I have maps of highway data. They include highway shields to identify highways. When I export them to PDF they look fine on my computer, but when viewed on computers outside of work, the highway shields turn into letters. See below

Image of highway shields viewed on my work computer This is how the highway shields look on my work computer.

image of highway shields viewed on another computer This is the shields viewed on another computer. This image is not the same location geographically, but I think you get the picture.

The shields themselves are Marker Text Backgrounds of Character Marker Symbol type. The blue and yellow symbols, for example, are made of 3 pentagons laid on top of one another.

My solution for this is to check "Convert Marker Symbols to polygons" in the export to PDF commands. This makes the shields viewable on other computers, but also causes them to come out a little squiggly. It's not bad enough to make the solution unviable, so I won't share that image or ask about how to fix it. So I'm not actually really looking for help fixing my maps, since I have an acceptable solution.

Am I right in saying that Adobe is actually trying to populate the maps with other files stored locally?

I would have thought everything was in the map file itself.

If I'm wrong, what is actually causing this error?

1 Answer 1


Make sure you have the option "Embed All Document Fonts" checked.

enter image description here

  • The other computers don't have the Esri fonts, so Adobe substitutes fonts, thus a letter to the highway symbol, and a R for the north arrow, etc.. When the fonts embedded they see what you see, and the client doesn't ask what you have been smoking, as you tell him it looks great on your PC. Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 14:44
  • wonderful, thank you. That worked. I didn't imagine that the shields could have been part of the font.
    – ewarren1
    Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 17:59

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