This Presentation Cannot Be Edited Because It Contains a Read-Only Embedded Font

Created: Monday, September 6, 2004, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 9:37 am

Let us assume you received or created a presentation in a version earlier than PowerPoint 2003 for Windows (97, 2000, 2002). You probably have fonts embedded within the presentation.

Now you open it in PowerPoint 2003, and you find you cannot edit the presentation. PowerPoint tells you that “This presentation cannot be edited because it contains a read-only embedded font.”

Why does this happen? Is there a solution?

Let’s start at the very beginning by discussing font licensing. Fonts are created by various companies, commonly known as font foundries. Some of these companies do not mind if their fonts are embedded in presentations. Others do not like that idea too much. To identify which fonts allow embedding or otherwise, most fonts have some code attached to them which allows an application to know whether the font can be embedded or not. If you want to know if a particular font allows embedding, you can download Microsoft’s free Font Properties Extension.

PowerPoint on Windows has always enabled font embedding and versions before 2003 allowed you to open and view presentations even if you did not have the actual restricted and embedded fonts installed on a local machine. You could then replace the fonts and edit the presentation as required, and finally, save the presentation to a new file.

In PowerPoint 2003, Microsoft implemented an algorithm that does not allow you to edit any presentation that contains a restricted, embedded font that is not installed on your system. You cannot even replace the fonts and save a presentation to a new file.

Not surprisingly, this creates so many issues for users of PowerPoint everywhere.

Here are some solutions:

  1. Remove Font Embedding in an Older Version. Open the presentation again in PowerPoint 97, 2000 or 2002 and remove the “font embedding” option. Also, change the font to something more generic using the Format | Replace Font option. Resave to a new presentation. If you do not have access to an older version of PowerPoint, request a friend or colleague to do it for you.
  2. Install an Additional, Older Version of PowerPoint. If you have an older version of PowerPoint on CD-ROM, you can install more than one version of PowerPoint on the same system. The only caveat apart from using extra hard disk space is that you will have to uninstall Office/PowerPoint 2003 or another newer version, and then install the older version. Then reinstall PowerPoint 2003 or another newer version. This way you have access to more than one version of PowerPoint on a single system.
  3. Install the Missing Font. If you own a license for the missing font, or if you bought one, install it on your PowerPoint equipped system.

Hopefully, one of these solutions will help you solve this problem, and PowerPoint will no longer complain, “This presentation cannot be edited because it contains a read-only embedded font.”

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