IE 9 cannot render Type 1 font


  • It seems IE9 cannot render any page where Adobe Type 1 fonts Helvetica, Times, Courier (and possibly Symbol) have been used to format the text. It does not matter whether the font is specified as part of a font-family definition (type 1 font appearing first in the list) or as a single font. This kind of a page will not be rendered at all, or will be only partially rendered.

    If any other Type 1 font is used, the page gets rendered, but the text is displayed with the default font (instead of the font specified).

    This only applies to IE9, any previous IE version behaves correctly, as do other browsers, Safari, etc.

    Saturday, June 04, 2011 8:33 AM

All replies

  • And the link to an example web site that uses these font families, but fails in MSIE is?

    Windows version?

    " the page gets rendered, but the text is displayed with the default font (instead of the font specified)."

    expected if the font-family specified is not installed on the client machine...

    don't forget <font> is depreciated

    Monday, June 06, 2011 4:36 AM
  • This is a developer site, so I figured you might be able to test this yourself. Any Windows OS where IE 9 runs (Vista 32/64, Win 7 32/64). See below for a code example, if required.  

    <style type="text/css">
    .style1 {
     font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
    .style2 {
     font-family: "Times New Roman", Times, serif;
    .style3 {
     font-family: "Courier New", Courier, monospace;


    <p class="style1">This is a test (Arial/Helvetica).</p>
    <p class="style2">This is a test (Courier New/Courier).</p>
    <p class="style3">This is a test (Times/Times New Roman).</p>



    The code above causes no problems. But reverse the font definitions as follows:

    <style type="text/css">
    .style1 {
     font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;
    .style2 {
     font-family: Times, "Times New Roman", serif;
    .style3 {
     font-family: Courier, "Courier New", monospace;

    and then have Helvetica, Times or Courier (Adobe Type 1 fonts) installed on your system, and you get garbage. Not having them installed (as obviously was the case with the IE9 developer team and all beta testers), no problem, as Arial, Times New Roman and Courier New will be used, instead.

    Specifying an installed Type 1 other than Helvetica, Times or Courier: the page gets rendered but with the default font, not with the font specified.

    Having any other browser than IE9, no problems whatsoever, and both the page and all installed fonts get rendered.

    If you insist on having "real-life" examples, go visit Wall Street Journal, GeoTrust,, etc., etc., etc.

    Monday, June 06, 2011 5:15 AM
  • I just stumbled upon this really amazing bug when I tried to figure out why IE9 just couldn't render certain websites.  This bug makes IE9 virtually unusable on any system that has the old standard set of AT1 fonts installed, and absolutely needs to be fixed.

    But since we haven't had a Microsoft response here in four months I guess they simply don't care?  There doesn't even seem to be a public feedback mechanism for IE bugs.  Good for Google and Mozilla, I suppose...

    Some more samples that demonstrate the bug (if you have Helvetica AT1 installed): (can actually crash the browser!) (super-simple single-file XHTML page)

    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 7:21 AM
  • It is related to font smoothing (ClearType). I noticed that if I use any other font smoothing setting in Safari (5.1) than the default "Windows Standard", the same happens with Safari: none of a page typeset in Type 1, at least with Helvetica, Times, Symbol or Courier (and when the equivalent Type 1 font is also installed) -- gets rendered. I did not test what happens in Safari when using any other installed Type 1 font (IE9 shows the text but in different font).

    Safari and other browsers at least have a setting that turns off the smoothing that causes the error even if the pages look awful (at least in Safari), and this setting is the default.

    In IE9 it seems you cannot disable the offending setting.

    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 10:13 AM
  • Interesting.  As far as IE9 is concerned, that sounds like a defect of the new DirectWrite API, or IE9's use of that API.  But it's curious that Firefox doesn't have this problem, even though recent versions also use DirectWrite, and yet Safari's own font smoothing does.

    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 11:18 AM
  • Wednesday, October 05, 2011 2:23 PM
  • Sorry, I'm not seeing this issue among the three that result from your search.  Those are all closed IE8 issues.
    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 3:52 PM
  • Hi chris,

    correct.... same with MSFT.. they won't see it unless it is has been posted at connect. Would you like me to raise an issue ticket for you if you cannot?


    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 8:27 PM
  • Sorry, I'm not seeing this issue among the three that result from your search.  Those are all closed IE8 issues.

    "Three"?   I got 5.   In particular did you not see this:


    Closed as postponed

    At this time we do not plan to fix this issue.




    Robert Aldwinckle

    Thursday, October 06, 2011 4:13 PM
  • thanks Robert.... I did not find that one!


    Thursday, October 06, 2011 8:03 PM
  • Sorry, I'm not seeing this issue among the three that result from your search.  Those are all closed IE8 issues.

    "Three"?   I got 5.   In particular did you not see this:


    Closed as postponed

    At this time we do not plan to fix this issue.




    Robert Aldwinckle

    No, that did not appear on my list, and when I try to click your link I get a "page not found" suggesting that I lack the required permission.  Looks like the relevant Connect group is not open to the public.

    Anyway, thanks for the follow-up.  I'm going to dig through my font collections and try to replace my old Type 1 fonts with TrueType or OTF equivalents...

    Friday, October 07, 2011 2:22 PM
  • Kudos to Arch44. This is a company wide problem for us on Windows 7. As a publisher and designer, we use Helvetica in all forms. Since installing IE9, we were unable to install Java b/c we simply could not see the fonts on the Java site. Also, we are unable to view text on any sites where Helvetica is first font listed in the CSS style. Very frustrating. I tried reinstalling Helvetica and it works for a while (enough to update my Java) until the "bug" finds its way back. I have no problems in Chrome or Firefox. Although today I tried downloading the new download tool and I cannot see the text on that screen. Arg...
    Wednesday, January 25, 2012 2:59 PM
  • Hi,

    we simply could not see the fonts on the Java site.... (a link would help)

    Internet Options>Accessibility button...."ignore font styles specified on web pages"


    the web site does not render (for whatever reason) in IE standards mode and there is no fallback font family for the WOTIF, toggling the above setting allows the browser to use its default font settings (Fonts button on Internet Options).




    Wednesday, January 25, 2012 10:05 PM
  • Yes, indeedy. I've utilized the "font kill switch" under the Accessibility option but then fonts render "unstable" and do not view as intended. I can tolerate the solution in so much that it's like the fly buzzing around my head. main page was the page that would not render - white blank page.

    There is also another solution that we are exploring. Purchasing a new set of the Helvetica font family, specifically the OpenType format. We've been using the same Helvetica family of fonts (PS) for over 10 years. This may also solve the problem.

    Thx    -RC


    UPDATE: Repaired Helvetica solved problem today.  Followed: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\FontSubstitutes - removed any instances of the Helv or Helvetica font substitutes. Installed OTF version of the Helvetica Font Family. All is well now. 

    • Edited by RadioChique Thursday, January 26, 2012 7:13 PM
    Thursday, January 26, 2012 3:11 PM
  • Yes, installing OTF versions seems to be the only solution. Safari 5 has not had this problem for a long time now, they apparently bothered to fix it.

    I got fed up with the problem and fixed it by taking Helvetica (regular, bold, oblique and bold oblique) from my Mac OS and converting it to Helvetica OTF on Windows. The same of course needs to be done for Times and Courier if you need to have AT1 versions of these fonts installed. Certainly not willing to pay separately for these basic fonts just because of Microsoft (I do have FontFolio 8).

    - Arch44

    Thursday, January 26, 2012 8:05 PM
  • this is still a HUGE problem...   anyone doing desktop publishing and using AT1 fonts (like me) has been pulling their hair out over this one (like me) for sometime now... and wasted hours of troubleshooting.
    Thursday, April 12, 2012 4:57 AM
  • I have now tested several different methods, including change of registry settings in FontSubstitutes section, as advised above, but have not been able to reach a satisfactory solution.

    The problem for graphic designer is that Helvetica (AT1) and other basic Type 1 versions must be installed anyway. You cannot replace them with OpenType fonts (Adobe's Helvetica LT Std, etc.), as they have different metrics from the Type 1 version fonts (with new jobs you can naturally choose the OpenType versions, but you need the Type1 versions when opening and editing old jobs that use Type 1 fonts, to avoid reflowing of the text).

    So, you need to have Type 1 versions of Helvetica, Times and Courier installed, at least occasionally. If you install OpenType versions of these fonts with exactly same names (as you need to, to have the browser find the fonts it can render), a name conflict follows, which is not a problem for Internet Explorer 9, but it is for your page layout program. E.g. Adobe InDesigner (tested with CS 4, CS5 and CS 5.5) does not list certain styles belonging to Times and Helvetica families at all, if you have even just plain styles of these fonts installed as both OpenType and Type 1 versions (it correctly displays TT and T1 appended to conflicting family names, but fails to list e.g. Helvetica Medium and Times Roman under the Type 1 families).

    There are just three workarounds that I know (the second and third are permanent solutions, but there is a price):

    1) Uninstall conflicting OpenType fonts when you need Type 1 versions of Helvetica, Times or Courier in your job and use Safari or Firefox while having OpenType versions uninstalled to be able to show sites that use these fonts.


    If you do not have OTF versions of these fonts, uninstall Type1 versions of Helvetica, Times and Courier and install or activate them only when you need them (and let the system substitute requests for these fonts with Arial, Times New Roman and Courier New); then use Safari or Firefox while having the Type 1 versions of these fonts installed to be able to show sites that use these fonts.

    2) Dump Microsoft Internet Explorer altogether and make any other browser as your default browser. (The easiest solution.)

    3) Use tools like CrossFont to change the menu name and family name of the whole Helvetica, Times and Courier families to something else, like "Helvetica AT1", etc. and then use font remapping in your page layout program to replace all references to "Helvetica" to "Helvetica AT1", etc. This is not necessarily a good solution as you might lose some information if you do not have the original afm metrics file (generating afm from pfb does not necessarily produce all information that is included in the original pfm file). However, Adobe has all afm files as free download on their ftp site.

    You might be able to resolve the problem also with a font manager. The problem is that you practically need to have fonts with the names Helvetica, Timers and Courier permanently installed or activated all the time as you need them for browsing. I do not know if font managers, e.g. SuitCase Fusion 3, can actually exclude individual installed or activated fonts from the application specific font lists (so that you could specify that do not list OpenType versions of Helvetica, Times and Courier in InDesign, Photoshop, etc.).

    - Arch44

    Thursday, April 12, 2012 1:42 PM
  • Update: IE 10 does not fix the problem (at least on Windows 8 Pro), so it seems clear now that MS does not care.

    IE 9 and 10 seem to be the only browsers which fail to render a page, often completely, resulting in blank or nearly blank page, even program crash, if Helvetica, Times, Courier or Symbol has been specified as primary font on the web site, and the specified font is installed on the system as Adobe Type 1 version.

    It also seems that there is no workaround, except using the accessibility feature of IE and turning off site specified font usage altogether (a global setting that would affect all sites). Compatibility mode does not help, nor does spefication of alternative fonts in the actual code.

    As graphic designer, I cannot afford uninstalling old Type 1 versions of these fonts (even if I concurrently use OT1 versions of these fonts), as they are frequently used in old jobs and cannot be replaced with new versions because the text would reflow and use different metrics. The only permanent solution for me has been changing the menu names of AT1 fonts (to Helvetica AT1, etc.) and using font mapping feature of InDesign, as described above.

    Btw. IE 9 and 10 do render web fonts nicely (compared to Firefox and especially Chrome) so something good on IE font front, too.

    • Edited by Arch44 Wednesday, October 31, 2012 8:20 PM
    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 8:18 PM
  • Curiously, this problem does not occur on all monitors.

    Using IE9 on Windows 7, I was able to successfully view a web page that employed an AT1 font (Courier) within a font style on a Samsung SyncMaster 204B. However, using an ASUS PB238Q on the same computer, that same web page appeared blank on IE9.

    Friday, April 19, 2013 11:40 AM
  • Hi,

    IE uses DirectX, which in turn users the device drivers that are installed on that machine... use DXDiag to troubleshoot display driver issues.


    Saturday, April 20, 2013 1:27 AM
  • Its the helvetica font thats causing this, not all type 1 fonts. remove helvetica to test.

    Tuesday, May 07, 2013 6:24 PM
  • >Its the helvetica font thats causing this, not all type 1 fonts. remove helvetica to test.

    As stated in the original message, Helvetica, Times, Courier and Symbol (when installed, and called from a web page) all cause this behavior (not able to render at all, often resulting in blank or otherwise seriously damaged page). E.g., I have a multiline text field on my bank's payment form with Courier specified as its font, and in IE the field is not rendered properly (standard form field), and nothing can be written in it, so it is practically impossible to use IE for online payments when using Danske Bank (if you have AT1 Courier installed).

    Also, the point is not in removing the fonts, it is clear that the problem can be resolved by removing the fonts, but the reason for the problem is not in a Type 1 font, but in IE Explorer (all other browsers render Type 1 fonts without problems).

    As for other Type 1 fonts than those mentioned above, if you have one installed and use it on a web page, the page gets rendered in IE but not using the called font but a replacement font. All other browsers use correctly the called font (when installed on a local computer).

    As far as I know the workarounds I mentioned in message above are still the only ones that "resolve" this problem. For me, the final solution was dumping IE, after having seen that this was not fixed even in IE10.

    - Arch44

    Wednesday, May 08, 2013 8:20 AM
  • Update: Just tested the situation with current versions of IE, Safari and Firefox (on Windows 7 64-bit).

    Helvetica, Times, Courier or Symbol installed, and any of these called on a web page:

    - IE: does not render the text set in these fonts at all, and the rest of the page might be left empty, too.

    - Safari: does not render the text set in these fonts at all, and the rest of the page might be left empty, too; can be fixed by using "Standard Windows" smoothing from the Settings.

    - Firefox: reverts to other fonts, e.g. Arial replaces Helvetica, but no problems in rendering the page contents.

    Having any other Type 1 font, and using it on a web page:

    - IE: renders the text in default font

    - Safari: does not render the text at all, but when "Standard Windows" smoothing is used, the text is rendered with correct font

    - Firefox: renders the text in default font.

    So, Safari and Firefox both have ways to deal with this problem, IE is the only one that requires removal of font (or renaming its internal font name), or overriding all site-defined fonts with default fonts. The Firefox solution is the best, even if it uses either a backup font defined in the style definition (e.g., Helvetica, Arial, non-serif), or the default font, if backup is not defined. That way you always get the page rendered, even if not with the defined AT1 font.

    There is no point in requiring full support for legacy font technology so that it gets correctly rendered, but the browser should be able to offer a method that guarantees some kind of text rendering in all circumstances. It is bad design to specify fonts like Helvetica, Times or Courier as primary fonts (especially as you can today use web fonts to guarantee desired design), but the fact is that there are still lots of sites doing so and if your browser gets in problems (resulting in partially or badly rendered page making it unusable) e.g. on a bank's online payment form just because the user happens to have Helvetica Type 1 installed, it is a serious problem.

    - Arch44
    • Edited by Arch44 Wednesday, May 08, 2013 9:26 AM
    • Proposed as answer by IECustomizerMVP Thursday, May 09, 2013 8:36 AM
    Wednesday, May 08, 2013 9:25 AM