New Font Utilities for OS X

October 4, 2005 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new

Almost a full year ago, I wrote a DesignGeek story about how to edit screen font suitcases in OS X:
http://designgeek.com/designgeek31.php

I said there were two choices: Morrison Software's FontDoctor, and <ack> Font/DA Mover 4.1, old old Macintosh system software that runs in Classic.

Both solutions are still viable … but let's leave Font/DA Mover behind, shall we? I can't remember the last time I booted Classic. Luckily, FontDoctor is up to version 7 and is available for Windows, too. The Mac version costs $69.99 and the Windows version only $49.99, for some reason:
http://morrisonsoftdesign.com/with_fl/index-1.html

But what I find exciting is that Insider Software, the makers of the highly-regarded font management utility, FontAgent Pro, came out with their own Suitcase Editor a couple weeks ago:

Font Smasher for OS X
http://www.insidersoftware.com/SM.php

Font Smasher lets you open up screen font suitcases and edit them in OS X, which is fantastic by itself. But Insider is a cool company, so they took it further … Smasher matches screen to printer fonts, checks fonts for corruption (if they accept a bribe, it reports them to Internal Affairs — amazing), cleans up flaky font caches from OS X, Adobe, Microsoft and QuarkXPress, previews fonts, and more.

If you currently own FontAgent Pro, there's a limited time offer to purchase Font Smasher for $24.95; otherwise, it's $49.95. You can download it directly from their site and start fixing your font suitcases today.

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Linotype's Free Font Management App
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What is it with September and fonts? Last month also saw Linotype's beta-ish release of FontExplorer X, a free font management utility for OS X (Windows version coming soon):
http://www.linotype.com/fontexplorerX

The features look good — even does auto-activation without a plug-in — and the price is certainly right. I haven't tried it myself, but lots of designers on the online forums have and so far they're reporting good news.

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Apple's New Quicktime Movie on Font Management
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Apple's web site has a few free online seminars — Quicktime-based tutorials that you have to register for, for some reason — on topics of interest to designers. The one that I took a look at last week was a new one promisingly called Font Management for Creative Professionals:
http://seminars.apple.com/seminarsonline/fontmgmt/apple/index.html?s=203

After going through the dumb process of multiple registration screens, as though it were a live seminar you had to reserve a seat for, I arrived at the Quicktime videos for the font seminar. There's three of them, actually: One from Apple about font management in OS X, one from Extensis on using Suitcase, and one from Insider Software (see above) on using FontAgent Pro.

The one from Apple is interesting; it gets slightly risqué ("Design professionals will probably want to replace some of the fonts Apple installs in System > Fonts with their own versions , here's how you do that") but it doesn't go deep enough. For example, the guy never mentions which of those System fonts *cannot* be replaced without hobbling your system. He just goes on to the next topic.

Another example: Watch as the Apple guy reveals that Adobe installs fonts into its own Fonts folder (in /Application Support/Adobe/Fonts), and hey, to make them available to "non-Adobe programs like Microsoft Word, Macromedia Dreamweaver or QuarkXPress" (!), just move them into one of OS X's Library/Fonts folders. But he doesn't mention that you should leave Adobe's "Reqrd" folder there (easy to miss because it's mixed in with all the fonts), otherwise Adobe apps won't work. So caveat viewor.

The videos by Extensis and Insider are well done and really help explain how their products work, and how they integrate with OS X's own font management system. I liked them.

You can see a list of all the design-related Apple online seminars here:
http://seminars.apple.com/seminarsonline/index.html

  

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