25 Font Management Tools Reviewed

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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)

MasterJuggler8

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)

fontsafari10

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)

FontCard12

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)

fontagentpro16

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)

Fontcase18

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)

Typograf20

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)

Opcion27

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)

MainType33

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)

Cfontpro39

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.

Pigfontviewer

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.

fontmatrix45

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)

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Footnotes

  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/

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  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.

    TypeDNA

    4
  2. 2

    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.

    1
  3. 3

    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.

    0
  4. 4

    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.

    2
  5. 5

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

    -2
  6. 6

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

    -4
  7. 7

    digital intuition

    September 5, 2008 5:57 am

    great post as always! thanks :)

    0
  8. 8

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

    http://drop.io/k9g4vdm

    0
  9. 9

    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.

    0
  10. 10

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

    0
  11. 11

    I can’t wait for Fontcase! :D

    It looks amazing. :)

    0
  12. 12

    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.

    0
  13. 13

    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.

    0
  14. 14

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

    0
  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.

    0
  16. 16

    Wot!

    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!

    0
  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.

    0
  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.

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  19. 19

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

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  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
    Extensis

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  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

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  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.

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  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.

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  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

    1
    • 25

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

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  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

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  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..

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  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?

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  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.

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  29. 30

    Great article as usual !

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

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  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.

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  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.

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  32. 33

    Windows font managers look ugly, don’t they?

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  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.

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  34. 35

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

    1
  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.

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  36. 37

    I personally always liked Printer’s Apprentice the best.

    0
  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!!

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  38. 39

    @Tophy52

    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.

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  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 !!

    :)

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  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

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  41. 42

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

    i work on PC no mac.

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  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!

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  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.

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  44. 45

    Thank you for such an excellent review!

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  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.

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  46. 47

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

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  47. 48

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

    1
  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.

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  49. 50

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

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  50. 51

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

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