamoria
  • Reply 17 of 25
    I understand that Adobe is ending support for Type 1 fonts, but what if the font is installed in your system and you aren't using Adobe products?  

    I suspect that they'll work just fine until Apple ends support (which may be a long way off.)
    Apple will either update them (some) to OpenType or phase um out...
  • Reply 18 of 25
    Is there a reliable way to find Type 1 fonts? File extension doesn't seem to be much use. I have a 40TB volume full of old book designs including their fonts and I know at least a few of those are Type 1, I should probably address it before it's urgent.
  • Reply 19 of 25
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,869administrator
    oseame said:
    Is there a reliable way to find Type 1 fonts? File extension doesn't seem to be much use. I have a 40TB volume full of old book designs including their fonts and I know at least a few of those are Type 1, I should probably address it before it's urgent.
    I feel like what you're asking for is addressed in the piece?
  • Reply 20 of 25
    oseame said:
    Is there a reliable way to find Type 1 fonts? File extension doesn't seem to be much use. I have a 40TB volume full of old book designs including their fonts and I know at least a few of those are Type 1, I should probably address it before it's urgent.
    I feel like what you're asking for is addressed in the piece?
    Not for my case, the fonts aren't stored in FontBook as it's a file server being used by 50 people who all manage their own fonts in suitcase fusion, and very few of them still have these old fonts in their own libraries ("font vaults")- only archived on the server.
    edited February 2021
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