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Is it possible to identify the font used in a specific document/picture?

Answers to this question should identify:

  • Possible methods to do this (perhaps one answer per method) and adequately describe how to use it (as opposed to merely stating it);
  • Ways of finding the identified fonts, if possible (free or not); and
  • Any prerequisites associated with the method used, if required (for example, "In order to use method X, your document has to be in format Y").

This question is meant as an FAQ, based on an original inquiry launched on meta. Its aim is to facilitate the community with the general procedures involved in font identification. Similar cases are solved on a per-usage basis on Graphic Design's {font-identification} tag.

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6 Answers 6

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For PDFs, I know of two ways you can find out the fonts of a file.

If you have Adobe Acrobat/Reader, you can find out the fonts used in the file by looking at the Fonts tab in the document's properties (CTRL+D or File->Properties->Fonts). There you will see a list of all the fonts used in the document. It can take several seconds to compile the entire list if a document uses many fonts. If you're using Evince as your PDF-viewer you can find the same function under the properties menu there as well.

You can use the tool pdffonts. This is included as part of xpdf, which is available in pre-compiled binaries for both Linux and Windows. The program's website says that people have reported being able to compile it on OS X and other systems.

To find out which fonts are used on a specific page, e.g. page 10, pdffonts offers the following command

pdffonts.exe -f 10 -l 10 "c:\file\path\myfile.pdf"

which can be put in loop to show the fonts page by page (here for Windows until page 100):

for /l %i in (1,1,100) do (echo.PAGE %i & "pdffonts.exe" -f %i -l %i "c:\file\path\myfile.pdf")
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    brew install xpdf (or poppler?) on OS X to get pdffonts. Mar 6, 2012 at 20:18
  • For OSX also available via MacPorts and fink.
    – Daniel
    Oct 25, 2013 at 8:04
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    poppler on Linux, too. At least, my distro's pdffonts is from poppler. xpdf is not even officially available any more (though build files are available so it is easy enough to install but won't provide pdffonts).
    – cfr
    Jan 4, 2014 at 23:43
  • Adobe just gives you a list of all fonts. With PDF-XChange Viewer I am able to select a portion of the text and get information about the selected text only. And it's free too.
    – G. Bay
    May 18, 2017 at 1:41
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    pdffonts on Linux shows font name like PHURCW+LMRoman10-Bold-Identity-H or YBMJUZ+CMSY7 (apparently "exactly as given in the PDF file"). How do I translate these names to their operating system equivalents? Oct 22, 2020 at 11:43
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There is a dedicated »Type ID« sub-forum on typophile.com. About one to two dozen type id questions are asked and answered there every day. Whenever WhatTheFont doesn't help, this is probably the best place to go.

As a third solution, midway between consulting an expert and consulting an automat, Identifont offers a semi-automated method which can be fun to use, and pretty instructive too, as you practice how to look at a typeface.

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  • Fun, though it did not work in my case (my document did not contain many of the more rare letters).
    – ziggystar
    Jul 22, 2014 at 8:28
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I want to state first that I'm affiliated with the solution I present as I'm the chief software engineer behind it, but if you check the solution yourself, I think you 'll be convinced I have my reasons to be proud about it.

We have created "Find my Font" a software application that runs on a Windows or Mac PC and identifies the fonts of a given bitmap image. It searches both our online font database (70.000+ fonts) and the fonts on your computer and compares them against the letters you select on your digital image. You are provided with a list of matching (and similar) fonts along with the matching accuracy for each one. You may also type text and see how well the matching went (font preview). The main features of the software are:

  1. Great matching accuracy even on small and low quality images of just 10 or 20 pixels high

  2. Super fast: Online speed: About 10 secs for 70.000+ fonts. Local Speed on average PC: About 5 millions fonts / min

  3. The online database provides previews and buy or download links for both commercial fonts (Myfonts, Fontshop, ...) & free fonts (Dafont, Google Web Fonts)

  4. You can browse your local fonts and find similar ones

  5. You can capture & use any color image as input without special pre-processing: The application provides all required tools (if required) for restoring perspective, size, contrast and isolate any connected or script letters.

  6. Local fonts supported: You can use any True Type (TTF) / Open Type (OTF) or older Type-1 Postsrcipt fonts you may have on your computer.

You can find more information or download a 30 days trial at: http://www.findmyfont.com/index.php/find-my-font/features

Regards

Fivos Vilanakis

Chief Technical Officer Softonium Developments

PS: "Find my Font" is far more accurate than WhatTheFont or WhatFontIs services as it works with smaller images and automatically recognizes artificially bold or slanted fonts.

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I love Identifont. It asks you questions about the characteristics of the font and gives you the best match from its constantly growing database.

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  • Note that this doesn't allow you to upload image, and therefore it doesn't work if you only have image of a single character.
    – user202729
    Apr 11 at 5:29
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FontSquirrel now offers something it's calling the Font Matcherator which analyses and matches the font in an image.

In my fairly cursory tests, it does a pretty decent job. At least it's another tool to add to the list of possibilities.

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Originally, I posted this answer below another question, but was asked to add it here also.

One easy way to inspect a pdf and the used fonts is opening it in Inkscape, then mark the text in question with the text tool. Even if you don't have the font, Inkscape tells you, which font it would like to have, giving you at least the name.

Beside this, I recommend using Inkscape anyway, as it is very helpful for creating small diagrams (if you don't want to use tikz).

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