25 Font Management Tools Reviewed


If you are one of those people who work with fonts on regular basis, then choosing, comparing and analyzing fonts is a serious business for you. Font management is not always as easy as a walk on the cake. Font management issues like installing and uninstalling fonts, handling missing fonts, taking care of font conflicts always keep graphic designers and typographers on their toes.

Also hundreds or thousands of fonts activated on the system can use up considerable amount of system resources which in turn reduces efficiency and productivity. Mac, Windows and Linux platforms have their own font management utilities, but these utilities are not sufficient in a specialized or professional environment. This is where professional font management tools come to the rescue.

Below we have reviewed 25 free/commercial font managers for Mac, Windows and Linux. Which one do you use and why? Your favourite tool is missing? Let us know in the comments!

Suitcase (Win) / Suitcase Fusion (Mac)

Suitcase Fusion1

Suitcase Fusion2 (Mac) and Suitcase3 (Win) are powerful, quick and clever font managers which have a simple and an intuitive user interface.

While previous versions of Suitcase created a database of information about your fonts, the fonts remained in their original location. You still have this option in Suitcase Fusion but also have the option to collect your fonts in a structured and secure repository called the Font Vault. The Font Vault gives users much more control over their fonts, eliminating unnecessary font conflicts, duplicate font issues and providing easy access to your own library.

Suitcase ensures you have the exact version of the font you need and prevents potential font wrecks (due to missing or substituted fonts. It also keeps fonts in one, secure location – easy to find and back-up. It also offers auto-activation: only the fonts you need are activated when you open a document and deactivated when you close.

With both Suitcase Fusion and Suitcase for Windows you get FontDoctor. FontDoctor is a professional software tool that takes the work out of locating, diagnosing and repairing the most common font problems, so you can stay focused on the task at hand. Suitcase Fusion price starts at $99.95. Suitcase Fusion is for Mac and PC.

Main features:

  • Easy-To-Use interface
  • Organization with font sets
  • Font previews
  • Font Sense, the most advanced font matching technology available, that allows for a deep level of font analysis when identifying fonts for auto-activation using multiple criteria—font type, foundry, version, etc.
  • Keeping font library secure and organized
  • Font auto-activation
  • Windows Vista compatible
  • Powerful font diagnosis and repair
  • Font Doctor (free with purchase)

Linotype FontExplorer X (Win / Mac, free)

Linotype FontExplorer X4

What makes Linotype FontExplorer X5 really different, is the integration of an online store which lets you browse through fonts you are considering for purchasing. Hence, you can examine and compare fonts inside FontExplorer X’s online store as if they were installed on your system. The tool combines font management, font sorting, font shopping and font discovery in one user-friendly interface.

You can organize your fonts using a library, folders, tags and smart sets. That makes it easy to find all typefaces from a certain foundry, all italics or all fonts tagged with a certain keyword.

Auto-activation enables you to you decide which applications may request fonts, and which may not. Plugins for popular DTP apps like Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator and Quark XPress are available as well. You can examine the complete character set, inform yourself about the legal stuff or just see a few sample paragraphs to know what a font looks like in real-life context.

Finally, you can enable/disable fonts, clear font caches, have a typeface family view, export font information as image/zip/disk image, missing font handling, document font scanner and Growl support. Supported languages are currently English and German. Linotype FontExplorer X is free. The Win-version6 is released as Beta (currently not available for download), the Mac-version7 is stable.

Main features:

  • Powerful font management
  • Built-in online store
  • Auto-activation
  • System integration (Spotlight support)
  • Missing font handling (system-wide auto-activation of fonts)
  • Conflict Handling
  • Document font scanner
  • Growl support

MasterJuggler (Mac)


A distinctive feature of MasterJuggler9 is its ability to store fonts anywhere and share them over a network. Hence, you can store your fonts in any folder on any drive and access them from removable media.

With MasterJuggler you can organize fonts in custom sets to work with the fonts you need for your current tasks. You can also preview multiple fonts and sizes with full Unicode support and view a font’s entire Unicode glyph map to find the exact glyph you want. It is possible to create your own sample strings for display. You can customize the MasterJuggler toolbar to include the commands you use most often. The pricing starts at $89.95.

Main features:

  • Drag’n’drop support
  • Support of PostScript, TrueType, OpenType and bitmap fonts
  • Font management via drag’n’drop
  • You can store and access fonts anywhere
  • Organize fonts in custom sets
  • Activate fonts either temporarily or permanently
  • Preview multiple fonts and sizes with full Unicode support
  • Glyph maps
  • Examine fonts for corruption with the integrated Font Guardian
  • Automate your workflow with AppleScript support

Font Safari (Mac)


Font Safari11 includes support for multiple language keyboard shortcuts and string encodings. You can view all of the characters in the font and simulate the font in alternative encodings such as Mac Roman, Windows ANSI, Unicode and other common text encodings.

You also can get keyboard shortcut information about all the characters of a specified font, view single characters or the whole glyph table. The pricing starts at $15.00. A trial version is available as well. If you are looking for a simple font previewing and testing tool without overwhelming advanced features, this tool is one of the first to be considered.

FontCard (Mac)


Font Card13 is a haxie that modifies the Font menu and the font panel in Carbon and Cocoa applications. It can add an icon that displays the format of a font next to the font menu item or font panel list, display the font name in the font face, group fonts into submenus, and add third party font collections to the font menu and font panel.

You can view third party font collections (Insider Software’s FontAgent Pro, LinoType’s FontExplorer X, and Extensis’ Suitcase Fusion). The pricing starts at US $17.00. A trial-version is available.

Main features:

  • View third party font collections
  • View the Font Panel with each font displayed using its own typeface (WYSIWYG Font Menu)
  • Reveal the font in the Finder from the menu
  • View font collections in the Font menu
  • View previews of inactive fonts contained in third party font sets directly from the font menu
  • Mark and reveal duplicate fonts;
  • Easy to configure as it comes in usual Preference Pane form, accessible through System Preferences.

Font Pilot (Mac)

Font Pilot14

Font Pilot15 allows you to browse an entire folder of fonts that are not installed with a compact visual preview. While viewing the slideshow, you can simply click on the install button at any time to have that font permanently installed and activated.

You can view and print a character map, view fonts by file or family, reveal fonts in the Finder, use Mac & PC key combos to produce characters and view invisible fonts. The pricing starts at $15.95.

FontAgent Pro 4 (Mac)


FontAgent Pro17 is supposed to be the world’s smartest font manager. Its Smart Activation function integrating in documents and determines precisely the fonts you need. The built-in MagicMatch agent ranks the fonts you may want to use in the future and suggests alternatives.

All fonts are categorized automatically, so you can view and search fonts by category or create custom classes to search later. Finally, you can also use multiple criteria to filter the fonts you need: search by name, format, foundry, type, weight, proportion and angle is possible. It is also possible to automate your tasks and workflow with AppleScripts.

What is really interesting is FontAgent’s ability to create separate font sets for projects and clients and store these fonts in separate libraries from your main fonts directory. The pricing starts at $ 99.95.

Main features:

  • View fonts in Player, Compare, Waterfall and Data views
  • Activate and deactivate fonts automatically or manually
  • Share font specimens and sample books
  • Create nested sets for projects and clients
  • Store client fonts in separate libraries from your fonts

Fontcase (Mac)


A yet to come Font Manager, Fontcase19 looks exciting and enticing. The tool lets you create smart collections for your fonts and share your library using Bonjour. It also lets you view the full Udenicode table for each font in your library and view the html entities for all glyphs.

You will have the power to view both installed and non-installed fonts by icons, lists or Preview lists. You can also tag your fonts and quickly filter or search your library to find exactly the fonts you are looking for. Currently you can only subscribe to a newsletter. Price: unknown.

Main features:

  • Unicode glyph table
  • Smart collections using Bonjour
  • Tagging and filtering fonts is easy
  • Preview of both installed and non-installed fonts

Typograf (Win)


Typograf21 is one of the most detailed font managers out there. It displays all OpenType, TrueType, Type 1 fonts as well as printer fonts and raster or bitmap fonts on hard drives, DVD, CD, opticals, floppies or specific folders – including all subfolders.

The tool can display a variety of font properties such as typeface classification by PANOSE system, IBM Font Classes or the Windows internal metric structure and kerning pairs. You can find related fonts based on typeface classifications and compare various fonts using tables that show major font features, file data, character width, number of kerning pairs. It makes Typography a useful tool for typographers.

It also, of course, includes the standard font file management functions. The pricing starts at $35. A trial-version is available.

Main features:

  • View and preview fonts (OpenType, TrueType, Type1, Printer fonts, Raster or bitmap fonts)
  • Displays all font properties
  • Advanced tool for comparing fonts
  • Print fonts and specimens
  • Font management
  • Manage fonts in database and font groups
  • TrueType and Type 1 References, Typeface classifications

FontExpert 2007 (Win)

FontExpert 200722

Apart from a usual suite of font management features, FontExpert 200723 offers you the ability to assign keywords, categories, ratings and captions in the tags view, print fonts, search for duplicates and corrupted fonts as well as examine your system for font errors. You can also export fonts to HTML (example24) and add Open, Print and Install font custom menu commands to Windows Explorer context menu.

FontExpert can create face sample images having custom width, height, color and file format (BMP, GIF, JPEG, TIFF, PNG). It can manage and print PostScript, TrueType, OpenType and raster fonts.

It is easy to manage any typefaces that are shown in any view of the program. You can sort, filter, preview fonts, copy, move, delete font files, activate or deactivate fonts, add or link fonts to font groups (sets). The program can work with fonts located in the Windows Fonts and Psfonts folder (used by Adobe Type Manager), so you do not need to remove fonts from standard folders as some font managers require. The pricing starts at US $59.00. A trial-version is available for free download.

Main features:

  • View and preview fonts (installed or stored on local drives)
  • Assign tags, ratings and categories to fonts
  • Search for duplicates and corrupted fonts
  • Organize fonts in groups (sets)
  • Activate and deactivate groups of fonts with one click
  • Print character maps of selected fonts; you can generate templates with page headers and footers manually
  • Examine your system for font errors
  • Export to HTML
  • Automatic activation of missing fonts (includes Missing Fonts Loader plug-in for Adobe InDesign CS2 and Adobe InDesign CS3)
  • Windows Shell Extensions (adds font management capabilities to the shell so it is easy to activate or print any font in a folder you browse in Windows Explorer)

Advanced Font Viewer (Win)

Advanced Font Viewer25

If you are choosing a font for printed materials, you can use Advanced Font Viewer26 to print out the list and make your choice according to the real conditions of font usage. Designers who want to accurately compare patterns of several fonts that look similar, may create collection of fonts. An interesting feature of the tool is its ability to let users view previously uninstalled fonts and to install them.

You can also print list with type specimens, remove fonts duplicates and fix registry fonts problems. The export to HTML is possible as well and you can also print out list of uninstalled fonts. The pricing starts at $49.95. A trial-version is available.

Opcion (Win / Mac / Solaris / Linux, free)


Opcion Font Viewer28 is a free open source font viewer written in Java. You can view installed and uninstalled fonts, mark fonts as favourite and preview fonts with a customizable sample/display text. Opcion is a very basic and simple font management tool. Its main advantage lies in the fact that it will work on all platforms. Hence, in case you need to look a font up, it may be the optimal quick’n’dirty solution.

The tool provides a default view that allows you to view one font at a time, and a list view which allows you to view multiple fonts at a time. The favourites list can then be saved for future reference or used in finding out the file names of fonts you wish to install. Opcion Font Viewer requires Java 1.4.0+ to run.

Font Frenzy (Win, free)

Font Frenzy29

The special FrenzySnap30 function enables you to establish “restore points” and re-install the fonts that were in your system on a specific date. The “DeFrenzy”-function removes all fonts except those originally shipped with Windows XP or Vista, or to a previous snapshot. You can specify a folder where all removed fonts will be stored. FontFrenzy is fully-functional freeware – with the nag screen easily removed after a quick registration.

Main features:

  • Save a snapshot of your fonts folder that you can use as a restore point
  • Re-install fonts quickly and easily from a previous snapshot
  • View your font list at any point-size using a customizable test phrase
  • View a sample of each font in a pop-up window including every upper- and lower-case character and numbers
  • User-friendly font manager allows you to add new fonts, delete, or unload and store selected fonts
  • View all fonts from a specified folder.

Font Xplorer (Win, free)

Font Xplorer31

Font Xplorer32 has the ability to browse both installed and not installed fonts from the local disk. Some other prominent features include renaming font files to use a font’s full name with undo support (i.e. arialbi.ttf to Arial Bold Italic.ttf). A resizable character map that shows all a font’s scripts and allows you to zoom in on any character. You can even copy a symbol to the clipboard as a vector image or rich text. You can also filter fonts by character set so you only see symbol fonts.

Font Xplorer does not support Adobe Type 1 fonts and OpenType fonts with PostScript outlines. It works with TrueType and OpenType fonts that have TrueType outlines. The application is freeware.

Main features:

  • Browse both installed and not installed TrueType fonts from disk
  • Print pre-designed, professional sample sheets and font listings
  • Filter fonts by character set
  • Integrated Repair Wizard solves most common problems with fonts
  • Extensive support for calling external programs. Plus support for different variables in callable command lines

MainType (Win)


MainType34 is an universal font management tool for both novice users and advanced graphic designers and typographers. In order to find the right fonts for your needs, the software includes filter and sort functionality. The main information about the font, such as its properties, supported characters, font type etc. are displayed in a font information pane. A groups pane helps you quickly organize all your fonts.

MainType is a drag’n’drop font manager that offers a straightforward and easy-to-use interface to help you find, preview, organize, install and print your fonts. The tool works with TrueType, OpenType, TrueType Collections, Postscript Type 1, vector and raster fonts.

It also allows you to generate an HTML-based overview of any of your fonts, print reports and export the font information. The latest release includes the ability to type a preview text into the Font drop-down list, a character zoom popup window and more predefined font variables. The price starts at $49.00. Trial-versions are available for free download.

Main features:

  • Install, uninstall, load and unload fonts
  • Preview and browse fonts on any drive or directory without installation
  • Full Unicode support
  • Character grid with Unicode block navigation
  • Print and print preview your fonts
  • Support all popular font formats and more: TrueType, OpenType, TrueType Collections, Postscript Type 1, Vector and Raster fonts
  • Drag and drop support
  • Font export wizard generates a HTML-based overview of all your fonts

The Font Thing (Win, free)

The Font Thing35

The Font Thing36 is a legacy, a still very popular freeware program for managing TrueType fonts in Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0. You can browse installed and uninstalled TrueType fonts, viewing sample text, individual characters, and detailed font information.

Easy font-management functions let you install, uninstall, print, copy, or delete any number of fonts at once. You can also store your own notes with them, filter them according to type (serif, sans serif, and so on), and group them into collections for convenience. Users can rename font files to avoid conflicts, and load fonts temporarily for use without installing them.

AMP Font Viewer 3.82 (Win, free)

AMP Font Viewer 3.8237

AMP Font Viewer 3.8238 is a simple free font manager, which allows getting a quick overview of both installed and non installed fonts. You can install fonts from a folder into the system or temporarily (until the program is closed). There are also standard options for organizing fonts in categories and managing them.

You can print a list of all or some of the installed fonts with an example of each font. The applicationhas a Scratchpad area for testing the look of any font. You can also group and categorize your favourite fonts. AMP Font Viewer is free and comes in a dual English/Spanish version.

Main features:

  • Support for TrueType, OpenType and Type1 fonts
  • Installation of fonts from a folder (one by one or from a list)
  • Installation of fonts temporally (until the program is closed)
  • Several options for organizing fonts in categories and managing fonts
  • Printing a list of all or some of the installed fonts with examples
  • Scratchpad area for testing the look of any font (installed or from a folder)

Cfontpro (Win, free)


Just as Typograf, Cfontpro40 provides many details about the attributes of every installed or non-installed font. You can preview fonts from any folder, CD, disk, or network drive and export the proof sheet to HTML or Rich Text Format file (RTF). Using the advanced character map and a character magnifier you can see exactly what any font character looks like. You can also zoom in and out and look at any part against a grid.

Another useful feature of the Cfontpro is the Font Packager which enables you to package any number of fonts into a single file for ease of transport to another computer. The application is free.

Main features:

  • Powerful font engine
  • Printing proof sheets
  • Export to HTML and RTF
  • Enhanced Property Viewer
  • Advanced character map and character magnifier
  • Portable font packager
  • Font management

Worth mentioning

Pigfontviewer41 (Win / Mac / Linux)
Pigfontviewer is a simple but elegant font viewer that allows you to preview all fonts in your fonts folder. PigFontViewer also features the ability to display your fonts in any custom folder and install into them your fonts folder. A simple font management tool without advanced features.


Font Fitting Room Deluxe42 (Win)
An interesting feature of Font Fitting Room Deluxe is the ClearType Tuning. You can activate this function to switch the system smoothing mode, set ClearType contrast value, or change LCD striping order setting. You can preview the custom sample text with a font list without actually installing them. Unicode Range Character Map allows you to type sample sentence simultaneously containing any locale characters. For example, you can preview English and Korean characters in the same sample string. Price: $49.95.

font fitting room deluxe43

Fontmatrix44 (Linux, free)
Fontmatrix is a general font management tool which is licensed under GPL. Standard features such as previewing fonts, installing and uninstalling them as well etc. are available. Good choice for Linux users.


FontHit Font Tools46 (Win, free)
The main advantage of this handy free application is that it supports drag-‘n-drop viewing of fonts within .ZIP files.

Font Showcase47 (Mac)
A very handy utility if you’ve got too many fonts to remember just what each looks like, and also allows you to print out a catalog of your font collection. You no longer have to install the fonts before you can view and print them. It features basic viewing, font printing, font peek, slide show, FontStream, character view, and font panes.

Font Showcase48

Windows Fonts Explorer49 (Win, free)
Windows Fonts Explorer is a very small, very fast and very compact tool for browsing your Windows fonts directory. You can choose your own sample text, and enlarge any character to examine it in detail. Nothing special, yet simple and handy.

Font Wrangler50 (Win)
Font Wrangler will allow you to install and remove TrueType fonts in batches; preview fonts before you install them; browse downloaded font files and view font copyright information. You can also print a ‘contact sheet’ of fonts so you’ll have a paper reference of what each font looks like and change your font names to make them more easily remembered and to resolve typeface name conflicts. Price: $24.99. A trial-version is available.

What font management tool do you use and why?

Let us know in the comments!

What font management tool do you use?51
( surveys52)

Related articles

You may want to check out the following related articles:


  1. 1 http://www.extensis.com/en/products/suitcasefusion/index.jsp
  2. 2 http://www.extensis.com/en/products/suitcasefusion/index.jsp
  3. 3 http://www.extensis.com/en/products/font_management/product_information.jsp?locale=en_US&id=1055
  4. 4 http://www.linotype.com/2493/fontexplorerx.html
  5. 5 http://www.linotype.com/2493/fontexplorerx.html
  6. 6 http://www.linotype.com/3321/freedownloadpc.html
  7. 7 http://www.linotype.com/2631/freedownload.html
  8. 8 http://www.alsoft.com/MasterJuggler/index.html
  9. 9 http://www.alsoft.com/MasterJuggler/index.html
  10. 10 http://dreystone.com/fontsafari.php
  11. 11 http://dreystone.com/fontsafari.php
  12. 12 http://www.unsanity.com/haxies/fontcard
  13. 13 http://www.unsanity.com/haxies/fontcard
  14. 14 http://www.qweas.com/download/graphics/font_tools/font_pilot.htm
  15. 15 http://www.qweas.com/download/graphics/font_tools/font_pilot.htm
  16. 16 http://www.insidersoftware.com/FA_pro4_osx.php
  17. 17 http://www.insidersoftware.com/FA_pro4_osx.php
  18. 18 http://www.bohemiancoding.com/fontcase/
  19. 19 http://www.bohemiancoding.com/fontcase/
  20. 20 http://www.neuber.com/typograph/index.html
  21. 21 http://www.neuber.com/typograph/index.html
  22. 22 http://www.proximasoftware.com/fontexpert/index.html
  23. 23 http://www.proximasoftware.com/fontexpert/index.html
  24. 24 http://www.proximasoftware.com/fontexpert/samples/index.html
  25. 25 http://www.styopkin.com/details_advanced_fonts_viewer.html
  26. 26 http://www.styopkin.com/details_advanced_fonts_viewer.html
  27. 27 http://opcion.sourceforge.net/
  28. 28 http://opcion.sourceforge.net/
  29. 29 http://sdsoftware.org/default.asp?id=7665
  30. 30 http://sdsoftware.org/default.asp?id=7665
  31. 31 http://www.moonsoftware.com/fxplorer.asp
  32. 32 http://www.moonsoftware.com/fxplorer.asp
  33. 33 http://www.high-logic.com/download.html
  34. 34 http://www.high-logic.com/download.html
  35. 35 http://members.ozemail.com.au/~scef/tft.html
  36. 36 http://members.ozemail.com.au/~scef/tft.html
  37. 37 http://www.ampsoft.net/utilities/FontViewer.php
  38. 38 http://www.ampsoft.net/utilities/FontViewer.php
  39. 39 http://www.cfontpro.com/index.asp
  40. 40 http://www.cfontpro.com/index.asp
  41. 41 http://www.pigfontviewer.com/
  42. 42 http://www.qweas.com/download/graphics/font_tools/font_fitting_room_deluxe.htm
  43. 43 http://www.qweas.com/download/graphics/font_tools/font_fitting_room_deluxe.htm
  44. 44 http://www.fontmatrix.net/
  45. 45 http://www.fontmatrix.net/
  46. 46 http://www.download.com/FontHit-Font-Tools/3000-2316_4-10332216.html
  47. 47 http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/18451
  48. 48 http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/18451
  49. 49 http://www.brothersoft.com/windows-fonts-explorer-70371.html
  50. 50 http://www.mindworkshop.com/alchemy/fontrang.html
  51. 51 http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/904637/
  52. 52 http://www.polldaddy.com
  53. 53 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/08/29/10-weblog-engines-reviewed/
  54. 54 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/08/01/15-desktop-blogging-tools-reviewed/
  55. 55 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/06/19/css-editors-reviewed/
  56. 56 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/05/07/35-useful-source-code-editors-reviewed/
  57. 57 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/05/06/25-wysiwyg-editors-reviewed/
  58. 58 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/category/toolbox/

↑ Back to top Tweet itShare on Facebook

  1. 1

    At a local firm, they are developing a font manager, called TypeDNA, which has a Photoshop CS3 plug-in and a standalone application. I was testing it for about a month, they did a fine job with it.


  2. 2

    Where’s the Bitstream Font Navigator? It’s old and abandoned but is the best font manager I’ve ever seen.

    Comes with Corel Draw.

  3. 3

    Don’t forget Universal Type Server from Extensis (the makers of Suitcase). We’re currently testing out the demo on Windows. It’s a server based font management – basically Suitcase for your entire office. It’s got a lot of great features, but one drawback I’m noticing is it’s very slow to add and edit fonts. I’ve emailed the developers asking for help on this issue before we buy it for all of Go Media. I’ll let you know how I feel about it after that.

  4. 4

    I always love these app comparison posts. The mac software always looks clean and elegant, then the Windows stuff looks so fugly.

  5. 5

    All the Mac based applications are far, far better! ^^

  6. 6

    digital intuition

    September 5, 2008 5:57 am

    great post as always! thanks :)

  7. 7

    The Linotype FontExplorer X for Windows beta is over… has been for like a year… however I did find a copy here:


  8. 8

    I would be carefull with Linotype FontExplorer on Windows. I have the beta myself, and recently it stopped working – it just doesn’t start anymore. When I searched for some information about this problem on the web, I found people complains that FontExplorer deleted their system fonts, when they uninstalled it. On Mac everything is ok, so may it be a warning for Linotype FontExplorer Windows users.

  9. 9

    Very useful ! I spent hours to find a good manager, now I’ll be able to find it more quickly. Thanx !

  10. 10

    I can’t wait for Fontcase! :D

    It looks amazing. :)

  11. 11

    Adrian D'Alimonte

    September 5, 2008 6:17 am

    Thanks so much for the beta link!

    I currently use a combination of TypoGraf and FontNav (from the Corel X suite) for my font organizing.

    I’m liking FontExplorer X more already, hopefully it’s pretty stable despite it being a beta release.

  12. 12

    You should take a look at Printer’s Apprentice at http://www.loseyourmind.com I’ve been using it for several years and is great. The current version is 7.*. There is an 8.* version in beta that is even better.

    P.S. I am not affiliated with them. Just a happy user.

  13. 13

    I’m using windows Linotype FontExplorer X beta. It’s not very fast but it’s in my opinion the best font management software.

  14. 14

    if you’re looking for a extremely fast and free tool on Windows to preview (list view) very large collections of uninstalled fonts.(opentype, truetype, type1)
    here is my recommendation (comparable to Font Fitting Room Deluxe but free)
    I’ve tried All win solution presented here.

  15. 15

    You really should remove Windows from Linotype FontExplorer, as the Beta isn’t even available and it doesn’t work on Vista (yeah I know my fault for installing that crap anyway).

    I’m really missing Adobe Type Manager, for it’s simplistic, but effective approach. Suitcase is a horrible program, but it’s the only thing vaguely decent for Vista.

  16. 16


    No mention of Font Book which comes pre-installed on any Mac? It may be simple but that means less to go wrong. After using Suitcase and suffering continual problems I went back to font book and haven’t looked back!

  17. 17

    I recently deinstalled Suitcase for Windows. From the beginning, I wasn’t amused about the fact that Suitcase is unable to control the WinFont-folder and all system fonts. In order to counteract the weekly resurrection of the Comic on every Windows system you have to fight inside the Windows Explorer (Delete file? File cannot be found nor deleted …). The professional font which are used in the CS products only live inside the vault-universe. If shit happens there, you won’t be able to use this font. Auto-activation doesn’t work.

    So, I reinstalled my good old Adobe Type Manager Deluxe (must by older than me)! It is a real kicker also in the WinFont-Folder! Looking forward to the Linotype thing.

  18. 18

    i switched from suitcase to LT fontXplorer a while ago. i like the familiar interface (not from font handlers, but from itunes) :)
    i had it installed on a windos machine, but that was sure a mistake. once you allow it to handle all fonts including system fonts, you´re in trouble, as you will see, that windows is confused and doesn´t have any system fonts available except one pixel font abortion.
    result is: either complete new install the OS, or go through the folder and hand pick all system fonts, copy, delete fontXplorer, start save mode, copy system fonts back into original location. no matter which way you go, you´ll have a couple of hours work.

    maybe thats the reason they took it off the download page.

  19. 19

    forgot to mention: on mac OS it runs smooth like fresh oiled V10 audi engine.

  20. 20

    Jeff Finley re:adding fonts to Universal Type Server
    Adding fonts to Universal Type Server can take time because each font is thoroughly checked for corruption and any other problems before it’s ever added to the server database. Ideally, fonts will only need to be added once, and since fonts add in the background, you can still browse, activate and deactivate other fonts as your large font library is adding. If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your Extensis representative.

    Jim Kidwell

  21. 21

    your review was dated sept 5 2008 , so i assumed you would have also reviewed the UTS client and server from extensis – which is the upgrade path for suitcase users – covers many features users have been asking for (ldap , keywords, etc) and has eliminated many bugs from the suitcase autoactivation issues – please add to this review your take on UTS

  22. 22

    I haven’t found anything better than FontAgent Pro 4 for Mac. Super powerful. I feel like I’m continually finding something new it can do.

  23. 23

    The same thing happened to me, but I found out that my firewall was blocking access of this program to the Internet, maybe that’s your problem too. I have not had any other problems and I consider it better than Suitcase. Hope the full version comes out soon.

  24. 24

    Where is the 25th software?
    If i copy your list i end up with 24!
    1. Suitcase / Suitcase Fusion
    2. Linotype FontExplorer X
    3. MasterJuggler
    4. Font Safari
    5. FontCard
    6. Font Pilot
    7. FontAgent Pro 4
    8. Typograf
    9. FontExpert
    10. Advanced Font Viewer
    11. Opcion
    12. Font Frenzy
    13. Font Xplorer
    14. MainType
    15. The Font Thing
    16. AMP Font Viewer
    17. Cfontpro
    18. Pigfontviewer
    19. Font Fitting Room Deluxe
    20. Fontmatrix
    21. FontHit Font Tools
    22. Font Showcase
    23. Windows Fonts Explorer
    24. Font Wrangler

    • 25

      opps, it is my favorite tool – Fontcase – that missed.
      Nice interface as designed to be an iTunes, wonderful!

  25. 26

    26. Taking 6 hours to manually weed through your fonts folder and chuck the trash fonts.

    I’m not sure why, but after trying several of these utilities I found that it was actually easier just to go through, one by one (of thousands) and review each of them without any utility at all. It might sound a little insane – but seriously, it’s saved me a huge amount of time in the long run – plus it allowed me to actually get familiar with my now slimmed down and efficient quiver of fonts. I tried this on several occasions with a variety of font managers and having to wrestle with the program kept me from ever making any significant progress.

    Like 99% of young designers out there, when I was just starting out, the easy availability of free fonts and other font packages made my font folder fat like a 12 year old gorging himself on Halloween night… One admittedly hard session of hand selection fixed all that; and i’d argue that a lot of these apps won’t actually help you make sense of your font folder until you can get them down to under 500 fonts – and a typographer might drop that number to a mere handful. To each his own, but for me, wrestling with the oddities of the apps kept me from doing any serious management before.

    Anyways, great post nonetheless, I’m always optimistic that I’ll find a font utility that actually does what I want it to without bugs or problems – i’ll try a few of these out :) MakeDesign,NotWar

  26. 27

    I was just talking about this the day before yesterday. I have over 1000 fonts, and it’s a nightmare to do the old scroll through them all when you’re looking for a good one..

  27. 28

    The software is one thing, but the managing is another?
    Maybe interesting stuff for another topic.
    In how many folders do you divide your 500 fonts?
    Any links of people their top 25 with examples?

  28. 29

    i use Linotype FonXplorer (Win) because it offers advanced Font Management as well as drag’n’drop features. These are very handy when it comes to checking out TTFs from a zip archive. Just drop them in your group in fXplorer – and you can check them out easily.
    What I like about it even more is that it’s able to manage the fonts alphatically in a seperate folder on your harddisk.
    It would be even better if it wouldnt imitate that iTunes-Look. And if it would evolve from its beta state on WIN as well… ;) Although, I didnt have any chrashes yet, so just give it a try. It’s by far the best choice on Windows, IMHO.

  29. 30

    Great article as usual !

    I’m fond of Linotype FonXplorer (Win) personnaly, really useful.

  30. 31

    I was using The Font Thing until I moved to vista and found that it’s not compatible – too bad it isn’t being developed more.

  31. 32

    Font Agent Pro had been nothing but a headache. I switched BACK to Suitcase after Extensis launched Fusion. It’s been a lot better. The font matching is quite strong.

  32. 33

    Windows font managers look ugly, don’t they?

  33. 34

    Thanks for mentioning FontExpert – I’ve been using it for 3 years and I strongly believe that it is one of the most powerful font management tools for Win.

    The biggest selling point for me is the ability to activate fonts temporarily, just for a brief use in Photoshop or Illustrator.

    As per FontExplorer – it cost me 2 days to fix what it made with the fonts on my system, highly unrecommended.

  34. 35

    A year ago I tried several Windows based font managers, and since then MainType is they only one I didn’t uninstall.

  35. 36

    I used Linotype FontExplorer for a while and was quite happy with it – as it was the first tool on Win that didn’t suck design-wise. Comparing those Mac tools to their Win opponents just gives me a shudder. I can’t make use of oh-so-many features if I can’t stand even looking at the program. LT FontExplorer changed that and I was certainly not amused that one day… it just stopped working. LT had pressed some remote button and since then the app won’t launch anymore. They really should get the Win version to final.

    Thanks to thibaud I tried NexusFont 2 yesterday. It’s great! Free, clean, functional. It may lack some more advanced features, but among the free Win tools this is definitely a top pick.

  36. 37

    I personally always liked Printer’s Apprentice the best.

  37. 38

    I have just seen a demo of TypeDNA at Photoshop world (where they announced Beta), and I have to say it’s very cool, it offers a lot of amazing tools that help with things like finding similar fonts, sorting by weighting, finding fonts that work well together. The really amazing thing is, they do all of this by analyzing the characteristics of fonts. They also provide full control of their font manager directly within Photoshop, which is a first!!

  38. 39


    You forgot in your listing Fontcase (Mac) between FontAgent Pro 4 (Mac) and Typograf (Win).

    I personally use Font Explorer X because I can compare Fonts, buy fonts compare fonts I might buy and yeah thats about it. Ohh no wait, the User Interface doesnt look as chaotic as Font Expert 2007 (WIN) and I just like the general look and feel of the font explorer. The Concept is simple, isnt it? Love it.

  39. 40

    @ bruno byington
    Ah, yes, it’s because i copied the list of software to Vote for
    above the Comments
    and it’s missing in there !!


  40. 41

    If you look in the HTML source of http://www.linotype.com/de/3321/freedownloadpc.html, on line 256 you can still get the download link for the FontExplorer X Windows version. They just commented out the HTML.

    Though I do not recommend using it under Vista (XP was ok), as it really is unusable and even makes Firefox crash.

    The software itself is really great (the heavy bugs ignored) and I wonder when (if ever) they will release something more stable. The “coming soon” announcement on the page is at least more than 1 1/2 years old.

    Maybe Smashing Magazine could apporach them and ask for details! :P

  41. 42

    font thing make me happy on windows without any .net framework dependency

    i work on PC no mac.

  42. 43

    Great post. I found a great free font manager – after upgrading to Vista, The Font Thing no longer worked. I found one that’s even better – Nexus Font.

    I believe they have it for both PC and Mac. It’s a great piece of software – and it’s free!

  43. 44

    Michael Schlierbach

    September 6, 2008 12:40 pm

    Thanks for the list!

    I have been using FontReserve and Suitcase. But both have bugs in Windows. And the promised merge of both isn’t there I think (I’m working on Windows).
    Typograf best served my needs in former installations, at the moment I’m working much with FontExpert 2007.

    What I miss in most in Font Management Tools: An easy way to export, backup and reimport font lists, e.g. related to a project.
    Therefore FontExpert is very interesting for me.

    And what I miss in the second place:
    Support for Multiple Master Fonts.
    For that I still use Adobe Type Manager. I don’t know another one which let’s me create Multiple Master variants.
    I know that Multiple Masters aren’t en vogue nowadays, but (hopefully) maybe the’ll have a renaissance – for the technique is excellent – and of course because I have a very nice set of Multiple Master Fonts which deserve to be used.

  44. 45

    Thank you for such an excellent review!

  45. 46

    I second Matt’s “Wot!”

    FontBook might “only” be the default on Mac, but you can create collections and change the text for testing… it’s pretty nifty if you only need that sort of thing for light–moderate use. Don’t know how it stands up to more rigorous use, which is why I would have like to see it in the list.

  46. 47

    This post could also be entitled : Windows apps usually look like crap :(

  47. 48

    @ Maria : Thanks! Nexus is the font manager I was looking for! Should be added to the list.

  48. 49

    You guys forgot Typeset for OS X , which if I do say so myself is my favorite at the moment. Although, Fontcase does look very interesting, too bad it isn’t out yet.

  49. 50

    I’m sorry if this seems inappropriate, but did the author (Sachin Dhall) type a translation for the manga Kare Kano?

  50. 51

    The findings are cool, but you guys really need to post a scorecard. I like the way that Wired mag does it.

  51. 52
  52. 53

    Why even mention Linux when the only Linux-program featured is a cross-platform Java program?

    (Not that anyone serious about fonts and typography uses Linux. I wonder why I still do. OpenOffice for Linux still doesn’t support OpenType, sigh.)

  53. 54

    Sigurdur Armannsson

    September 7, 2008 4:14 pm

    Great article.
    I have used Linotype FontExplorer X (mac version) since it was introduced and find it to be almost perfect replacement of the late Adobe Type Manager. In fact I like it so much I made a little tutorial on how to install it on the mac at: http://font.is/?p=38
    Although it has not a server version it is not so difficult to set up many macs exactly the same if needed.

  54. 55

    I’m using The Font Thing in Vista, just fine, but I am definately going to look at some of these others, just for a change of scenary really – yes the Windows apps are ugly – such a shame!

  55. 56

    using AMP on win – pretty much does the job.

  56. 57

    @Martjin: “I’m using windows Linotype FontExplorer X beta. It’s not very fast but it’s in my opinion the best font management software.” What? It’s perfectly fine. Get a better computer, maybe.

    Linotype’s FontExplorer is the best around in my personal opinion, and I recommend it to anyone and everyone I meet who wants to know.

  57. 58

    @Michael Schlierbach Our current Suitcase for Windows product merges the technology of the previous Suitcase & Font Reserve products on the Windows platform.

    Also, for font support on Windows, we support all font formats that are supported by the operating system. Adobe’s Multiple Master format support for Windows was enabled through the ATM technology. Since Adobe is not longer developing either ATM or MM fonts, this is no longer a supported Windows font format. Technology similar to the MM format was incorporated into the OpenType format. When possible, we highly recommend upgrading your fonts to OpenType.

    Also, for fonts that you may not be able to find a suitable OpenType alternative, there are are also tools available that will convert your previous MM font to OpenType format.

    Jim Kidwell

  58. 59

    another vote for bitstream font navigator, I’ve been using this thing for the last 8 years, beats me why development is not more active, it’s the only decent program that corel have ever published.
    I’ve also been playing with nexus font 2 which comes in a close second.

  59. 60

    My vote goes for FontExpert, the only program to work easily with non-western charsets.

  60. 61

    I miss Bistream Font Navigator, is the best one I ever seen.

  61. 62

    I’d kill for a Firefox add-on that auto-hides fanboy comments like those of the Mac fan brigade here.

  62. 63

    I have Extensis Suitcase installed on my Power Mac at work, but i stopped using it and went back to Font Book.

    Thank you, really needed a font manager for my laptop, didn’t know where to start looking, and just on the right time.

    You Are Smashing!!!

  63. 64

    I’ve created a very simple font picker program that works directly from your browser.

    i made it to solve the problems I have with choosing the right font for a project. There’s also an Adobe AIR version you can install.

  64. 65

    Worth mentioning Printer’s Apprentice, one of the best I’ve ever used.

  65. 66

    Adobe Type Manager Deluxe is da best for win… too bad its discontinued.. for now im stuck with Extensis Suitcase and it realy sux.. because it has problems with fonts allready installed in system (like Helvetica).. maybe im missing something there but, i had no such problems with ATM..
    i have to try that ipcion thing..

  66. 67

    don’t think anyone’s mentioned this:

    Insider Software’s Font Agent Pro has been available for Windows for about a year now — XP only, Vista support promised “soon” I’ve been trialling a beta of the next iteration during development and like what they’re doing.

  67. 68

    I’ve never used a font manager before but need something to view character maps when using Photoshop. Downloaded Nexus Font and it looks good. However some of the characters don’t show a corresponding keystroke, especially in regards to ornaments within OT fonts like Bickham Script Pro or Dear Sarah. Can anyone tell me how to access these extra characters so I can use them? In other words, what do I need to type to get the ornament?

  68. 69

    I’ve tried Linotype, but prefer the simplicity of default FontBook. :)

  69. 70

    I use Fontmatrix, which you mention above for Linux (I’m using Ubuntu), but it’s still a bit buggy – the tagging (maybe the most useful feature) doesn’t seem to be correctly implemented.

  70. 71

    I use X-Fonter from Blacksun Software for quite a while.

  71. 72

    Nice article (as always).

    Have anyone stumbled upon a solution that will enable me to let people browse a font library hosted on my webserver, through their browser without any installation issues?

    I guess it would be more like a script, but I am in doubt if there are viewers out there capable of the same?

    User scenario: Let people browse and test fonts on an intranet from a shared font library, before installing/choosing font.

    Hope theres a solution out there :)

  72. 73

    I use NexusFont for a few months now. A great and free fontviewer and more options coming up. (java based). I translated into Dutch. Very recommendable.

  73. 74

    Christopher Anderton

    October 11, 2008 2:45 am

    If you are on a mac. Why use something else instead of Linotyp FontExplorer or FontBook (a part of the OS)?

    Have been using Fontreserve and Suitcase for many years. When LinoType released the new free FontExplorer there was no reason to look back.

  74. 75

    Can you print an enventory of your fonts in LinoType FontXplorer?

  75. 76

    How could you omit FontBook for Macintosh. Although there are other free font managers–I here FontExplorer from Linotype is terrific and also free–the convenience of FontBook’s being part of the OS and requiring no installation gymnastics makes it the font manager of choice for me.

    Granted, as a book designer, I only have between 100 and 200 typeface families, not thousands, on my system. But it does the minimal things I require of a font manager. I don’t spend time assembling fonts into different groups for different projects or clients. It’s enough to just have one alphabetical list. Keeping it simple is all I want.

  76. 77

    I’ve tried about 3/4 of the Windows apps on here. My main reason for wanting to use a font manager is to sort out a large number of huge Japanese fonts without having to install them. Unfortunately, none of these apps is perfect. I have several (old) “problem fonts” that not even Word will recognize for its font list (Koibumi Penji and Reiryuu Reisho among these, though I can enter the fontnames manually in the bar and still use them, or cut ‘n paste from WordPad), and some of the apps just screwed up on these. Others couldn’t handle any font names in Japanese. Font Expert was mentioned as a good one for Asian fonts, but if I remember correctly, it had issues with more of my fonts than most of these apps, refusing to provide an actual sample of a good couple dozen of my fonts (instead showing MS Gothic or something as a default fallback; I’d rather it simply told me it had an issue!). And Font Fitting Room is a piece of crap – it crashed just from going down the list of fonts.

    I have high hopes for Linotype’s app when it’s finally released for Windows, but for now, AMP Font Viewer has actually given me the best results. Its major shortcoming seems to be that it doesn’t have TTC set up as a recognized filetype, and as such, it won’t allow me to look at uninstalled TTC fonts, and it shows “(???)” as the filename on installed TTC fonts (but otherwise renders them fine). Other than that though, this one serves my (amateur) purposes best, and I’ve emailed the author about the TTC issue, so hopefully it will be fixed in the near future.

  77. 78

    Crazy that Nexus font manager isn’t on this list.

    Definitely the best free windows font manager I have come across.

  78. 79

    FontExplorer X Windows version download link from Matthias above for anyone trying to find it. http://fex.linotype.com/download/pc/FontExplorerX-

  79. 80

    I’ve given up looking for a utility to take the place of the Mac OS X Font Book. Not because I like Font Book — it’s slow, but I’m afraid to let a 3rd party software mess with my OS.

    So, what I really want is a tool that allows me to organize, search and identify fonts based on standard and custom tags/styles/sets. I don;t want to have to activate the fonts…I’ll do that with Font Book once I’ve selected the fonts I want.

    As opposed to Stephen Tiano’s scenario (see above), I am a magazine designer and I need to pick from thousands of fonts I own.

    Anybody have any thoughts?

  80. 81

    Sigurdur Armannsson

    January 8, 2009 2:19 am

    @Scott : It is hard to mess up your fonts with FontExplorer X. I have used it since it first shipped and now I just upgraded to version 2. I made some directions on how to set it up version 1 for the first time and it should be more and less the same for version 2.

    I like it very much for many reasons but this one comes in very strong:
    – You can keep your font collection as you like and when you install fonts into FEX it COPIES from your original fonts into its own folder. It means that if something goes wrong or you want to start fresh you can always throw the /User/FontExplorer folder away without loosing any font. Just remember to check: Use Copy when installing.

  81. 82

    I was using a program called Font Manager. This is a payware but was distributed free with a PC magazine (required registration). I thought this program very bad. It kept crashing and when it did, it brought the whole system down with it (BSOD).

  82. 83

    I use FontAgent Pro 4 + fontcard as an “plugin-font” extension. In mac (os x) you can use any font management tool (like suitcase, linotype, fontagent, etc.). all works great if you know how to use it.
    I use FontAgent because its really simple. i like fontcard because works like Adobe Type Reunion, but in better version. it very useful when you have thousands fonts and you don’t have time to loose finding these font that are you looking for.

  83. 84

    I don’t know about Font Explorer. They went from being free to now asking for cash. What’s up with that?

  84. 85

    I was using font explorer, and providing feedback on the beta testing deal. I found it great, but buggy as all hell. it crashed completely at times, and you couldnt get it to actually open and initialise properly. On Vista x64 by the way.

    The perf of vista 64 with cs4 is really nice, so i wish to use a dont managment tool that works well. Font explorer works well when it work, import, export, comparisons, font matching, glyphs all nice.

    anyway, ive been waiting for the release and its never made it … and now I see the Apple version is there, but win version and they are asking for payment?

    so ….

  85. 86

    I literaly just started font management yesterday- spent an entire afternoon searching! The Best Practices guide included with Suitcase Fusion 2 makes it my manager of choice :)

  86. 87

    I have to second Nexus Font Viewer – it’s exactly what I was looking for. A clean, well presented app, with some smart features. It easily stands alongside the other viewers on the list.

  87. 88

    Well, Suitcase’s ‘free trial’ is really limp! I loaded up Suitcase and spent about three hours organizing my fonts so ‘it’ would be able to take them in, and it didn’t. It refused to accept whole clusters of .ttf files sans explanation, while accepting others as suited its whim and fancy. Called support, and they have no clue except to try ‘Font Doctor.’ Errr… thanx, but no thanx. If the free trial can’t cut it, there’s no need to go further. So what’s rated as number 2 here?

  88. 89

    FontSuit Lite is freeware, it suits my needs. You can try this free one.

  89. 90

    i have been using suitcase fusion on mac, its been very handy as it has got auto active feature for which i dont need to activate or deactivate each time. its good but a bit slower when i am working on all adobe applications.

  90. 91

    Thanks for the list! I am actively looking for a font manager to suit my needs. This is great!

  91. 92

    I’m confused. It says here that Font Explorer is for Win/Mac, I’m on Win but there doesn’t seem to be a win version *scratches head*

  92. 93

    Thanks to thibaud (comment 10), and the others on here who have recommended NexusFont. Exactly what I was looking for. An excellent alternative to Font Fitting Room, and very similar in use.

  93. 94
  94. 96

    In dealing with a sizable production crew, a shared font repository is a must. I’ve been using Extensis for about 3 years now. And until we installed it, we had many man hours. and frustrating crashes due to bloated windows font folder, and missing fonts. Although it can be a bit slow at times, its very stable. And auto-activation is nice. Good article, but I almost think you should have put the comparisons in a grid format. So we can compare the features. I’m still trying to figure out if any of them have the same network and shared repository features that Extensis does.

  95. 97

    So, there is no app for windows available, supporting CS4 auto activation?

  96. 98

    HighLogic Maintype 2.1.1. is an excellent Font Managing Program.
    And therefor it is underrated in the poll. It should be at least in the top 5.

  97. 99

    When I saw this as a search result for organizing fonts, I got excited. I thought I was going to see someone actually REVIEW the products. This isn’t a review. It’s a one-stop place to see the “features” of a product. I wanted to know things like, how easy is the GUI to use? Can the program handle 1000s of fonts without crashing? Is there an easy-to-use help manual or .pdf? These are the issues I see people complain about. Too bad this “review” didn’t address the actual performance.

  98. 100

    Just a translation

    August 2, 2009 2:22 pm

    > кpacaвицa вocтoкa

    Beauty of the East

    > Мне вот интересно, если текст c вашего сайта себе копировать, то ссылку куда
    > лучше ставить прямо на эту страницу блога или же на главную страницу.

    I wonder if I want to copy a text from your site, should I better put a link directly on this page of your blog or on the home page.

  99. 101

    Proxima’s FontExpert2009, Insider’s Font Agent Pro and ApoliSoft’s Font fitting Room would all appear to support CS4 activation.

    (Very good thread this BTW :) – lots of useful info to trawl through in the various posts.)

  100. 102

    Can you recommend one of these font manager programs for Windows that allows you to backup up your sets?
    I currently have Extensis Suitcase 11.0 (Win) and it works great EXCEPT when my computer needs maintenance (ie upgrades, reinstalls, reformat) it doesnt allow us to backup and save the sets I custom create (often per project or by style/genre). Its such a HUGE task to organize these fonts and I “NEED” something that wont create problems or waste my time & efforts to be organized. Thanks!!

  101. 103

    Have to thank the people on this thread that pointed out the NexusFont 2.It’s great,just what I was looking for.It’s free,good looking and simple to use.Two thumbs up.You can get it from : http://xiles.net/

    …and those looking for comic fonts : http://www.blambot.com (sorry,if I sound like a sales wh*re,but IMHO,they really are good.Pay and free.)

  102. 104

    FontExpert is the best choice for PC!

  103. 105

    David Heidelberge

    October 23, 2009 11:57 am

    I’m looking for a tool that will display multiple columns for font selection so I don’t have to scroll through a huge, alphabetical, single column list to get to Zapf Dingbats. Any ideas?

    David Heidelberger

  104. 106

    I would have loved to know about these programs before I wrote my own!
    For some reason I could not find a tool that would let me preview all the fonts in a folder before installing them. (that was about 5 years ago, though :) )

    Anyway, my program is creatively named FontViewer, and it’s free :)

  105. 107

    What all these font manager/viewer programs seem to be missing is a way to classify and sort type by category– e.g. Old Style, Slab Serif, Clarendon, Transitional, Sans (humanist and geometric), Modern, Script, black letter, etc. I was able to add sub-categories, for example, splitting scripts into formal, casual, brush, handwriting, kid-like, and so on.

    I have over 20,000 typefaces that I managed quite conveniently under Mac System 8.x and 9.x with Font Reserve. The FR database was able to automatically classify about half of my collection — but working when I had blocks of spare time, I was able to eventually classify every font in my library.

    Unfortunately, Font Reserve was annoyingly buggy under OS X — and after Extensis acquired FR and combined it into Suitcase Fusion, it was (1) still unstable (but I haven’t used it in sometime) and (2) it had lost the ability to sort and search by typestyle classification.

    I currently use the free version of Font Explorer X (it has its flaws, the worst being that it “forgets” many of the open fonts every so often) — but I’m waiting for “the next best thing” — which hasn’t been introduced. Nobody seems to understand the need to classify and sort a large collection by typeface characteristics.

  106. 108

    FontExpert 2009 (PC only, I’m afraid) appears to have some capability to classify and sort by various categories. It pulls fonts into an internal database which can then be interrogated based on a set of specified criteria, but I don’t know yet where these categorization data come from. I just happened across this page as I was trying to find a font manager (yet again) to let me select only serif fonts for print resume preparation, sans serif for display, and monospaced for code editors. Pete’s question seems to be exactly on target. This seems to be the most basic of desirable functionality. The font manager in Windows 7 has a by-default-hidden Family tab, but it seems to do little but echo the name of the font. Windows 7 installs a bunch of fonts (many with i18n-type characters for non-western languages,) but they *cannot* be deleted. I really, really just want to work with a small list of hand-selected fonts and not have to wade through a deep list of fonts I don’t need (decorative, symbol, not-applicable-to-my-locale, whatever.) The Fonts applet has a Show/Hide checkbox for each font, but this does *not* hide them from applications.

  107. 109

    I am using Suitcase (PC). I have approximately 25,000 fonts. No exaggeration, I took about a full week or so to categorize every single font into probably 30-40 categories. It was grueling, but well worth it. My fear now is that I am tied to Suitcase; I doubt that I could transfer the database to a different application. I am also worried if newer Suitcase versions will recognize my categorization. If for some reason I had to do the categorizing all over again, I would probably retire from design and become a farmer or bank robber or something that doesn’t involve computers.

  108. 110

    Good collection of tools. I have just another freeware tool, missing in the list:
    With this tool it is possible to print a list of your installed fonts using any text. I find that very useful, because the tool is very simple and it’s better to see a font printed than only on the screen.

  109. 111

    I’m trying Nexus Fonts and it’s cool. Anyway, I want “install/uninstall temporary font like Suitecase. AMP font has this feature but not pretty GUI as Nexus.

  110. 112

    I knew Suitcase working on a Mac. It was the 11th version. It always worked pretty well. So, when I needed to work on a PC, I just put Suitcase on it and go.

    But, with the Fusion upgrade to Windows, Suitcase and I can’t work together anymore… It hangs everytime: browsing, collecting, activating, deactivating, previewing…

    So I’m going to switch to Font Agent 4 Pro and see what happens now.

  111. 113

    Some of these programs are able to auto-activate fonts when opening Illustrator, Photoshop or InDesign – files. Unfortunately, this doesn’t include Fireworks. Has anyone heard of a Font Management Tool/plugin that supports font auto-activation for Fireworks?

    Thanks (and great blog, by the way!)

  112. 114

    Hi mgrules
    same here! its amazingly annoying having to close and exit fireworks on each font you activate!
    someone in adobe should and must recognize this issue!

  113. 115

    I just came across that thread as I’m desperately looking for a font manager that works under Windows 7 64 Bit which I recently switched to. Before I was using Linotype Fontexplorer X under Windows XP 32 Bit and hand no troubles with it. But now it simply doesn’t open anymore. Shame on Linotype to not finish that great app for PC!

    Anyway, I have a font collection of ~10.000 fonts to manage. I had a closer look at FontExpert 2009 and MainType. They both work under Win7 but FontExpert is very slow and uncomfortable to use. While MainType was much better but very slow on scanning large font directories and groups. Even if the preview-text in the list was disabled. No way to use it in my workflow.

    So, I’m still looking for a app that fits my needs, being fast, allowing custom group with sub-groups and has a font preview. The good thing about FontExplorer X was that it uses a internal database to store fonts in groups which made it very fast to scan large collections. Every other apps seams to work file-based which just can get wrong. Very sad!

    Now I stumbled upon Nexus Font which at first has the best GUI so far. But it still is file based and takes some time to load a directory or a group. On the other hand I really don’t like the handling of directories and groups within the app. I can’t just click on a group or directory to see the files. I have to click on the black section bar first and than deselect the folders/groups I don’t want to see. Every time between the app is rescanning the content. And finally it’s still file-based and suffers on poor performance.

    Now I’m going to check out the latest Suitcase. Any further recommendations for Windows PCs? Can’t be that font management on Windows is such a bloody mess and most of the apps look and work like 1995.

  114. 116

    I love Linotype FontXplorer for mac as well…beta sort of runs on my XP PC, but crashes often.

    I used to use the Font Thing for windows but it stopped working eventually too. Man I wish linotype would release some stable software for Windows.

  115. 117

    thanks for this, very useful list.

  116. 118

    Ahhh you kids are all so spoiled. I have been a designer for the past 27 years. Before there was even a computer to do it on.

    Font management has always been a tough thing even when we were managing film strips.

    For years I have managed close to 50,000 fonts. Yes I own the complete Adobe and Linotype libraries along with several other favorite foundries. And it is all in the organization of our folders to begin with. Then any manager will help with the rest.

    I love the new features in Suitcase and Linotypes of auto on and off. It saves time and space. When you are managing several clients files and need to stop to turn things on and off for a job it is great.

    Thanks for the great article.

  117. 120

    thank you. for show software view font.

  118. 121

    FontExper 2010 – the best solution

  119. 122

    I use to have in my computer ATM deluxe & AMP font viewer: the last one to visualize & choose fonts from my libraries; ATM as the name implies, for managing & install. One thing that I love of ATM was the feature to use fonts without having to copy them in the windows font folder, and organize the desired fonts, with the ability of “install” or “uninstall” them just with a check box. Now I got windows 7 x64, and can’t use ATM any more. So I hope you can give me some advice guys about the best font manager, Thanks.

  120. 123

    FontExplorer X ?
    Will someone tell whats the current status of it. I can’t find any Windows version of it.

  121. 125
  122. 126

    I banned Linotype cause the first this App does is calling home and it stops working when you cut the net-connection….
    It is a kind of a Spyware !

  123. 127

    I love FontExpert, and there’s a nice plugin for Creative Suite that connects to FontExpert groups, called DiskFonts. Don’t know if links are allowed here… It may get scrambled

    Browses and previews fonts from disk right inside all Adobe progs. A very cool thing. Seems to work on Mac and works for me in InDesign and Illustrator (tried also Photoshop and Flash – works cool). I love the way you can see all your fonts before installation and test if they fit the design I create. If you have a lot of fonts, it’s a must.

  124. 129

    To my biggest surprise (I know this post is old) Font Fitting Room Deluxe only gets a ‘worth of mentioning’. I am certainly not the developer of this program, but I think its seriously underestimated, as it belongs in the top of the list of best font managers available for Windows.

    I’ve been using FFRD since it’s earliest versions and its packed with utterly useful and time-saving features for serious and advanced (typographic) designers. I can’t believe it just got a mention somewhere in the bottom of this article, where ‘font-viewers’ instead of ‘font-managers’ are at the top of the list. This is certainly not a good nor an objective and extensive article and remains clear that the author really hasn’t used and tested them all to a great extent.

    As far as my experience goes (and I really used and tested them all Windows compatible managers since ’94) FFRD is really one of the best feature-packed font-managers for Windows machines.

  125. 130

    I’ve been using Suitcase at home, and it works very well to me.

    Now i was just wondering, in school we have computers where we have no administrator accouts, so we have no rights to install fonts (which sucks).
    Is it possible to use Suitcase (or other font managing tool) from a portable USB device and use fonts that are stored on that device?

    Thanks in advance

  126. 131

    Hello losgfx, I think, that you can indeed configure NexusFont so, that it will work out from an USB device.

    Look here: http://xiles.net/downloads/#NexusFont
    There you have a portable version.

    • 132

      opeter you are my hero of the day, I will try to install NexusFont on my usb device, and see if it works without administrator rights on the school computers. (I think it will since it doesn’t use any registry)

  127. 133

    im using nexus font

  128. 134
  129. 135

    FontExpert FTW!
    I’ve been using FontExpert for about a year now and IMHO it’s the best one for PC

  130. 136

    I still haven’t found a font management tool for WIN that I’m impressed with. They all have such horrible UIs. I wonder why these operating systems don’t come with one by default. And most of the tools u marked as “Free” are actually trial software.

  131. 138

    I use bitstream font navigator. Unfortunatley you can only get it through Corel Graphic Suite, what I do is download the trial and do a custom install and just install the font navigator, its free so you never have a issue. Its extremely simple to use, you can install and uninstall fonts, as well as preview them. You can change the default text “the lazy brown…” to what ever you want. It also lets you know how many fonts you have installed and it’s connected with MyFonts.com so you can add to your cart, purchase and install.

    I love it and will never change.

  132. 139

    Dear readers of this post, apologies if this has been posted before on this thread but i wanted to warn people of the difficulties with Extensis Suitcase Fusion 3 for Mac (and it’s predecessors from what i can see).

    I tried this software on a trial and it created an error that caused all Adobe suite applications to display an ‘FMCore has stopped, please restart from preferences pane’ error message requiring a re-start of each application every single time they are opened. A quick search online shows that this is a hugely predominant problem. I attempted removing the application using ‘Clean My Mac’ but no fix, then using EasyFind to find everything relating to suicase, extensis or fmcore but no fix, and finally manually tracking down every last bit but no fix. Eventually i found a post on the extensis support pages detailing the ridiculous number of hidden files one has to remove to solve this problem. The software buries files in all the adobe suite programs as well as within your user and main HD libraries (on mac), and you have to track them down and destroy them one by one.

    This problem is fixable, but it’s a huge chore and really a nightmare issue there’s no excuse for. My advice is NEVER TOUCH ANY EXTENSIS PROGRAMS if this is how poorly they build their software, especially since they are clearly aware of the pitfalls and have not corrected them (the uninstall guide i used was for Fusion 2, there was not one for Fusion 3 but the issue is still present).

    Thought this worth posting to the wider community – good luck with your fonts.

    • 140

      That error just means you need to start Fusion once before you start your Adobe product. You can start then close it if you want b/c it will have started the FMCore process and then you’re good. No biggie…

  133. 141

    i still dont understand why Adobe dont have their own font manager, it really pisses me off when i need to restart Adobe apps after installing font

    • 142

      There IS a font manager inside Adobe Software – it’s called DiskFonts font manager. http://anastasiy.com/diskfonts A native and a clever one like it was always there before. You install, manage and preview fonts with single drag’n’drop. Don’t know, why it is not listed in this review

      • 143

        Sounds great but I have used spotlight to find FontDisk and nothing shows up. Please tell me where it is. I’m using CS5.5 now.

    • 144

      After installing your fonts, it automatically updates the fonts list in most of Adobe’s applications (tested in Photoshop/Illustrator CS4).
      Just get out from the text tool to selection and back to the text tool, you should find your newly installed font.
      If that doesn’t work close the file tab and open it again.

  134. 145

    Nexus Rocks!! Lightweight, decent UI and of course awesome!!

  135. 146

    The problem I have with nexus is the way it temporarily activates fonts. Only the folder that’s selected and displayed in preview is essentialy activated. With proper font organization, one has many folder or sets and nexus doesn’t offer the flexibility to activate fonts from various folders and sets. My font manager of choice is Maintype. I Did try Suitcase Fusion but did not like its large footprint. When a program adds 10 additional processes to your CPU, you know it’s not the way.

  136. 147

    Hello guys and girls!

    FontExplorer X Pro finally available for Windows too:

    Wish you a good day!

  137. 148

    Hi there!
    I liked this review a lot! I discovered some nice tools and i am glad you mentioned a linux only tool (fontmatrix). But for the geeks out there, try fontlinge at http://www.gesindel.de/page_require_english.php full apache mysql webui based fontviewer, handles TrueType & PostScript fonts and lets you browse through thousands of fonts in second. A bit tricky to install, but runs nice locally under lamp or on your linux server – all your fonts are available anywhere.

    Give it a click …
    …and have a nice day!

  138. 149

    Hands down, FontAgent Pro is the best font manager. I’ve tried 4 of the products reviewed in this article and FontAgent is way faster, more reliable and they seem to have auto activation plugins and support available quicker than the rest.

  139. 150

    Fonty Python anyone?

  140. 152

    After reading all about the many font management programs, it would have been wise to create a chart showing all the features in one line across the top and the names of the programs in one column and check marks for the ones that did on did not do that feature.. Then you could tell how each did against the other. The way you have done this by the time you read all 25 you forgot which one was the best for the individual.

  141. 153

    I have used The Font Thing, Font Frenzy, Win Amp, and the Serif bundled version of Font Expert called FontManager. Now I only use MainType 4.

    Although I create my own fonts, I would not call myself an avid collector of fonts — I only have about 5,000 and keep less than 300 installed because I like to keep my system lean.

    Since it now uses a database approach, MainType 4 loads in 15 seconds and is ready to use even on my 5-year-old hardware. If anyone has a large collection of fonts this is the best choice.

    Because all fonts in the font database are indexed, a Quick Search will find all matching fonts as you type almost instantly.

    This was not mentioned in the brief review, but the MainType Font Configuration utility (included) can create backups of your font collection.

  142. 154

    After the introduction I expected more info on Linux programs than just 1 in the 25 (which was based on Java). Yeah, 2 in worth mentioning with hardly any info at all.

    Also, I don’t like that you base the info only on the features written by the developers. Sometimes, the info on which type of fonts are supported are very detailed, sometimes it is inexistent. Really, couldn’t you at last write in each program which type of fonts it supports?

    I wonder when it was reviewed. Maybe it’s time to do the 2011 version. But this time please do more work by yourself and be more serious about information you give.

  143. 155

    I use NexusFont. It’s good where it’s supposed to be good, but somehow I fee there’s something lacking about it. So I am on the look out for another font manager.

  144. 156

    Linotype FontExplorer X is not free now :(

  145. 157

    I have been a loyal user of a program called Suitcase from the very beginning up until 3 weeks ago. I like others here had the same problem with CS5 hanging up with the dreaded spinning hour glass.

    I can not tell you who is to blame but I do know one thing FontAgent Pro for windows and mac WORKS!!!!! just as they promised. I am a font freak and I run a ton of fonts and that is no lie, I have at this very moment 30,000 fonts installed, as a graphic designer I feel the font is just as important as the design they all need to look perfect together, so I need a dependable program managing all of them. I can promise you if you are in need of such a program FontAgent Pro is the way to go.

    I don’t know about you but time is money and sitting and watching your programs held hostage is frustrating. If anything try the trial you will not go wrong and I will bet after you see how well FontAgent Pro works you will buy it for sure. How can you not want harmony this is a no brainier. 5 out of 5 adds up to value both time and peace of mind.

    • 158

      Burak Özdelice

      April 8, 2012 2:49 pm

      Did you try FontExplorer? if it is possible could you write down your comparison reviews for us?

  146. 159

    “Font management is not always as easy as a walk on the cake.”

    You might be surprised. Walking on cake is surprisingly difficult.

  147. 160

    I spent quite a lot of time testing out most of the programs (for windows 7) listed here and the winner to me is NexusFont which is not even listed here. It’s easy to use, fast, good looking, has all the main features that probably even the pro needs.
    My favorite feature actually is the possibility of adding tags to the fonts, which is way useful than any other classification when it comes to chosing the right font for a project. Great software which I reccomend to everybody.

    • 161

      I agree. Nexxus is the best of all the font managers I’ve tried.

      A question for everyone:

      What is the path to get into the extended Windows 7 font folder. I can’t remember it. I think it had a “$”and “username” in it. It allows you to see ALL the files that comprise a family of fonts (NOT C:/WINDOWS/FONTS)

  148. 162

    I have 72,000 fonts in a single folder. On Win7. Suitcase Fusion 4 is slow and always crashes; and when using the Photoshop plugin, Photoshop (CS6) spikes up to 5.5GB of RAM. FontExpert 2011 loads fine but doesn’t always install the font or crashes when a new font is installed.

    So, upon Mauro’s recommendation, giving Nexus Font a try. So far its about half way done scanning the folder like a champ!

  149. 163

    For a long time I’ve been looking for a decent font manager that allows me to categorize my 100K font collection. To my surprise MainType was the one and only font manager that proofed to be able to do the job without crashing my PC.


    Fortunately it also contains numerous advanced and intuitive features that make font management both powerful and easy. So in my opinion the best font manager is MainType.

  150. 164

    Could I just let people know that I have created a totally new kind of font manager (Windows only, so far).

    It’s called FontRainbow and it’s available – £30stg or 30-day free trial – from http://www.fontrainbow.com

    If you’re fed up wrestling with sets, or you don’t like lists of face names that you need to click on to see sample text, or if you just want something REALLY SIMPLE, then it might be worth a look.

  151. 165


    Is there an app/program where you can write sample text and see that text in all fonts at one page at the same time?


↑ Back to top