{ ? } - How to make a 'one-click-installs-all' fontfamily

Rene Verkaart's picture

I don't know how this is called so I hope you understand my explaination.
Sometimes I get font families that have just one fontfile to click on and install the complete family. Sometimes all the font weights are separate files that you'd need to click them all in order to install.
For some reason the FFIL files are linked together and I don't understand how this works. If I knew how this phenomenia is called, I could Google for it.

How do I make a font family that has one fontfile and by clicking on that it installs the complete family?


ralf h.'s picture

It's called a font suitcase and you can generate in FontLab with »Generate Font Suitcase«. But I think it is limited to Mac TrueType and Type1 and also only works for small families.


Vertex's picture

I don't know if this is what you are looking for - I did'nt try it. Take at least a look:


/* Vertex */

Rene Verkaart's picture

Ralf, I think that works well if you have the naming right and create the 4 'classical' weigths. But it's not just limited to small families. I bought Helvetica Neue which has 52 files in it, and this has just one FFIL suitcase.

Under OS9, if I remember correctly, you could just drag-and-drop other suitcases into one and creacte a family suitcase.


Choz Cunningham's picture

There is something similar called a TrueType Collection, as well, for the TrueType/OpenType side of things.

ends in .TTC and can be dragged over to the x:\windows\fonts\ like a single font.


Rene Verkaart's picture

Does really nobody know how this is called or how it works? Ok, I also don't know it, but I'm one against millions of type experts out there. Come on... humor me. ;-)


Choz Cunningham's picture

Millions? :)

Mark Simonson's picture

A Mac font suitcase (labeled FFIL in OS X) can have a large number of either TrueType or NFNT resources in it. An NFNT is a Mac bitmap font originally known as "screen fonts." With PostScript Type 1 fonts, you need for each font both an NFNT (which also contains the kerning and other info) and a separate PostScript outline font file (originally called "printer fonts").

(Note: The font suitcase is actually a special kind of file called a resource file. These are structured differently than ordinary computer files, and in fact cannot be read on other operating systems such as Windows and UNIX.)

So, it is possible to put a large font family into a single font suitcase. However, this only works with Mac TrueType fonts. With PostScript Type 1 fonts, you could do the same thing with the "screen fonts," but you would still need a separate file for the outline portion of the font. If your Helvetica Neue font were PostScript Type 1, it would need at minimum 53 files--one for the font suitcase plus 52 outline font files.

You're right that OS 9 and earlier allowed you to move fonts in and out of font suitcases easily in the Finder, the same way you can move files in and out of folders. For some reason, this facility was not carried forward to OS X. I think some of the font management utilities have this ability, though.

Mark Simonson's picture

By the way, my understanding of the .ttc format is that it only works with TrueType-flavored OpenType fonts and only works on Windows (so far).

Rene Verkaart's picture

Mark, that sounds very good. I'll give it a spin later on.

It's shitty though that they didn't carry that forward to OS X. Normally I install the fonts by just clicking on the FFIL file. This either opens all the font files or just the one I clicked on. I believe the Helvetica Neue opens all the fonts at once to install.


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