Fonts are often the most common issue when sharing and using PowerPoint files. If you’ve ever opened a PowerPoint file and noticed the text seems odd – say the font isn’t what it was before, or all the headings are italicised and broken up oddly in textboxes – chances are you don’t have the correct font installed on your computer.

This can be difficult to tell at first glance since PowerPoint will replace missing fonts with another that looks quite similar. To find out for sure, you need to open the Replace Fonts window.

  • Go to your Home tab on your toolbar
  • Click on the little down arrow next to Replace in the Editing section.
  • Select Replace Fonts… from the drop-down menu to open a new pop-up window showing you all the fonts current used in your document.
  • Opening the drop-down menu under Replace will show you the list of fonts used. If any of them have a question mark with the font name, then you are missing that font.

Another way to know for sure is embedding the font into the presentation. If the embedding process results in an error, you’ll know that you’re missing the font. To embed a font:

  • Go to the File tab on the top of your toolbar.
  • At the very bottom left in the orange bar, click Options, which brings up a pop-up box with all your PowerPoint Options.
  • Go to your Save settings in the left menu, which shows you all settings for saving your document. You’ll find the font section near the bottom of this window.
  • The beginning of this section is labelled ‘Preserve fidelity when sharing this presentation’. The default option will have the name of your document beside it, meaning this setting will specifically only affect your current document. Below it is a checkbox labelled ‘Embed fonts in the file’. On default settings, this will be unchecked. Click on this checkbox to embed all the fonts in file.
  • The setting below this asks if you want to ‘embed only the characters used’, or ‘embed all characters’. The brackets next to it explains the benefits of each. ‘Embedding only the characters used in the presentation’ is best for reducing file size, but it comes with a limitation. ‘Characters used’ refers to the letters of the font used in your presentation rather than all of them. If anyone tried to edit or add text, the font will be incomplete. Use this option only if the difference in file size critical – choosing Embed all characters is the safer choice if the file will be edited or altered later.
  • Click OK to finalise the setting.
  • The font isn’t embedded yet, since you only changed the setting in the Save category. You need to save the file to embed the fonts, by either going to File > Save or using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + S. As the file saves, you’ll see a little pop-up window with a loading bar that shows your fonts embedding. If your font was embeddable, then it will finish saving, otherwise an error message will say you cannot embed a font, which means you’re either missing that font on your computer, the font’s un-embeddable.

Safe Fonts and Font Installation

When it comes to choosing fonts for PowerPoint, try sticking to ‘safe’ fonts – standard fonts that come with your computer, such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Romans. These fonts never error since they’re default installed on every computer.

Embedding fonts in PowerPoint usually works around this, but some fonts are un-embeddable. This can occur for various reasons, but essentially means PowerPoint doesn’t have permission to embed the font, often due to some technical issue perhaps in how the font was created. This occurs more frequently with unofficial or free fonts downloaded online.

If you were embedding your font and the error was it was missing from your computer, there’s a simple solution. You just need to download and install that same font file. If you received this file from another user, ask them for the original font file, or find and download the font online. Ensure you read the font name carefully and find the exact same font since PowerPoint won’t be able to find and update the font for you.

To install a font, you need either a TTF (True Type Font) or an OTF (Open Type Font) file. Double-click on the file to install it and it will open a preview of the font, then click Install. After the installation has finished, you need to close PowerPoint – not just the file you’re working on but every open file –since PowerPoint’s fonts won’t refresh until the program has been restarted. Now when you open PowerPoint again, your font look and work correctly.

If you cannot source the original font, or the font is unembeddable, then your only option might be to change the font altogether. Fortunately, there is a quick way to do so in PowerPoint using Replace Fonts in Home, clicking Replace, then Replace Fonts. Now select the font you want to replace under the Replace menu. Then select the new font you want to convert to under the With menu. Then click Replace. PowerPoint will swap out these fonts, but this may take a while depending on the size of your file.

Replace Fonts will replace pretty much every instance of that font. However, it may sometimes miss a few things like labels in graphs, so you might have to comb through of all your slides to double check. If you have the Embed Fonts setting checked, then you’ll know for sure when you try to save again. If no error comes up, then you’ve replaced the font successfully. If it’s still there, you’ll have to go through your document again and try to find where there may still be traces of the old font remaining.

A critical component that really helps ensure consistency and detail with your designs and fonts is simply using our free Grid and Guide templates. Get designing with ease and precision. If you’re experiencing other problems while working in PowerPoint, check out our troubleshooting blog here.