What are the Base 14 Fonts?

Acrobat’s Base 14 Fonts are as follows:

  • Courier, Courier Bold, Courier Oblique, Courier Bold-Oblique
  • Helvetica, Helvetica Bold, Helvetica Oblique, Helvetica Bold-Oblique
  • Times Roman, Times Bold, Times Italic, Times Bold-Italic
  • Symbol
  • Zapf Dingbats

Originally, in 1993 when Adobe Acrobat first shipped, this set of fonts was guaranteed to be present with Adobe Acrobat Exchange and Acrobat Reader.  The set consists of 5 different types of fonts.

The Courier family is a Monospaced font where each character is the same width.  For example, when using Courier the character “I” will use the same horizontal width as the character “W”. This font is especially useful for representing columns of data.

The Times family is a Serif font, where small flourishes are added to the characters. These additions improve the readability of the font when used in text blocks, and reduce eye fatigue when reading for long periods of time.

The Helvetica family is a Sans-Serif font, sans meaning “without”, so without serifs. San-Serif fonts are primarily used for document headings and signage.

Symbol is a font containing unaccented Greek letters.  It is primarily used for mathematical expressions.

Zapf Dingbats is a font containing a collection of ornamental typographic elements. For example; arrows, stars, flowers, office symbols, etc.

The Base 14 Fonts are also referred to as “Standard 14 Fonts”, “Standard Type 1 Fonts”, or “Standard Fonts”.

In the ISO PDF Standard, ISO 32000-1:2008(E), the Base 14 Fonts are referred to as the “Standard 14 Fonts”; and are defined in Section