What is the best way to manage fonts?

IP's picture

Now I am surely to awake the wrath of those who dislike the typography 101 questions. :) But I want a solid answer from those that should know the answer best.

What is the best way to manage fonts? What should the program entail? Which one, where to purchase it etc.

Paul Cutler's picture

Linotype Font Explorer works really well and it's free. Mac only though.

You can download it from the Linotype site.


noftus's picture

Yeah, the Windows version has been "Coming soon" for close to 2 years now. Being careful not to complain about free software, but saying something is coming soon for 2 years, leaves a very bitter taste in the mouth. Don't imply something is close to being done, if it is not.

Proxima Software's FontExpert is excellent for PC. There's a free 30 day trial too.

Sebastian Nagel's picture

But if we were waiting for 2 years, it can't be long anymore ;-)
*using ATM-deluxe*

Paul Cutler's picture

ATM Deluxe - now that brings back memories.

I loved that piece of software and was so disappointed when Adobe dropped Mac support.

But I think Linotype has topped it.

In the interim I tried Suitcase and Font Agent Pro and experienced way too many difficulties.

Thanks Linotype!


circehouse's picture

I really dislike font managers—everyone i've ever used has ended up conflicting with something, whether it's browser problems, design software or word processing, they all screw up eventually. I prefer to go the manual route, adding and deleting as I hone my preference. For previewing I use the art directors toolkit, which is useful for so many things.


printninja's picture

Bitsteam Font Navigator for the PC is great. It will build a catalog of all fonts on your drive (ONCE, not every time it opens) and then present you with four, logical panes: Uninstalled, Installed, Groups and a preview pane. From there it's all drag & drop. It handles truetype, Type 1 and Opentype.

Now here's the trick... you get it for free with CorelDraw. If you want to TRY it, you can download the CorelDraw 12 thirty day tryout from Corel's website, and by carefully selecting features install ONLY Font Navigator. Unlike CorelDraw, Font navigator does not disable itself after 30 days, so it's up to you to remove it when you're done trying it out.

Sebastian Nagel's picture

I tried Bitstreams Font Navigator (before my system hard disc crashed and I had to reinstall), and I quite liked it, but I didn't install it yet again.

What I did miss: If I mark several fonts in the list, I'd like to see a preview of each one simultaneously. Is this possble with Font Navigator? I couldn't find it then...

printninja's picture

Unfortunately, Bitstream FN does not allow you to preview multiple fonts. This is a REALLY desireable feature, too, because it makes it easier to compare fonts, and to find specific typefaces.

In fact, it's the #1 reason I've yet to find any font navigator I can call perfect. My ideal font navigator would:

1) Build a database of all fonts (installed & uninstalled) on a given system, so it doesn't have to "read" the font files each time it's run. Of course, from time-to-time you'd have to manually update it.
2) Allow you to show as many, or few fonts on screen at a time, by file name, font name, or group, etc.
3) Allow you to set the display text and size to anything you want.
4) Display the full file location, no matter how long the directory nest.

#1) is the most important because when you have large libraries of fonts, you want to be able to get access quickly.

Bitstream FN does 1) fairly well, parts of 3) & 4) and 2) not at all. I used to like HP's Fontsmart (discontinued), but it wasn't perfect either.

PCLicious's picture

Hmm, the best way to manage fonts without spending a dime is with AMP Font Viewer. I have used the old font manager from Adobe to others and nothing tops this program to me. The best feature I like is the install temporary fonts. I can load and unload a font on a need to use basis without loading up 2000 fonts slowing down my PhotoShop. This is a Windows only program though.

Well I can show you better than tell you if you watch this video: How To Manage Fonts Free And Easily!

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