Microsoft 365 for Mac phase out PostScript type 1 fonts, legacy files affected

Priya Walia

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Microsoft has discontinued support for PostScript Type 1 font, a move that marks the end of an era in desktop publishing and potentially brings complications for users of older files.

Notably, Microsoft 365 for Mac withdrew Type 1 font support in a recent update for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook for Mac. The development follows Adobe’s discontinuation of PostScript Type 1 font in January 2023.

Likewise, LibreOffice, commonly used for accessing ancient Word documents, terminated Type 1 fonts support in their 5.3 release in mid-2022.

PostScript fonts are intrinsic to understanding the history of desktop publishing. Type 1 fonts, a subset of PostScript fonts, were the choice for professional desktop publishers from the 80s to the early 2000s.

Adobe was not the only player in the field of vector-based fonts. Apple created the TrueType format in the early 90s, which was later licensed to Microsoft. Adobe and Microsoft subsequently cooperated on the OpenType font, a new format intending to replace both TrueType and PostScript Type 1 font.

The move might not significantly affect users solely dependent on default fonts or Adobe’s extensive font library. However, it does pose a substantial inconvenience for those who meticulously manage their fonts, and rely on the same ones, consistently.

In the decision aftermath, users will no longer be able to view documents that used Type 1 fonts, as intended. Older files that utilize Type 1 fonts may receive missing fonts notifications, and font substitution attempts could introduce layout issues. In addition, users may need to convert their specialized PostScript Type 1 font or purchase an equivalent OpenType version.

Adobe reassures that PDF and EPS files formatted in Type 1 fonts will retain their appearance, provided fonts are placed for display or printing as graphic elements. However, users will have to compromise the text editability.