PostScript error: invalidfont

A PostScript error Invalidfont can show up for a number of reasons but such errors are obviously always font related.

  • Invalidfont errors can occur when a file contains an invalid font name or dictionary or a corrupted or improperly formed font dictionary.
  • When a file containing recent types of fonts (like OpenType fonts) is sent to older RIPs, this can also lead to ‘invalidfont’ errors.


If you are printing from Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, install the 10.6.7 update. It resolves ‘invalidfont’ errors when printing to PostScript printers.

To avoid problems with corrupted fonts, replace or reinstall the font on the RIP and/or computer. You could also try to print with the option ‘Download As SoftFont’ enabled in the printer driver.

Xerox recommends the following if you run into this problem with one of their devices:

  • Use the Print As Image feature in  Adobe Acrobat or Reader
  • Reinstall the PostScript Print Driver or Install the PCL Print Driver

Older versions of Harlequin’s ScriptWorks software as well as a few Adobe PostScript-based RIPs that were not properly configured by Adobe’s OEMs cannot handle PDF files that contain Type1-based OpenType fonts (Type 1 fonts with CID double-byte encoding). Such encodings will cause an ‘invalidfont’ error on the RIP. Besides not using such fonts, there are two possible solutions for this problem:

  1. Upgrade the RIP.
  2. Try creating the print file or PDF file in another fashion. For Indesign for example, you should use Acrobat Distiller instead of exporting to PDF from within InDesign itself.

For a PostScript error ‘invalidfont offending command findfont’: check the page on the findfont operator.

For a PostScript error ‘invalidfont offending command awidthshow’: check the page on the awidthshow operator.

11 thoughts on “PostScript error: invalidfont

  1. PostScript fonts are small PostScript programs and a rich source of errors. Unfortunately, all problems in the fonts are lumped together by the interpreter as an /invalidfont error. Usually, one has to decrypt the font to determine the exact cause of the error.

    Please contact Coscript Consulting for professional resolution of PostScript and PDF issies: [email protected] or +1 (610) 529 3475.

  2. I get the error when attempting to save (print) webpages as PDF using Acrobat Pro 9. Got around the problem by
    – First printing the webpage into a Microsoft XPS file, then
    – Print the XPS file into a PDF. (I send these webpage images to a variety of folks and XPS is not always recognized… but PDF is).

    Hope this helps somebody.

  3. I have now a problem with a ps file on a Xerox mono printer.
    It shows fine with HP Laser jet, but with Xerox mono it gives :

    %%[Error: invalidfont; OffendingCommand:definefont.

    I mention that the ps file contains cff fonts. Should I blame the printer for not supporting cff fonts, or am I missing something?

  4. Had this error with Illustrator and “Save a Copy” > Adobe PDF. And then printing the document with Mac’s “Preview” application

    Two ways to fix it:
    A) When saving the PDF, untick “Optimize for Fast Web View”
    B) Print the (buggy) PDF document with Adobe Acrobat

  5. I found this error trying to print PDF’s on a Mac using Preview, the fix was use Adobe Reader instead

    1. Daguy,
      thank you very much – that fixex it for me. Would you recommend making Adobe the default instead of Preview?

  6. If you change your PostScript Output configuration from the default “speed” to “portability” the problem will go away.

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