Petition to bring more font support to the iWork suite on iPad

You have a big presentation to give for your job and you have very carefully created the perfect Keynote with your Mac. Every little detail was meticulously chosen, including the font. The big day is here and you excitedly transfer the project to your iPad as this will be your means of delivering your presentation. But to your dismay, when you open your document in Keynote for iPad, you get a popup informing you that the font you chose is missing and may look different! But your font selection was an important detail to you, so instead of delivering your Keynote presentation with your iPad, you bitterly drag your 17 inch MacBook Pro along and give a subpar delivery of your speech because of the disappointment you experienced earlier that morning.

It's situations like this that has brought Jeffery Zeldman to write a petition to Apple asking that they bring more font support to the iPad, specifically the iWork suite of applications.

I sometimes spend weeks on a Keynote presentation, and so do my colleagues. We’d love to be able to work on them whether we have a Mac or an iPad at hand—that, after all, is the promise of the devices we buy from you; frankly, it is the promise of all computers. But when the iPad loses my fonts, it loses me. A Keynote presentation with substitute fonts is of no use to me, except perhaps as a rehearsal tool—and I can just as easily rehearse with a PDF.

Do you share Jeffery's frustration? Have you been disappointed with the lack of font support in Pages, Keynote, or Numbers? Or perhaps this is the first you've heard about this and find it unacceptable. If so, let us know and head on over Jeffery's website to sign his petition.


Leanna Lofte

App and Photography Editor at iMore. Mother, wife, and math instructor. Follow her on Twitter @llofte and send her apps to consider for review at

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There are 16 comments. Add yours.

shollomon says:

Steve Jobs has crafted the perfect set of devices and some of you have the temerity, the unmitigated gall to suggest he left out a feature. Surely we don't need this, it is mere puffery that would sully a perfect device. It is no more needed than lock screen gadgets, alternative email programs, Flash, access to the file system or other things the Chosen One has forbidden us for our own good.

SheiknetChris says:

I will say this, and I am a typographer at heart:
Not EVERYONE is a self-contained presentation island. Unlike Jeffery's scenario, we at my company must make sure our slides are portable, and that means PowerPoint and Windows. We no longer use the same fonts in business products (Office, iWork) the way we do in our InDesign documents. If it is required we use pre-rendered graphics or PDFs.
While I understand his predicament, crazy font support might open a big can of worms on the iOS. Heck we aren't even able to print yet!

Bill says:

I agree it would be nice, but not sure it's going to happen. More fonts on the device equals more RAM consumed. The iPad doesn't have much of that to go around, if you hadn't noticed.
Personally I find business presentations too critical to experiment with , therefore we still only use PowerPoint and a laptop with projector. One day I may try the iPad, but it will be a non-critical presentation and I'll probably just generate a PDF from PowerPoint and play it back on GoodReader or something.

Eric says:

Why not have an option to allow a certain number of fonts on one's computer to be placed on the iPad. Maybe limit it to 20 fonts at a time? I'm sure font management software could be developed that could move fonts on and off the iPad with little trouble.
Extensis Carry On Luggage, or something. ;-)

fastlane says:

Jobs should say "Okay, here's more fonts... but you're now limited to only two per presentation... so the rest of us don't get nauseous." :shock:

sting7k says:

Should not be using fancy fonts for a powerpoint/keynote presentation anyway. Keep it simple and easy to read.

BrianTufo says:

I think they should have/support the same fonts but at the same time if this is such a big presentation maybe it should have been transfered to the iPad with enough time to check that everything is fine and dandy on the iPad as it was on the Mac. Just a simple idea for those of us who like to ensure we are ready for presentations ;-)

SheiknetChris says:

Bill: I wouldn't say opening PowerPoint decks in Keynote is a mad experiment, it opens most conservative decks very well, respecting transitions etc.
sting7: Amen.

Dennis says:

I think people are expecting a little bit too much from these cut-down, $10 iPad apps. In any case, the best way for these petitioners to motivate Apple to do expand font support is to develop a competing app that does what they want it to, not to petition Apple.

tuscanidream says:

Apple should allow you to sync fonts. That would be cool. Or- you could just use normal fonts and make a png for logo/brand specific areas. It's a presentation and normal paragraph specific text shouldn't matter if it's a live presentation. It's not like it's a flyer or billboard. Right?

Jorge says:

Maybe it would be simpler to add to the whole iWork suite an 'iPad Safe' option, so you can work on your desktop documents that will transfer 100% accurate when viewed / presented on the iPad...

Dennis says:

According to the reviews for Pages for iPad, it strips out all of the footnotes (i.e., doesn't leave them intact even if they can't be viewed). iWork for OSX costs $80. The three iPad apps cost $30 total. Apple really needs to work on all of these apps for broad compatibility, not only with fonts but with other features.

JNM says:

Fonts? Seriously?! Do you not understand? Have you not felt the magic? This is an awe inspiring technological marvel and you are implying that it is somehow less than magical in it support for...fonts? You're surely kidding.

August Berkshire says:

It would be nice, if you have a font in your original document that is not on the iPad, that the iPad would ask you if you wish to import that font from your computer. That way you would only accumulate the fonts you need on your iPad.

Meda Hungerford says:

A cardinal principle of Total Quality escapes lots of managers: you can not continuously improve interdependent systems and operations until you progressively perfect interdependent, interpersonal relationships.
Informed decision-making comes from a long tradition of guessing and blaming others for inadequate results.
Simply a monopolist could study a small business and ruin it by giving away products.