Font Management - Mac OSX


Mac OS X can use a wide range of font formats, including TrueType, PostScript Type 1 and OpenType, but some older PostScript Type 1 and bitmapped fonts cause problems.

• Whenever possible, use newer fonts with Unicode encoding so they will be consistent. Mac OS X uses Unicode for all text.

• Don't tamper with the contents of your !System/Library/Fonts folder, as it will cause problems and can stop applications working.

• Microsoft Office X and 2004 can leave old fonts in standard font folders. Clean these up to pre-empt conflicts.

• Unless you always use the same, vanilla set of fonts, consider using a font manager.

• Conflicts occur when two or more activated fonts share the same internal font name. Use a font manager, even if only Font Book, to resolve them.

• If you need to install a custom version of Helvetica or any other system font, use a good font manager such as Suitcase Fusion.


Managing your fonts
With popular applications such as Microsoft Office installing their own fonts, all users needs to understand how to manage fonts properly. The Mac was the first popular computer to use high-quality display fonts, and although this has become considerably more complex since then, there's no reason why fonts and their management should get in the way of your work. However, this complexity makes it easy for human errors and errant software to cause problems. Font-related issues are commonly encountered in Help's Q&A, sometimes reaching the point where they have rendered Macs unstable or unusable.

Mac OS X is remarkably catholic in its taste for fonts, coping comfortably with a wide range of formats. Those that can cause problems include old bitmapped, very old PostScript Type 1 and 3, and some Windows and Linux PostScript Type 1 fonts. Although you're unlikely to install any of these yourself, they can leak across when you let the Migration Manager upgrade a new Mac from an old system, or when upgrading Mac OS X. TrueType fonts for Macs and Windows, including Unicode variants with a .dfont file extension, generally work well and are the antecedents of the OpenType format. Those that remain based on 8-bit (non-Unicode) encoding should be avoided where possible, as Mac OS X works natively in Unicode, which they can't fully support.
However, system software maps their limited character set into the vast Unicode world fairly reliably. If you experience problems with such old fonts, you should try to upgrade them to a Unicode version or switch to the nearest modern equivalent sporting proper Unicode support.

Mac PostScript Type 1 and derivative Multiple Master fonts have long been tools of the professional, and have excelled when used with PostScript output devices. Using a subset of the PostScript graphics language, they are weakly encrypted and have 8-bit encoding that can extend (in special fonts) to cover some non-Roman writing systems.
Multiple Master fonts provide additional information that allows applications such as Acrobat to generate modified intermediate glvphs -for example, to create a substitute for an original font that isn't available. Although Mac OS X still has good support for Type 1 fonts, they are being superseded by the more universal OpenType.
OpenType is the direct descendant of TrueType, but compromises by including a Compact Font Format (CFF) variant that's a modern encapsulation of PostScript Type

Using Unicode encoding and being truly cross platform, OpenType fonts have greatest compatibility with everything in Snow Leopard. They also support advanced typographic features that can enhance Roman scripting and help cope with non-Roman character sets, although purists consider them inferior to the features in Apple Advanced Typography (AAT).
Mac OS Classic dealt with fonts using ID numbers, which not only limited the totalnumber of fonts, but predisposed the system to conflicts. Mac OS X works instead with font names not necessarily those that appear in the Font menu, but internal names that can also result in conflicts. Forexample, if you have two fonts installed that are visibly named 'Symbol' and 'New Symbol', but both present themselves to Mac OS X with the internal name of 'Symbol', there is no robust way to resolve references to that font.
This is an issue that's common to other font handling systems, including HTML, PostScript and PDF, so should have resulted in regulation of internal font names. Alas, though, there are some rogue fonts and common conflicts. If possible, purchase fonts that you know have distinct internal names to keep your life simple.
Fonts that are crucial to the operation of Mac OS Xare normally stored in /System/ Library/Fonts, and you should avoid tampering with its contents if you want your Mac to work reliably. Problems can arise when you want to install higher-Quality or customised versions of those fonts, particularly Helvetica. Unfortunately, Apple's Helvetica will conflict with a third-party Helvetica font that you might want to install. If you try to remove Helvetica from /System/Library/Fonts in Snow Leopard, because it's a protected font, Mac OS X will only re-install it when you next restart. If you must use a different Helvetica (or any other protected font), there's an elaborate process that you can work through, detailed by Kurt tang at jklstudios.com/misc/osx{onts.html. However, this is probably a strong indication for using a font manager such as Suitcase Fusion, which can allow you to use a different Helvetica font with much less pain and grief.
If you remove Helvetica, several everyday applications will fail to launch and you could waste a lot of time trying to work out why. All other fonts should normally be installed in /Library/Fonts, which makes them accessible to every user. If you really want just one user to be able to access a font, then it should be installed in IV/Library/Fonts, and there's always the /Network/Library/Fonts folder for those delivered over a network.
Microsoft Office for Mac installs its own fonts, each version differing in how friendly this is. Office X broke the rules and used the /System/Library/Fonts folder, making them a pain to remove and sometimes leaving them hanging around through later migrations. Office 2004 was more friendly in opting for /Library/Fonts, or sometimes IV/Library/Fonts, but this has made migration issues worse. Even now, it's worth checking through those folders to clean out any residue from a long forgotten Office 2004 installation. Thankfully, Office 2008 uses its own Microsoft folder in /Library/Fonts, making maintenance and migration much simpler.
Early releases of Mac OS X were limited in the number of fonts that they could handle well, which made third-party font management valuable for those who worked with hundreds of different fonts. Snow Leopard has no practical limit, so you can readily implement your own font management system for free. In each of the Library folders, create a folder named Fonts (Disabled), and use that to contain those fonts that you seldom use. With the bundled utility Font Book, create your own custom font sets, and use it to spot and deal with duplicate and faulty fonts.
If you do decide that a full-blown font manager is worthwhile, it's important to ensure that you only have one active on your Mac at any time. Tryingto run two or more at the same time is a good way of getting them to trip over one another and potentially cause weird problems. You should also leave it to your font manager to do all the work, and not try to make its life easier by manually tinkering with your fonts.
Although Font Book may not appear to be much of a font manager, it works with font sets and can make a nuisance of itself if left in place when another manager is active. To remove it, trash (or compress into an archive) the Font Book application, then restart with the Shift key held down until your logln dialog appears; the latter removes Font Book's database and cache files. You should then remove system font caches using a cache cleaning utility, a special tool such as Extensis FontDoctor, or with the Terminal command sudo atsutil databases -remove, and immediately restart your Mac.


Font Book and FontExplorer
Font Book (bundled free with Mac OS X) has perhaps touch of all the font manager~), and you may not ve realised that it can be used to manage fonts beyond simply carrying out checks for duplicates and defects. However, recent versions of it has also supported the creation of font libraries outside the standard Font folders giving you the option of copying new into standard folders or leaving them in your own library folder.
Despite appearing not to be a font manager, Font Book's database can become confused or move fonts to or from its library , including the standard folders. If this happens, you'll need to restart with the Shift key held down until th dialog appears. Youmay need to flush the system font ca o. Font Book can trip up other font managers, so perform this sequence to deactivate it before installing another manager.
FontExplorerXPro, from fontexpJorerx.com) had a similar start as a popular free font utility, but has steadily grown into a sound font manager for all bar the most demanding of users; for the latter there's even a server edition available. Unlike Font Book, when FontExplorerdetects confli it gives you a clear choice as to which font to activate and which to suppress. It has a f complete set of features, including font sets, activation in place or coupled with moving. Although earlier versions were claimed to be unreliable in auto-activating newly added fonts, this has improved in most recent versions. It also links in with the Linotype font library, so if you're ;already a customer it's an obvious first choice.












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