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Hotfix Corrects Arial Narrow Problem on Windows


First let me save you some trouble…If you’re running Windows XP with Office 2003 and earlier, stop reading. You’re not affected. If you’re a Mac user and you’ve read this far, why? Curiousity got the best of you? :)

For those of you on Vista or using Office 2007 you are among those affected by Microsoft’s retooled Arial Narrow. Looking for the various weights of Arial Narrow in Adobe applications will leave you wanting since the only one available is the regular weight and it’s found under the style choices for Arial.

One one weight of Arial Narrow is available

The only workaround up til now was to find an older Windows XP machine that only had Office 2003 or earlier and copy the fonts from there. That’s no longer necessary and you can simply download the hotfix and apply it. In reality the only thing that happens is that the fonts are replaced. You can download the hotfix here or simply wait until it makes it into Windows Updates.

After downloading and running the hotfix, you may still have a problem. If that’s the case search your computer for adobefnt*.lst. Delete any files (and there may be quite a few) where the * is a number such as adobefnt02.lst. These are font cache files that will be rebuilt the next time you launch an Adobe application. Do not delete any other files.

The result is a full array of Arial Narrow choices.

More Arial Narrow choices

I realize that not everyone is a big fan of these typefaces but there’s nothing really wrong with them with the exception of overuse. The fact that they are overused tells me that there’s a lot of folks that are going to be pleased to see that this has been fixed.

You can read more about this on Thomas Phinney’s blog here.

Bob Levine is a Southern New Jersey based graphic designer and consultant He provides guidance in developing efficient, collaborative InDesign and InCopy workflows as well as a full array of graphic design services including WordPress-based web development. For more background, visit his website, or his blog,
  • Why would one use Helvetica’s rip-off with InDesign? :)

  • Roland says:

    I think the question is why would anyone use Vista and/or Office 2007? Office 2003 works fine with very little reason to get the over-priced upgrade to 2007, and Vista isn’t ready for business use.

  • Bob Levine says:

    I’m using Vista 64 and I can tell you that it’s rock solid and all of the Creative Suite applications run beautifully…even if they’re all open at the same time.

    As unscientific as it is, I see far more complaints about Leopard in the U2U forums than I do about Vista.

    I like Office 2007 but I’ll admit it’s not a major upgrade with the exception of PowerPoint.

    Don’t be swayed by the negative press on Vista. Most of it’s coming from people that have never used it or those that tried to use it on underpowered hardware.

    And for the Photoshop fans out there…in case you hadn’t heard, Photoshop CS4 will be available as native 64 bit for Vista only.

  • Eugene says:

    I run all the apps on a 32 bit Vista, it runs smoothly too. People who complain about os’s or platform usually are people who aren’t fluent in them or heard misconceptions about them on the grapevine, from my experience anyway.

  • Klaus Nordby says:

    I can second all of Bob’s remarks on Vista x64. I’ve been running that since July, and it works very slickly with all Adobe apps. And yes, Photoshop will, finally, be a 64-bit application with the CS4 release — and it will utilize also your GPU for some operations, so I predict it will be a speed monster on Vista x64, if you throw in lots of RAM and decent hardware. But wait, there’s more! Lightroom 2 is already 64-bit, I’ve had it for a month and it runs splendidly, too. I now have 8Gb RAM in my self-built box, and I’ll be upping that to 16 Gb this fall — RAM costs almost peanuts now. So these are great times to do heavy lifting with a computer! Unless you’re on the oh-so-cool-and-hip Mac platform, that is . . . ;-)

  • Roland says:

    I know it’s not Microsoft’s fault that companies like HP and Dell like to slap Vista on hardware that’s not intended to run that particular version (I know that’s what they do; I had the “pleasure” of setting up my 80-year-old aunt’s new HP laptop with Vista). But that’s the exact reason why so many consumers complain that Vista’s too slow.

    Not that that matters to me personally, as I get my computers custom-built. The important thing for me is that neither Canon nor Ricoh have Vista-compatible drivers ? and won’t really support Vista ? according to their helpdesks, mechanics and reps, and if they don’t support it, I don’t want to “upgrade” from XP.

    Anyway, I apologize for turning this into a love/hate Vista thing.

  • anonymous says:

    I have the same problem with XP and Office 2003.
    Maybe it depends on the installation of SP3.

    Before my format I had CS3 with the Office2003 and I hadn’t any problem.

  • anonymous says:

    ok…I solve my problem!
    (for the user with WinXP sp3, Office Sp3 and Adobe CS3)

    1. Get the fonts form another pc without SP3 installed.
    2. Delete the fonts in the Fonts Folder
    3. Delete any files adobefnt*.lst (where the * is a number such as adobefnt02.lst, use Windows Search function to find them)
    4. Copy the “new” fonts in the Font folder

    5. enjoy! :)

  • piglet says:

    I’ve installed the hotfix and deleted all the *.lst files but I still can’t get the arial narrow font family in indesign. It’s driving me crazy!!

    Is there anything else anyone can think of? I can’t get hold of old versions of the fonts i don’t think….


  • piglet says:

    Ah… i was being impatient. I can now see all the variations under the Arial heading (not Arial Narrow).

  • Jen says:

    Thank you! I can’t begin to tell you how much you’ve helped me with this tip. I’ve struggled with it for ages and I wish I had seen this long ago.
    Much appreciated!

  • Ceil says:

    Recently got new laptop. Vista 64bit. Installed CS4 and cannot see Arial Narrow Italic or bold in any of the Adobe software. Arial Narrow (plain) is in the drop-down for Arial.

    Tried the hot-fix. Removed the AdobeFnt files mentioned above, but still can’t see them.

    Whenever I’ve encountered this problem in the past I would put the font directly into the Common Files/Adobe Font folder. Can’t find a folder like that on the 64 bit machine.

    Can anyone help me???

  • Craig says:

    I found with XP SP3, HotFix, Office 07, CS4 that any of the suggestions found above allowed me to get the Arial Narrow or black in InDesign.

    What worked finally for me is a combo…

    1. Get a pre-SP3 Arial Narrow and Black font
    2. Delete the adobefnt*.lst files
    3. delete the installed version of the fonts
    4. insall older font version 2.35 or before
    5. create a fonts folder in the Indesign folder
    6. copy the fonts into that folder also.

    Now Arial Narrow and Black are listed as their own fonts not under the general font face of Arial.

  • John says:

    I have XP Pro and Office 2003, but the Arial Narrow still shows up under Arial.

    What gives?

  • Jeremy says:

    OK I found a solution that actually works … download the OLD Arial Narrow fonts from this website and replace them in your Windows Fonts folder and in C:Program FilesCommon FilesAdobeFonts:

    Hope that helps!

  • Old Jeremy says:

    (That’s a different Jeremy from little old me!)

  • Carolyn says:

    Craig & Jeremy – thanks to you!! :)
    What an easy fix. I actually combined Craig’s and Jeremy’s fixes. I d/l’d the file Jeremy linked to and extracted the fonts. It extracts to 4 Arial Narrow fonts version 2.37. I removed the adobefnt*.lst files from the Program Files/Common Files folder, then removed the Arial Narrow fonts from my windows font folder and used the 2.37 versions (even those were the same version I had installed before) and everything is great.

    Thanks to both of you!

  • Dottie says:

    You guys rock! I was about to loose my mind fixing the Arial fonts.. Thank you thank you thank you

  • Simon says:

    For those having issues it might also be worthwhile remembering to go into advanced options when searching and making sure that ‘Search hidden files and folders’ and ‘Search system folders’ are selected.

  • Brandon Rome says:

    Very helpful article – The company I work for uses Arial Narrow Bold in their logo and didn’t originally convert it to a shape (which is fine until I need to do something unique w/ the logo).

    This article solved my problem after upgrading to Windows 7 / Office 2007, thanks! :)

  • cjstone says:

    I’m having this problem now after changing hardware. I downloaded the hotfix, which should have been part of patches I put on years ago, and when I booted it, it said it “didn’t find the expected version of the product”.

    Any advice some 54 computer-years later?


  • cjstone says:

    OK, I did the “download old fonts and delete adobefnt*.lst”, and that worked for the Narrow fonts. I, like someone else here, am still having problems with Arial Black.

    Your advice here.


  • Bob Levine says:

    Not enough details to tell. What operating system?

  • Anne says:

    I too have tried all the fixes: Hotfix; deleting adobefnt*.lst files; reloading fonts. I’m running CS5 (7.0) on Windows XP SP 3. When I try to run the hotfix, I get an error message that says the appropriate version was not found. Any other suggestions? I need to have Arial Narrow: italic, bold, bold italic, regular, as those are used in our employee newsletter.

  • Bob Levine says:

    Have you tried copying the fonts to the InDesign fonts folder?

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