bad font error in Word on Mac

daverowland's picture

Hi
Not sure if the build forum is the correct place for this or not, but here goes...
It seems that certain customers (well, one customer) is having problems with one of my fonts in MS Word on a Mac. Whenever they try to use the font in Word, they get a 'Bad Font Detected' error message which goes on to say that the system will try to disable the font.
In my own testing, I can't get the same error message, and MyFonts checked it on a few different Macs in Word and it was ok. Since then they have been able to get the same error message using Mac OSX 10.7.3 with MS Word 2011. I can only test it using Mac OSX 10.6.8 with Word 2008, where it works fine. It also works without any problems in all other programs on Mac and all programs on Windows.
I can't find anything in the font file itself that would cause the error message, and out of more than a thousand licenses there has been only this one complaint. It seems to me it is a problem with Word (certain versions) on Macs (certain versions!) rather than with my font, but it's still going to mean refunding the customer for a font that is otherwise fine.
Has anyone had similar issues, and if so, could you find anything in your fonts that was causing them?
Many thanks for any help in this matter,
Dave

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

I find that .otf fonts work badly in Word. Try .ttf fonts.

daverowland's picture

That's not really an option because it's a font with loads of alternates, ligatures, features, etc. The kind of font you wouldn't expect people to be using in Word in the first place, but as they are trying to do so, I need a way that it works there.

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Perhaps it has to do with the way the font is activated (system catalogue, SuitCase, FontAgent or otherwise)...?

daverowland's picture

They installed using Fontbook, and it validated fine, but then didn't work in Word. I tested it on a Mac the exact same way and it validated fine but also worked fine in Word. It really does feel like it's a problem with Word but I can't really say to the customer that it's Microsoft's problem, not mine! So if anyone has come up against the same problem and found a fix, I'd be very grateful to know it.

Té Rowan's picture

With how rococo much of today's software is, you could blame it on Microsoft and very probably be right.

JamesT's picture

I've been having the same issue lately. My problem is that the typeface has Regular, Italic, and a third style (all with five different weights). Word seems to be choosing, at random, which fonts it feels like displaying.

If I end up solving it, I'll let you know.

oldnick's picture

As I understand it, Word only allows for four variants of a typeface—Regular, Italic, Bold and Bold Italic. Any other variation—Light, Condensed, etc.—won’t display in Word’s font menu correctly.

Consequently, My Cool Font ST-Light won’t fly, but My Cool Font Light ST will.

HVB's picture

To be on the safe side, what little I do conforms to what Nick mentions - no more than a Regular, Bold, Italic, and Bold Italic styles for a single Family Name, and therefore different Family Names for all other styles.

However, it appears that multiple styles CAN be within a family, even in a Windows and/or MS Office environment:

Adam Twardoch (FontLab) describes a comprehensive font naming convention here:

http://forum.fontlab.com/fontlab-studio-tips-and-tricks/font-family-naming-in-fontlab-studio-5-t313.0.html

Karsten Lücke's approach is in this pdf: http://www.kltf.de/downloads/FontNaming-kltf.pdf

I'm sure that Tom Phinney produced a similar exposition, but I can't seem to find it.

- Herb VB

daverowland's picture

The font I'm having problems with is a single weight display script, so any problems with naming can't be the cause of my problem. But naming of larger families is a ball-ache if you want them to work in Word etc.

jasonc's picture

Have you checked the panose values? Believe it or not, Word used to be picky about that. However, I can't find any documentation to cite to back that up at the moment.

Jason C

HVB's picture

re: using TTF instead of OTF
If the font contains only Truetype outlines, it can be given a .ttf extension without altering anything except occasionally solving a problem like this. It's worth a try, if your font can stand the conversion of PS outlines to TT outlines.

ralf h.'s picture

That's not really an option because it's a font with loads of alternates, ligatures, features, etc.

A TrueType-flavoured OpenType font (ttf) would also support all of these things.

daverowland's picture

Converted to ttf and sent to MyFonts to test. It'll be a bit strange if it was the postscript format causing problems on a Mac!

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

I might be right after all ;-)

Nick Shinn's picture

To add to Jason’s comment: what I now do is make all Panose values (except the first) zero.

k.l.'s picture

It'll be a bit strange if it was the postscript format causing problems on a Mac!

Indeed. :)

J. Tillman's picture

Make sure that the customer's file (of your font) is not corrupted. Have them uninstall the font and then reinstall a new, just-downloaded, version. Don't assume that just because the original file got validated that it's okay.

daverowland's picture

I had already sent an updated version of the postscript version and had the same issue. However, I've just heard back from MyFonts and the truetype version works ok. Interestingly, I asked them to test some of my other fonts (all postscript opentype) and there were no issues with them, so I'm still at a loss as to what was actually causing the issue (Panose values in both otf and ttf files were 2 0 0 0 0 etc.)
Anyway, at least I have a fix for the small amount of people using display fonts in Word (2011) on Mac (OSX 10.7.x), although I'm still inclined to believe it's a problem with certain versions of Word rather than my font!!

daverowland's picture

Thanks everyone for the suggestions!

ralf h.'s picture

It'll be a bit strange if it was the postscript format causing problems on a Mac!

Why do you think that?
Both PCs and Macs have always been shipped with TrueType-flavoured fonts in the last 20 years and especially Office app are mainly targeted to the use of TrueType-flavoured fonts. I have seen much more bugs and problems in operating systems and Office apps related to PostScript-flavoured fonts. Which is not surprising, since TrueType/OpenType TT is just the common format here.
It's only in design apps (like those from Adobe) where PostScript-flavored fonts are much more common and therefore better tested.

daverowland's picture

orthopaedic shoes

daverowland's picture

Sorry - Alan Partridge joke... I stand corrected

oldnick's picture

It'll be a bit strange if it was the postscript format causing problems on a Mac!

Not any more. Expanding what Ralf said, the original Macs made a big splash because of their native Postscript support; Windows required ATM for PS Type 1 fonts until Windows 2000/NT4. However, Apple’s implementation was less than elegant, with its screen-fonts-and-printer-fonts approach.

Apple and Microsoft developed TrueType more or less together in order to bust the Adobe monopoly. Adobe responded by actively dissing the TrueType format, which—in my experience—a lot of Mac users thought was a Windoze-only product.

Now, Apple appears to content to sever entirely its relationship with the company that helped build Apple. Not only is Flash not supported on Mac portable devices, but also I have read that the latest release of OS X doesn't support PS Type 1 fonts any more. I suppose that, if you’re going to burn bridges, you should do a thorough job…

HVB's picture

@DaveRowland
orthopaedic shoes ... I stand corrected

Ouch!

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