iPad Fonts Petition

Jeffrey Zeldman Presents

Dear Apple: It is a triumph of engineering and marketing and general cause for joy that Apple provides highly functional iPad versions of Keynote, Pages, and Numbers for a mere $9.99 apiece. Alas, the iPad versions’ inability to import or transfer fonts diminishes the apps’ value and utility.

You, Apple, have done much to foster today’s design culture, so it is no surprise to you that we designers are particular about the fonts we use. One font is not the same as another. Helvetica is not the same as Franklin or Gotham. You know this as well as we do. Which means you also know that, in transferring Keynote presentations and Pages layouts between the Macs and iPads you sell us, our joy gets dented when the iPad replaces our fonts with “a close match” or Helvetica.

And it’s not just a matter of joy. 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.

Please either add the ability to retain fonts (and all their settings) when importing Keynote, Pages, and Numbers documents from computer to iPad, or else please create a simple font management tool for the iPad that allows us to import a reasonable subset of our fonts to the device.


Jeffrey Zeldman

273 thoughts on “iPad Fonts Petition

  1. I’m not a big believer in the efficacy of online petitions, but I feel strongly enough about this one to join in — communications tools should honor the messages they’re being used to communicate.

    I’d assume, from Apple’s part, that these types of format-fidelity features are on a roadmap somewhere, competing with lots of other more ambitious or technologically impressive capabilities. Apple: Hold off on the other stuff. We don’t need it yet to do our jobs. But not having our work get wrecked when we’re on the go is a fundamental requirement, even if it were merely solved by preserving formatting data while we work on iPads and then restoring those styles when we sync back to the desktop.

  2. Here here. It is important to continue the beautiful design for which Apple is so widely known, that proper font support be provided on all devices – computer, iPhone, iPad, etc

  3. @Anil I think Apple is not a strong believer of petitions either.
    But I agree 100% with the need to push the envelop on the suite.
    I’m sure though, that they never intended to stop at v1.

  4. Oh, I would love this.

    I often write documents to clients on my iPad while in the park or such. It’s an itch I’ve wanted scratched since I bought my iPad.

  5. I agree with everything said here.
    (although a petition should only require a name:)

  6. I believe this is one of my top five gripes with the iPad and iPhone. And I do, only have five. I don’t enjoy when I see a typeface substituted with dramatically different typefaces, it’s a huge annoyance. I decided not to buy Keynote for iPad when I learned that you could only use the type that Apple makes available for the iPad. This is not designer friendly, and it is a missing feature.

  7. I see no reason why full font support should be absent on the iPad. I’m surr most of us are pretty capable of selecting a subset of our font collection to be synced with the iPad.

  8. How awesome would it be if we were somehow able to use web fonts, provided by services such as Typekit, within our apps? I’m sure there’d be legalities around that, but it’s fun to dream.

    Either way, sign me up.

  9. Agree completely; lack of font support was the very reason why I had Apple refund me the money I had spent on Keynote. Let’s see where this ranks on their list of priorities…

  10. Yes Apple, please make the iPad a real Graphic-Artist-Tablet and add at least Font-Management or Font-Synchronisation.

  11. It’s the first problem I think I encountered on the iPad, if not the inability to control the Keynote remotely (maybe with the iPhone?).

    Jonesing for some Akzidenz Grotesk on the ‘Pad.

  12. @vincent

    “Is’nt this the same urgument “Apple, please support Adobe Flash””

    No, because Flash sucks and should die, and fonts are beautiful and should not.

    Seriously, I am finished recompiling every time I need to make some minor tweak, and I’m doubly finished writing code in a shoddy, ill documented language like AS.

  13. It’s a little sad that the company who understands the importance of Helvetica as a font enough to make it the default doesn’t decide to give us full font support…

  14. Overall Apple has sadly made it challenging to use their iWork apps due to syncing and this. I would probably use it more if I could get real work done on the device.

    I expect it may improve, but I would support any improvements to the native fonts on the iPad.

    Even the Kindle app and even InstaPaper have more fonts! ;)

  15. Add me to the list. I will not buy these apps without some sort of custom font functionality.

  16. To be clear, we are not asking Apple to give us fonts; for they are not Apple’s to give. We are asking them to stop crippling their software and respect our choices.

  17. Sign me up. Keynote in its current state works well for early brainstorming and outlines, but beyond that, as a designer, I need to stick with my Mac.

  18. While I don’t have an iPad (yet) I agree the lack of fonts cripples it’s use as a content creation tool. It also needs a better way to transfer documents in general.

  19. I fully agree. However. I also think that this should be something that the interested parties should be filing on bugreport.apple.com. If this has already been filed as a bug with Apple, could you please post the bug number so that the developer-inclined folks can dupe this bug with Apple?

  20. Is there a legitimate petition, as I would gladly sign it?
    I’d recommend getting a link added to this post, and/or tweet it out to your followers.
    The number of “signatures” would multiply.

  21. Signing the petition for font access on iPad. And now we are at it anyway: why not have TTF/OTF through @font-face on iPad-Safari as well? That would solve even more that just these apps.

  22. Hear hear! Sign me up. Content creation & productivity is the future of the iPad and iOS platform. Fonts are a must-have if you want more of us to use these apps professionally.

  23. Of all the things that I love about my iPad, the lack of wide font support in some of the key apps is one thing that could be improved.


  24. I think font support overall with iOS would be great. And maybe even some kind of ‘Flash-like’ ability to embed fonts into apps. And while we’re on the subject can we find a way to import vector artwork into apps … ok, another time perhaps …

  25. I think a much larger library of type across the entire iOS platform, iPhones and iPod touches included, would be a boon. If Apple really cares about rendering print-equivalent text, as is the claim of the Retina Display, then a comprehensive, high-quality type library to match the quality of the screen is a natural next step.

  26. Agreed. Better font handling would go a long way toward making the iPad a real production platform.

  27. Fonts are half the fun–especially when it’s for work. Isn’t that Apple’s brand?

  28. Signed!

    If the iPad is ever to be taken seriously as even a device that’s capable of getting “serious” work done, then user-specified fonts are a must.. I’m sure Apple will find a way to make it work without it sucking too hard..

  29. Count me “in” with Jeffrey’s request. It is a surprise that the company (and visionary – Steve Jobs) that made beautiful typography a requirement for their devices has chosen to sacrifice our flexibility for typography in the iPad. It won’t take much for those that cherish beautiful typography to choose “nah” when considering the iPad for their work. True, the iPad is just beginning it’s voyage, but let’s not neglect the legacy into which it was born!

  30. Font support is critical to allow applications like Keynote and Pages to be truly portable to devices like the iPad. Thanks for writing this Jeffrey, and I hope the folks at Apple take notice. A workable solution will be beneficial to all involved: customers, Apple, and also the font creators.

  31. Couldn’t agree more, Jeffrey. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, a show-stopper for me. It’s one of the things which I believe counts as an ‘expected feature’ and certainly doesn’t fall under a ‘would-be-nice-to-have’ category.


  32. Another vote for font support. I don’t own an iPad yet, but this would make me more likely to purchase one. Better font support for the iPhone I do own would be quite welcome, also.

  33. Signed.

    Keynote continues to be a staple for designers and great presenters alike. It’s not a toy app where a few basic typefaces will pacify the majority. Preserving a Keynote presentation built on a Mac ought to be a requirement, not a nice to have.

    Understandably, this may not be all Apple’s fault as type licenses are involved. But, an elegant solution can be found, I’m sure.

    Bottom line: this issue prevents me from presenting from an iPad and therefore keeps me from using an iPad more often.

  34. As an iOS developer, I was shocked to see the lack of font support on the iPad. A simple ability to sync system fonts in iTunes would be amazing.

  35. There are some instances where a teeny bit of user control is a good thing, and this is one of them. While I greatly admire the ability of Apple to produce complex products that anyone can use, they also need to realize that many of those same users are highly creative and intelligent people that, given the option, would greatly appreciate the chance to do a little customizing. Don’t worry Apple, we won’t get “confused” too much.

  36. This has been a sticking point for me since Day One of owning iWork for iPad which gave me nothing but iWoes. You’ve got my support, old friend.

  37. I would love more fonts and better font support not only for the mentioned apps, but system-wide on the iPad.

  38. Absolutely needed. There’s no reason for it to not be there, and if they need to encapsulate it a bit, then build a template-making tool that doesn’t suck so that we can build the graphics, layouts, font settings, etc. and upload and use that in the apps. Here’s hoping for a new update soon!

  39. Agreed. This isn’t an optional extra or something that doesn’t matter with mobile devices… If Apple wants us to consider the iPad a creation device (and it should) then basic things like font support are a must.

  40. Absolutely agree, my name is on the list.

    I don’t want to use stock templates if I don’t have to — which renders my iPad useless for presentation purposes.

  41. I add my name to this worthy cause. C’mon Steve you are a reknowned lover of fonts. This one’s really a no brainer. Please?

  42. Without custom fonts these apps make just half the sense. Dear Apple, listen to us or do you really want us to jailbreak?

  43. Ok, I agree, of course. But I think also that Jobs will say that the IPad is not meant for Graphic Designers. Without decent font support and all the other stuff I won’t even mention here, I guess the IPad will go in history as just an other expensive toy.

  44. Colleague and I were talking about this just last week. Custom templates (as well as font support) need to be supported before people will take it seriously.

  45. Signed. This is one of a very few issues (another being hobbled keyboard functionality in the iWork apps) that will have to be fixed before I’m likely to buy an iPad.

  46. Signed!

    I will not be using iWork apps on the iPad until they have proper font support. It’s critical to design.

  47. It stunned me that this wasn’t the case when the apps came out, and it further stuns me that we even have ask.

    More font choices please.

  48. Signed and agreed. Please make more fonts for iWork suite. The lack of fonts make for frustrating work on the iPad.

  49. Agreed. As an apple fan, the lack of font support – an issue that’s near and dear to Steve – amazes me!

  50. We definitely need more fonts to make our presentations more professional. If Apple truly wants to replace RIM in the business world then iWork requires more fonts.

  51. My wife both love our iPads. But from day one I have kept my eye open for a font manager app that could allow me to import fonts. Purty, please Apple, please provide one or let one be developed.

  52. I agree. What’s the point of spending precious time and then all goes to waste when you use on ipad.

    While you’re at it, bring presenter notes to ipad.

  53. I agree. Apple, please add the fonts to allow us to import/export documents created with Pages or Keynote for iPad.


  54. The demo of iBook on the iPad made me lose all interest in the current version of the iPad. Apple brazenly offered a free version of “Winnie the Pooh” typeset in Palatino instead of the original Baskerville (later editions used Janson), and then the demo continued to say, If you don’t like the font, you can change it! Presto! Helvetica! And make it larger! Presto! 14 pt. 18 pt! Yes, you too can be an Ace Typographer! Isn’t this revolutionary and magical?

    Look, if they can’t respect the typographer’s careful decision and years of experience on what typeface to use in a book (especially one as Warren Chappell’s use of Baskerville in “Winnie the Pooh”), then what hope do you have for Apple in understanding the importance of using the right font for the right project?

    Remember, this is Apple: “These are the fonts we like. (Notice how we dumped the elegant Adobe Myriad for Helvetica on the iPod.) If you don’t like them — or want more — tough.”

  55. I have an iPad but not any of the iWork apps, because I didn’t think I would have enough use for them. I didn’t even know that this was a limitation with them, making them vastly less useful. I’ve discovered a good number of typography woes on the iPad, some of which have already been addressed and some of which will probably be addressed in the future, but this and the Webkit WOFF support that Jon Tan mentioned are at the top of my list.

  56. I completely agree. I was looking forward to purchasing an iPad with the iWork apps, now that I’ve realised full font support is not possible I think I may hold off.

    Come on Apple!

  57. You have my vote.

    This seems to be one of the biggest issues that folks have with the iPad. A definite +1 for something like FontBook so that we can manage which typefaces are installed.

  58. C’mon, Apple, I’ll buy in when it’s fully fonted, formatted and compatible with all iWorks and Office programs. My iPod shouldn’t be such a limiting and frustrating experience. Djorn

  59. I make a huge fuss when my staff break out of our corporate style guide and use other fonts. How embarrassing for me then to show ANYTHING done on my iPad. Sure, things might slow down if people crammed in hundreds of fonts. Capacity for five user installable fonts would be all I need!

  60. I did not know about this fontapolypse on the iPad. Glad I didn’t by one yet. Will wait ’til it is fixed. Looks like this Apple got a worm in it lately. Consider it signed.

  61. I agree x4 – I have purchased ipads for my marketing team and this font issue is a major bummer when presenting using our ipads. Even Arial has issues! Fix now and fix for all mobile versions of Keynote, Numbers and Pages. Also the comaptibility issues with PPT and the ability to export to PPT must be addressed.

  62. Yep. I need support for importing fonts (and templates) into Pages and Keynote on the iPad to make this work for me.

  63. i agree. the font support is abhorrent on the iPad. it really mangles keynote presentations and there have not been any keynote updates to fix this or many other issues.

  64. Decision makers at Apple seam to have a blind eye on the role of fonts in design. I am sure people at Apple read this petition. My hope is that it may be another little piece to convince them that implementing contemporary font handling on iOS devices is a big need. Better earlier than later.

    My favorite would be to port WOFF support from the Webkit Nightly to the next Mobile Safari!

  65. Totally agree, and signed.
    Feel the pages and numbers on iPad needs more support, function and accessibility


  66. This is exactly the reason why I have not purchased an iPad: the certainty that I cannot do useful work on it with Keynote. Keynote and iPad were BORN to be used together — making the fonts incompatible or unavailable is a ridiculous oversight.

  67. I’m in too. If the iPad had font support I would be writing this message from the device. Come on Apple, we designers were there singing your praises and keeping the business afloat while the majority of the world where right-clicking.

  68. This is probably just a case of Apple® being stingy with paying the licence fees and/or Monotype® and the other major font vendors being greedy with their licencing fees.
    Sorry I haven’t done my research to see who to wag my finger at, but Monotype does own the rights to a lot of fonts and in all likelihood they are involved.

  69. I agree! This is a must have feature. I am tired of getting working hard on my Keynote, then find I have to use my laptop instead of my iPad.

  70. I couldn’t agree more… I can honestly say I’ve had to stop trying to use my iPad for anything productive for just this reason.

  71. Good to know that full font support isn’t in place. Glad I made the call to wait until version 2 of the iPad. Hope they fix this glaring hole by then.

  72. Also petition signed.

    And greetings from Switzerland where Helvetica is not enough for my iPad ;-)

  73. Please, Apple! It’s called iWork, not iDinkAround. The apps are useless to me without font support.

  74. Speaking as a professional writer, passionate reader, and something of a fan of Apple products, I’m surprised and a little disappointed that this petition is even necessary. Apple, I’m sure somebody in Cupertino just forgot to set their alarm clock on this one–it’s time to wake up now.

  75. This has been a big issue with me. Apple needs to step up to the plate and implement some way that users can use a selection of fonts.

  76. Sadly most people don’t care about fonts except if they are too small for them to read, and iPad was built to be a consumption device, not a design device.
    That said, if Apple wants iPad to be more deeply adopted for multi-use they need to add font support for situations just like this one. Add my name!

  77. Yes, please give us full font abilities!

    Also, extend the per-slide time of Keynote slideshows from 5 seconds to 20 (or even 30), and put back the checkbox to loop the slideshow! Many of us bought the iPad to run a kiosk Keynote presentation at conferences and workshops.

  78. Add me, too. Was badly burned finding out that my iPad couldn’t display the fonts I’d used in a Keynote presentation. At the time I had to resort to showing a flat PDF with a third-party PDF reader… ick.

  79. I don’t own an iPad (yet).

    Though perhaps better font support could make a difference.

    Dear Apple, please add better font support to the iPad. Thanks much, -t

    However I do wonder…

    How do downloadable fonts / WebFonts / TypeKit work on Safari on the iPad? Does it work at all? If so (big if) …

    Has anyone tried building presentations with S5 + TypeKit and seeing if their fonts work right on the iPad?

    That to me would be an excellent way of solving this problem.

    Why bother with Keynote if the Web can give you a higher fidelity result?

    (nevermind more linkable/indexable/searchable/device-independent etc. etc.)

    Just sayin’

  80. The ability to display a Keynote presentation exactly as rendered on a desktop is a must-have for the iPad. I’m shocked that a company as obsessed with perfecting the user experience would force four-time customers (who bought a macbook, an iPad, iWork, and the Keynote app) to suffer such poor compatibility. Everyone knows we buy these products because they’re sold as technology that “just works”.

  81. iPad font support goes deeper than just the iWork suite too. For whatever reason, Typekit fonts don’t display properly on the iPad in Safari either. Thanks for putting this together Jeffrey.

  82. Jeff White,

    Typekit fonts don’t display on the iPad or iPhone in Safari because Mobile Safari doesn’t support web fonts unless you convert them to SVG. (I convert the headlines on this site to SVG so my font shows up in iPad and iPhone.)

  83. Agree, Apple needs to fix their fonts. Will not buy the iWork apps for iPad until they get the fonts in order.

  84. Whole-heartly agree with all. For Apple not to include is on the edge of insanity due to Apple’s reputation for well thought out and designed products…think this time they left some behind to get a product out before everyone else.

  85. I agree, this would be a welcome feature that would propel the iPad even further into the future

  86. Apple’s neglect of fonts is a mystery, really.
    +1 to a call for “Fonts On The iPad”.
    I’d also like to mention that at TypeCon LA, Roger Black has called for agreement between browser maker/device makers on a basic fallback font set. Why didn’t Apple didn’t license the MS Cleartype fonts the same way they license the web safe fonts? Joe Clark called for that in 2005.
    It’s time to put an end to this. A basic common font set is essential to interoperability. @font-face can’t solve all problems.


  87. One would almost assume that this was already part of the iPad experience, given Apple’s history and their (supposed) interest in typography. But no.

    They need to step up on this, before old quotations about the importance of good type starts to taste sour.

    Signed, tentfold.

  88. hear, hear! couldn’t agree more.

    apple, hire a typography czar/director/whatever, get the font situation sorted in ios, and going forward make great typography a hallmark of apple product design and engineering, the way it used to be. the way it should be.

  89. Word. This is of utmost importance – not only for users, but also for Apple to position the iPad as a content creation device (and not just a consumption device).

  90. Fully support the request. Would also be nice if someone senior at Apple would explain why … Most unsuspecting customers are not aware of this limitation and of its impact on the available software..

  91. My company has strict rules regarding marketing and type faces, sadly, I cannot use my ipad for Keynote presentations as it is. Please add font support!

  92. I agree. Please add my name to the petition.

    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.

  93. Amen, mister sister! Apple’d better let me add new fonts—or at least install fergodsake Garamond and Gentium—before I decide to storm headquarters with those pointy Zapfino glyphs.

  94. I completely agree — keynote is crippled by not having this fonts available. It makes presentations less visually striking, which is the whole reason we use keynote instead of powerpoint, and keynote was the main reason i bought the device. Lame.

  95. I am an artist so very few of the available fonts are useful for using in a graphic way (I use ArtStudio). If I could just have the option to swap a couple in and out as needed, that would be great. I’m not greedy so Apple shouldn’t have to worry about 500 fonts clogging the system.

  96. iPgaes is almost useless without a decent range of fonts. I use uncial and fraktur fonts great deal – occasionally a few ‘old style’ fonts (eg Caslon) – all free for download so copyright is not really an issue. On my iMac I have over two hundred fonts and there are still a few I aim to get shortly

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