Photoshop: Annoyed by missing fonts warning

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This is about Photoshop 12.1 x64 under Windows 7.

Our designers use MacOS. Our developers use Windows 7. Every time our developers open any single file sent from our designers, Photoshop throws up a modal dialog stating "Some text layers contain fonts that are missing. These layers will need to have the missing fonts replaced before they can be used for vector based output".

This doesn't just appear the first time you open any file like this. This doesn't just appear once per session. This doesn't just appear once per file. This doesn't just appear once when you open several files at once. This appears every time the user opens every file. There is no option to turn it off or never see it again, under Preferences or on the Dialog itself. The dialog does not appear briefly and go away after a set period of time. The notice does not appear in a status bar. This dialog has persisted for months and shows no signs of disappearing from the program by itself.

The following should be noted: Photoshop does not immediately change the file in any way. The file can be edited and re-saved with the same font layer intact, and Photoshop will warn you again when you try to open that file. There is another related, and arguably more useful, dialog that appears when a line with a missing font is selected. The developers will not normally need to change any font layers. In this author's opinion, this dialog serves no real purpose and should be changed in one or more of the many ways listed above or removed from the program entirely.

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Steve Mattison

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  • frustrated

Posted 7 years ago

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Chris Cox

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The dialog is an important warning to the user.

And why have you not made sure that all of your designers have the same fonts installed to prevent these problems?
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anna willoughby

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I work in Web Design...I often don't have the same fonts as the in-house design teams my company frequently works with at bigger companies, but I also frequently have the same font that was for some reason installed differently on my machine / is a slightly different version which causes this dialog. Some way of optionally disabling it would be helpful for firms like mine (and frankly many many firms) who don't always get 100% of the assets used by a company's in-house design team. When we have to open 5-10 ads that a client wants us to update or tweak in some way, having to click "ok" as each loads takes valuable time that I could be using prepping images / downloading assets / working on another project in the background. Don't be so quick to judge.
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Steve Mattison

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As emphasized in the above text; The developers will not normally need to change any font layers. The developers simply export PNGs and program websites. The process of exporting a PNG is not affected by a 'missing font'. As emphasized in the above text; Photoshop does not immediately change the file in any way.

Additionally; Some of the designers work off-site. In addition to running a completely different OS with a completely different font-base, the designers often find new fonts online which fancy them. The developers cannot be bothered to go track down some obscure (possibly Apple-only) font that caught the Designer's eye, just to please Adobe. If the developer needs something changed in a non-standard font, it is most often a typo in a company logo or menu-bar, and ask the designers to do it so it looks right. But notifying the user that they don't have a font, and then displaying that font anyway? Should the user be impressed?

The user is not so impressed when opening 12 files at once (and getting 12 modal dialogs in a row). And the user is not so impressed when a second(third,fourth,etc) dialog box is displayed every time any font layer is clicked, for instance, in order to copy said text. The dialog doesn't display any pertinent information. No list of fonts missing. No location about where to get them. Just some vague threat about possibly inflicting future Modal Dialogs upon the user.

All I'm asking for is a check-box, in some future version.


It doesn't even have to be checked by default. It doesn't even have to show up on the dialog. It could be hidden in preferences somewhere.
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Chris Cox

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It's a warning about the document, it really shouldn't have a don't show again checkbox.

If you are editing the document on another machine, you really need the fonts that go with that document.
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Steve Mattison

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I don't seem to need them at all. I don't need them to open the document successfully, I don't need them to see what the fonts look like, and I don't need them to save the document successfully with the same text-layers intact.

I expect that if I don't have a font, I won't be able to edit the text-layer without changing to a different font, but that's why there's that 'useful alert' that tells me which font I need.
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Steve Mattison

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In a perfect world, EVERY warning should have a don't show again checkbox. I've been informed. Thanks for telling me. Don't worry about it. I do this every day. Here's a nickel. I know what I'm doing. I'm not an idiot.

Would you like me to pop up a Modal Window on your screen every day? Every time you open, I don't know, a source code file of some sort? "Warning; the source code you're editing could cause your system to crash if you do the wrong thing."

Oh, wait, is this just Adobe getting revenge on Microsoft for that whole UAC thing? That would be hilarious. You know you can turn UAC off, right? A prompting system installed to prevent the user from getting their computer infected with viruses... and you can turn it off. A missing font or two in your Photoshop document, however? Why, that's simply unacceptable. ;)
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Chris Cox

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No, many warnings should not have a don't show again, because you really need the warning every time the problem comes up.

Do you only need the "engine oil" light to work the first time you start your car and never again? Or should it come on every time something goes wrong?

And me: I go correct the problem instead of looking at warnings all the time.
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Steve Mattison

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My car doesn't constantly demand specialized engine oil imported from various countries every time I open the car door. It only tells me about the oil once I start to use the oil.

The "problem" only comes up when you go to edit the font. And there's already a modal dialog for the "problem", and that modal dialog appears when you go to edit the font. I'm not saying that the second modal dialog is a problem, on the contrary, it tells you the font you need. But you know, that just might be my next ticket. You're starting to convince me that Modal Dialogs anywhere are a threat to justice everywhere.

Half a million results for [modal dialog evil] on google. 

You know who doesn't pop up an alert telling me that the PSD is missing a font? GIMP. And Irfanview. I guess those programs are just BETTER than Photoshop. Maybe it's true what they say; "Money can't buy happiness". And "You get what you pay for" is an outright lie.
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Chris Cox

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Just because other programs are sloppy and don't inform you about problems doesn't mean that a professional program should also be as sloppy.

And nothing specialized is required here -- just make sure you have the fonts installed that you are using in your documents. That isn't all that difficult, and is standard practice in most design firms.

I'm sorry that you are annoyed by an important warning that you have not taken steps to correct. We'll make a note to improve the wording of the warning and possibly provide more information in it in the future.
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Steve Mattison

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A warning is not IMPORTANT if there are TWO of them.

This is what you're arguing about.

Standard Practice in "most design firms" is to cater to the client. What the client wants, the client gets. The client is the one footing the bill to pay the paycheck of the design firm.

If the client wants a certain font on their website, the designer downloads it, and puts it into the PSD. It's not the designer having the issue. It's the DEVELOPER, who is NEVER going to have that font beforehand. The developer has not been communicating with the client about fonts used in their logos, and shouldn't have to. It's the developer's job to analyze the programmatic needs of the client's website demands, while integrating whatever sort of design the designer throws at them. That integration does not require editing the text within the logos made from fancy fonts that will be used one single time. It just requires extracting rasterized graphical elements from the template, a process that is oddly not hindered by a few missing fonts.

I thought my company was just buying "Photoshop", I didn't know my company was buying "Photoshop and you're gonna have to download every font you want to use before you even know you're gonna need it even if you're only going to use it once or we'll bother you to the ends of the earth". You should probably rename it that, so people won't be so surprised that it's what they're getting. Here I thought I was the client, and you guys were the design firm, and I was footing the bill to pay your paycheck. I've apparently paid for you to spend the better part of the day reading all of this, thinking up reasons not to give the client what the client wants, and then typing them out. Are you just the guy they pay to say "No"? Is Adobe's official policy to reply to their clients with "I'm sorry that you are annoyed" and then do nothing about it?

And now I see how Adobe has wasted my money. The amount of time to add a single check-box to the preferences panel, and an...
IF(GetVar($ignoreMissingFont)==FALSE){
    AnnoyUser('MissingFont');
}
...certainly would have wasted a lot less of Adobe's hard-earned money than this exchange has.

I wonder what the CEOs would say.
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Steve Mattison

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I mean, it appears that someone is on "a noble quest" to prevent people who ACTUALLY WANT the option (there are TEN THOUSAND of us) from having the option of hiding a NAG screen, even if it's hidden at the bottom of a preferences panel, far out of sight of anyone.

Even if it's in a hidden field-set that only appears when you click 'advanced options'.

Even if you can't set it true unless you also check 'I am sure' and 'I am absolutely very sure' in addition to 'I actually really want to skip that first missing fonts dialog and accept all the ramifications that in the future I may actually experience a missing font without Adobe holding my hand through the entire experience, even though you're gonna pop up another dialog anyway every time I select an individual line that has a missing font in it'...

Do you just not want to type all of that out? Look, I did it for you. Now you can copy-paste it.
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Steve Mattison

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But I guess if Adobe wants to badmouth the developers of my company for not having every font on the internet installed, I'll let Wikipedia badmouth Adobe.

[Not that myself or said developers work for or otherwise edit or endorse Wikipedia in any way. But as far as 'public opinion' goes, this is what people have to say on the matter.]

"Modal dialogs are generally regarded as bad design solutions by usability practitioners since they are prone to produce mode errors. Dangerous actions should be undoable wherever possible; a modal alert dialog that appears unexpectedly or which is dismissed automatically (because the user has developed a habit) will not protect from the dangerous action."
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialog_b...

"Users may not recognize that a modal window requires their attention, leading to confusion about the main window being non-responsive, or causing loss of the user's data input intended for the main window."
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modal_wi...
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Chris Cox

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It's not a modal dialog, it's an alert -- necessary when informing the user about important problems (like missing resources needed to render and edit the document correctly). Any other error display mechanism would still require a semi-modal state so that the user must confirm or dismiss the error warning before continuing to edit their document.

Yes, the dialog could do better to inform the user about the names of the missing fonts. I think there's already a feature request for that.

There's a reason for the warnings -- just like there's a reason for the warning lights and alarms in your car: to inform you that proceeding could be dangerous and that you really should take corrective action soon.
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Steve Mattison

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It appears to be a modal; a visible element upon the screen that takes the focus from the main Photoshop window, changing that window's "mode" from the normal "mode that accepts input", into a "mode that does not accept input".

"In user interface design, a modal window is a child window that requires users to interact with it before they can return to operating the parent application, thus preventing the workflow on the application main window. Modal windows are often called heavy windows or modal dialogs because the window is often used to display a dialog box." - Wikipedia again

"Any other error display mechanism"? Like, perhaps, displaying a faded red background behind the layer name in the layer's window? There's already an "alert" when you attempt to change the text. There is no reason for another one when you open the document, especially one that doesn't present options.

Were this small "alert" to appear outside of the user's screen resolution for any OS-related reason, one would simply assume the Photoshop application had crashed, for all intents and purposes. Additionally, since the Modal takes focus away from the Photoshop application, the close button would not work, and Photoshop would need to be force-terminated (Possibly causing the user to lose work from other unsaved documents!)

The "warning lights" on Photoshop prevent the user from opening the program with such a document, and prevent every other similar document from being opened. Every time. The warning lights on my car do not prevent myself and every other passenger from opening the door and getting into the car. Should they?

There are no missing resources needed to render the document correctly; the document renders just fine, because PSDs apparently include a rasterized version of the text-layer. Ask the PSD Specification people how that works. I'm not a Photoshop programmer. (Though learning a new programming language and implementing these changes I'm suggesting can't be more difficult than teaching you about modal dialogs, I'm sure.)

1995 called. It wants its OK-button back.
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Steve Mattison

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CASE IN POINT! An hour ago, I moved the Modal Alert Dialog to the bottom right of my screen, for no other reason than to see how far off-screen I could get it. Then I figured "Oh well" and pressed the space button to close it, because you still can, you know.

Now, an hour later, I go to close Photoshop. One of my documents is unsaved. That document comes to the forefront, but Photoshop stops responding. I figure, at first, that it's just processing. I go and do some other stuff for a minute or two, and come back to Photoshop. Still nothing. I try to click on the window. Nothing happens. Photoshop is frozen?

Then I recall the last screen coordinates in which I left a dialog. I check the far bottom right of my screen, and sure enough, that's where top itsy-bitsy corner of the "save changes" dialog has chosen to appear.

THIS IS NOW A STOP ERROR.

If the user normally uses screen resolution 1920x1200, and normally moves their dialog to the bottom or right side of their screen... and then, for any reason, changes their screen resolution to 1024x768 (to maximize compatibility with certain programs that require maximum compatibility, say), any Photoshop dialog or alert that appears for said user, from a 'missing fonts' alert while opening, to a 'save document' dialog while closing, will appear out-of-resolution, off-screen, and the program will have effectively seized up, providing no input to the user. Worse, if the user presses buttons on the keyboard, [tabs, spaces, enters, or whatever], trying to get Photoshop to respond, they may unexpectedly lose data or cause other unexpected results to happen.
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Chris Cox

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In normal circumstances Photoshop asks the OS about the display size, and brings the dialogs or palettes back onto the visible display area. The only time we've seen that fail is when the OS thinks a display is still connected that isn't really connected (like external displays on laptops), and the OS needs to re-test for connected displays to update it's layout information.

But if you try that hard, non-modal states can also cause serious problems.

And you do seem to be trying really hard to cause yourself more problems.
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Steve Mattison

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I'm sorry. I thought this was the PROBLEM-reporting form.

A modal dialog (save screen) just appeared more than 90% of the way outside the screen. So tell me, just how much "asking the OS about the display size" is Photoshop doing, and then completely ignoring? For reference purposes, I do not have multiple monitors installed.
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Robert Cambridge

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Chris Cox doesn't seem to be reading you Steve Mattison. His responses are short and inadequate. He has basically already admitted to the problem by not countering the points you're laying down.

I'm a developer and I want to ignore this warning.
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Julien Vernet

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I agree this is very annoying.

I would also like to be able to disable this warnings!
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Steve Mattison

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An Adobe representative has admitted that Bad Design Solutions are the way of the future. I suggest a boycott.

At least GIMP programmers know enough not to give two error messages about the same problem, and their modal/error dialogs never bother you at an inappropriate time. Also, their tech support community is MUCH more helpful, and their bug reporting form is MUCH more efficient. Also, GIMP is free.

I can't believe how much money Adobe has wasted on defending this problem, and not on fixing it.
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Steve Mattison

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Chris Cox;
"why have you not made sure that all of your designers have the same fonts installed to prevent these problems?"

Because the font files are Client Specific.
We get a new client every few days.
Every client wants a different font.
We can't have every font file on the internet installed!
We can't know what fonts are needed by clients that we don't have yet.
We're not psychic!
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David, Official Rep

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Howdy folks,

I've gone ahead and logged a feature request for this issue. If I'm understanding you correctly, you want a Do Not Show checkbox for this dialog, right?

I can't comment when it will get in cuz we're sorta backlogged, but the Type team hears your complaint.

Thanks,
David
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Steve Mattison

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Thanks, David!
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Matthew Toledo

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Actually, I'd like it if every single warning dialog had a "do not nag again" checkbox option. I'd also like a screen in the preferences where I can see all possible nag popups and check / uncheck them at will.

You guys use OOP, right? Just add the checkbox to the warning dialog object.
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artturi85

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In my work the graphical designer exports the layouts to .png (if we are doing webpage) Now everyone can open it with any software.

And if needed I'll also create additional .txt -file to include more info for programmers. The file would look like this:

Navigation font: Oswald
Navigation text-color: White
Navig bg color: #b5b5b5;
Font family in other texts: Open Sans, Arial, Helvetica
Text-color: #222222;
Margin between product images: 20px
Footer Color: #ff0000;

...

etc..
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r kett

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I would love to turn this alert off. I feel like I click alerts more than I actually get any work done. I have been putting an emphasis on time saving photoshop techniques lately (like using actions to their true potential) and all of the alerts (the one that the OP posted in particular) are very annoying.

I would much rather have a "Check file for errors" button that you could click manually to give you a list of possible errors.
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robert wentz

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Meanwhile Premier Pro will NOT warn you when a font used in a sequence you're opening uses a font not installed on your system.

I personally would rather be warned if a font is missing. HOWEVER photoshop at the very least will retain the raster info which neither After Effects or Premier will.

In any event it's probably more effective to get your point across by logging a feature request (unless you enjoy debating over a web forum :)
https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/...
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David, Official Rep

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Official Response
Howdy Steve,

I'm happy to let you know that with the latest version of Photoshop CC, your concern has been addressed and there is an Do Not Show button on the dialog that warns of missing fonts. In fact, this solution has been available since June of 2014 (CC 2014).

Thanks,
David