Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 & OpenType CFF Fonts

Microsoft has been hard at work fixing a couple of bugs Windows PowerPoint 2007 has in working with OpenType CFF (“PostScript” flavored OpenType) fonts.

The first is pretty serious. Set text above 64 point in an OpenType CFF font, and it all munges together, overlapping. It’s basically unreadable and unusable at these sizes.

The second is a little more subtle. Apply underlining to an OpenType CFF font, and the underline will be shifted up slightly, above the baseline instead of below, so it cuts into the text, almost like a really low strikethrough. Now, as a typographer I don’t use underlining all that often… except for URLs, which show up in my presentations all the time.

The latest Windows PowerPoint hotfix fixes these issues, hurrah! However, it has not yet been rolled up into a regular update, because it has not been as fully tested as everyone would like. It definitely solves the problems noted above. If you are encountering these problems and need them fixed *now* and are willing to take a slight chance, then you should download the hotfix. To get the fix now, rather than waiting, you can request Hotfix SRZ071022000448. [added info 17 Mar 2008:Microsoft’s writeup is now available in their Knowledgebase article 948941.]

Otherwise, you should wait for this to be rolled into a regular update (available through the Microsoft Update service), or a later Service Pack update. I’ll post when the “regular” update is available.

4 Responses

  1. I’ve been having a problem printing/exporting sizable Excel spreadsheets (160×80 cells) to PDF if I’m using an OpenType font. The process invariably causes Excel (2007) to crash. A little investigation tells me that the Office/PDF/OpenType problem has been around for quite a while now. Do you know if this is an issue that is being actively addressed, like the PowerPoint issue (or if there are any known work-arounds)?[The reported problem was with Acrobat 6, which was a fair while ago. What version of Acrobat are you using? – T]

  2. I’m using Acrobat 8, as included with CS3 (plus any automatic updates), sorry to say.[Interesting. Our internal testers have been unable to replicate this problem, as you describe it. I’m not trying to deny that you’re having this difficulty, but clearly it isn’t universal. I’ll put you in touch with our test team and see if y’all can figure out what’s causing it. – T]

  3. Aristarco Palacios says:

    When I install OpenType fonts, True Type or PS-flavored, Excel, Ppt, Word, etc., will not display all the members of the font. Avenir, for example, shows 6 members and Oblique variants for each in InDesign CS5, but Excel 2007 shows only 4 and no Oblique variants. This happen with all MS Office programs. Also, the OT fonts look awful on screen (within MS Office programs) but they print right.

    1. It sounds like you may be unaware that different applications group fonts differently, and access the bold and italic faces of a typeface family differently as well. Adobe InDesign groups fonts by typographic family and subfamily name, but Microsoft Office applications group fonts using the four-face family system, and uses “Bold” and “Italic” buttons to access the bold and italic faces of a typeface family.

      With regard to OpenType fonts looking awful on screen in Microsoft Office applications, knowing what specific version of Windows you’re using, being sure to mention what Service Packs have been installed, along with some screen shots, would be helpful.

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Thomas Phinney

Adobe type alumnus (1997–2008), now VP at FontLab, also helped create WebINK at Extensis. Lives in Portland (OR), enjoys board games, movies, and loves spicy food.

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