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JimD's picture
2610 pencils

Font Management: Apple Font Book


The following is the second installment of a 3-part series on font management applications. Part one covered FontAgent Pro from Insider Software.

Apple graciously provided some form of font management in OSX with Font Book. Alec Fromm, a Canadian designer and small business owner, offered to post his findings and experience using Font Book in a professional environment.

Read the rest of the story here.

Note from Jim: While I've used Apple's Font Book in the past, I never really gave it an honest chance, so I was surprised to read Alec's findings. If you haven't tried Font Book in a while, read up on it and give it a whirl.

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Commenting on this Blog entry will be automatically closed on September 2, 2005.

Ivan's picture

I would like to use FontBook, because I did exerience small problems using Suitcase since Tiger. But, what about the issue that apparently FontBook physically moves the fonts unlike Suitcase which only activates them and physically leaves them in place.

I usually keep fonts together with projects and activate fonts temporarily from Suitacase. I don't want FontBook to physically move my fonts.

JimD's picture
2610 pencils

It's one of the things I dislike about Font Boook.

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jethrobandit's picture
1 pencil

I've loaded my entire Adobe Type Library into Font Book after becoming increasingly frustrated with Suitcase. I created libraries A-Z to house all the fonts and created a base collection to be used on start up. I keep my font library in a separate location in the main file directory and none of my fonts were moved to any of the various font folders. The only thing my font folders contain are the various system fonts that have always been there. There is a fontcollections folder in the user folder that contains the references to the collections and libraries I've created.

The only issues I've really run up against are the fact that if I restart, Font Book has to essentially re-load all the fonts. Not sure why it has to do that, but it takes a couple of minutes to finish. The other is no auto-activation which was extremely flakey with Suitcase anyway. The final issue is that to activate a font within a program like photoshop or flash, you have to quit and restart the app to get it available. Again, I had to do that in Suitcase some too, but seems to be a requirement with Font Book.

Otherwise, the interface and organization simplicity of Font Book beats all the other apps to pieces. So much easier. And with the CreativeGuy's suggestion to use Font Card for menu organization, this has become a nice solution.

mijlee's picture
502 pencils

I still don't see any reason to replace Suitcase with Font Book in a professional environment. It is the main reason that I have yet to upgrade to Tiger, I won't until I know that my fonts are going to be safe.

The lack of auto activation and the moving font issue mentioned above are the 2 main reasons, but it is also too sluggish and the idea of having to activate fonts in small sets is just a nightmare. I have tried it at home, but ended up buying Suitcase for myself because it was just too painful.


JimD's picture
2610 pencils

As to using Font Book in a pro environment, consider that not everyone has Suitcase already. There are new designers every day and they have to start somewhere. There are also plenty of designers like me who after 20+ years are sick and tired of paying upgrade fees for bug-fixes.

As to using Suitcase in Tiger, I've been using Suitcase in Tiger with no issues at all. It works perfectly fine. Well, that is if you don't have Adobe CS2 installed. Suitcase Auto-Activation doesn't work with any of the new CS2 apps as of yet, though they are working on yet another update.

I will be doing a review of Suitcase for the 3rd installment of this series... probably in a week or so.

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Josh's picture
154 pencils

I don't have gazillions of fonts, and don't have much trouble when it comes to font management. For my case, fontbook works great.

Josh Stevens | Nautilus7 Design
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Korteenea's picture
207 pencils

I have to agree. We use Fontbook in classes and have had no Fontbook-related problems.

The only issues we run into are "stupid human" problems, such as students not paying attention to the teachers when they tell them how Fontbook works. They try to activate all of the fonts available in Font Folio 9, which means those fonts need to be transferred off the network and ultimately they end up corrupting their user profiles, which I'd have to go and rebuild for them. Not a pretty sight. But if they listen, then they know that although we have thousands of fonts available for them to use, they're only supposed to load the ones they need at any given time!

webdav's picture
22 pencils

I have thousands of typefaces, somewhere around 3000. (No, I don't really use them all, and can't even explain why I keep them around.) After hearing about the FontBook upgrades in Tiger, and not being 100% satisfied with Suitcase X11, I tried FontBook again.

It locked up my computer for hours moving fonts around. Got to the point I force-quit and had to use Font Finagler to fix what it had done. Back to Suitcase for now...

suborior's picture
133 pencils

Curious. Maybe its because I only recently started using OSX as my primary design/dev machine, or that I"m lazy, but I never felt the need to "manage" my fonts. I just install them and select them when I need them.

- Jeff Yamada

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