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Guide to Auto Activation With Font Format Detection in Adobe InDesign
Guide to Auto Activation With Font Format Detection in Adobe InDesign

Learn how to enable, disable, and configure Monotype Fonts’ auto-activation plugin.

Supriya Bisht avatar
Written by Supriya Bisht
Updated over a week ago

Auto activation of missing fonts eliminates the need to manually activate each individual font. This ensures that designers’ creative process remains uninterrupted by distractions—they won’t need to disrupt their flow to deal with technical challenges or resolve reflow issues. It also allows totally seamless collaboration, as well as plenty of control for admins.

How does missing font auto activation work?

We’ve arrived at the next stage in the evolution of the second-most used feature on Monotype Fonts: missing font auto activation!

When a user opens a file, our missing font auto-activation feature scans the document to identify missing fonts. If it finds any, the plugin searches for the missing fonts in the user's font library, Monotype’s cloud-based font inventory, and/or the user's imported font inventory and automatically activates them in the correct format.

System requirements for missing font auto activation

Before installation, the user must make sure that their computer meets the following system requirements. Detecting problems with system setup (such as an incompatible operating system or inadequate user permissions) early on in the process means issues are less likely to arise during installation and use.

Supported operating systems

  • macOS: 11.x (BigSur), 12.x (Monterrey), upto 13.6.0 (Ventura)

  • Windows 10 (versions 1803-22H2)

Supported applications

  • Adobe Indesign 2021-24 - Manual Activation ( supported on versions 16.0 - version 19.0)
    Adobe Indesign 2022-24 - Auto Activation (versions 17.0 - version 20)

  • Adobe Illustrator 2021-24 (versions 25.0 - version 28.0)

  • Adobe Photoshop 2021-24 (versions 21.0 - version 25.0)

  • Adobe Incopy 2021-24 (versions 16.0 - version 19.0)

  • Adobe Acrobat Pro 2020

  • Sketch (versions 90+)

  • iWorks - Keynote (versions 11.x, 12.x )

  • iWorks Beta Plugins - Pages and Numbers (versions 11.x, 12.x)

Supported OS architectures

  • Apple Intel 64, Apple Silicon (arm64)

  • Windows 64 bit OS

Minimum supported screen resolution

1024 x 768

Multi-monitor support

No, the Monotype Fonts app should remain on the primary monitor while in use.

Note: Auto activation requires internet access to work. Without it, Monotype Fonts cannot search its cloud repository for the font that is being auto activated. However, upgrading the plugin does not require internet access, as it already comes packaged with the application.

How to enable the auto-activation plugin

A user can enable Monotype Fonts’ auto-activation functionality using any of these three methods:

1. Enabling auto activation upon first launch of Monotype Fonts

1. Start by uninstalling and reinstalling the Monotype Fonts app.

2. When you launch the newly reinstalled Monotype Fonts app, you will be prompted to update the auto-activation plugin. If you don’t want to enable the plugin, click I’ll do this later or the X at the top right corner of the prompt window.

3. After updating the plugin, quit and restart the Monotype Fonts app and Adobe InDesign.

4. When you have successfully updated the plugin, you will be notified that auto activation has been enabled.

2. Enabling auto activation from the missing font manual activation screen

1. When you are notified of a missing font or fonts, you can enable auto activation of missing fonts by clicking Turn on at the bottom of the pop-up window:

2. If you don’t want to enable auto activation, you can ignore the prompt by clicking on the X symbol on the bottom right. The prompt to enable auto activation will return only when you quit and restart the app, or when you restart your system.

3. Enabling auto activation from the plugin configuration screen

1. On the plugin configuration screen, check the box next to Auto-activate missing fonts to enable auto activation, or uncheck the box to disable it:

2. Once you have enabled or disabled auto activation, make sure to quit and relaunch Adobe InDesign to put your changes into effect.

Role-based auto activation

While working on certain projects, creative directors may need to manage the usage of specific fonts, including tracking and overseeing font access permissions. They can restrict the functionalities available to users based on their roles, including role-based auto activation. Only fonts on a user’s shared list can be auto activated.

Font categorization

When the system detects a font, it is categorized as one of four major types:

  1. Fonts that are in your inventory and that you have permission to use based on your role

  2. Fonts that require your manual intervention, including fonts that you must be granted additional permissions to access

  3. Fonts that are imported and available for use (as long as your access is permitted by those with administrator privileges)

  4. Fonts that are unavailable for use

How to request access to fonts

If an administrator has imported fonts and you do not yet have access to them, you must explicitly request access to these fonts, as shown in this example:

Configuration management

1. You can turn the auto-activation function on and off from the plugin configuration screen. Once you enable auto activation, the plugin is updated. The updated plugin only works with InDesign versions 16.0–18.2 (CC 2021–2023).

2. If needed, you can now turn off the auto-activation function for specific versions of Adobe software.

How to reset the plugin

There are some instances when you might want to reset the plugin back to its original, default state. For instance, you may be using older versions of Adobe InDesign (v15.X) and/or of macOS (e.g., Catalina, High Sierra, or older versions) that do not support the new native plugin.

Here’s how to reset the plugin:

1. Click the profile menu dropdown and navigate to Settings.

2. From here, go to Troubleshoot options.

3. Click the Reset app button to reset the plugin to its older legacy state.

4. Before continuing, quit the Monotype Fonts app, quit your design app(s), and, if possible, restart your computer.

Remote deployment

System administrator permission is required to activate or deactivate the plugin.

Supported applications

Adobe InDesign 2021–2023 (versions 16.0–18.2) Note: On macOS machines, the plugin for version 16.0 works best with Intel processors. If users encounter any issues with arm64 or Apple Silicon, they should reach out to support for assistance.

Monotype Fonts allows remote deployment of the InDesign plugin independent of the main app. To learn more, review our InDesign Plugin Installation Guide.

Frequently asked questions

When are fonts considered missing?

Fonts are considered missing if they have been added to your document, but are not currently synced and active in your system. Fonts installed on your system independent of Monotype Fonts are not identified as missing, as they are already present.

Does auto activation require administrator permissions?

Using the auto-activation feature doesn’t require administrator permissions. However, installing the plugin that enables auto activation does require a one-time authorization from the system administrator.

Does auto activation depend on what font inventory I am assigned to?

Yes, auto activation is restricted to your assigned font inventory. In other words, if you have a limited list of fonts that you are allowed to access, auto activation will only work for those specific fonts.

If a font has been in the process of activating for a long time, how can I re-attempt font syncing?

If Monotype Fonts is unable to activate a font within five minutes of startup, the application will terminate the auto-activation workflow. At this point, you can re-attempt font syncing.

If I reset my Monotype Fonts app, will I be able to access my plugin logs from before the reset?

Yes, you will be able to access them—resetting the application does not reset or overwrite the plugin logs.

Does auto activation support variable fonts?

The missing font flows do not support variable fonts.

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