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What do we think about Extensis Suitcase in this day and time?
January 23, 2014 6:54 AM   Subscribe

Network admin hat on; not a graphic artist but providing tech support to them. Our guys run Suitcase alongside their ACS software to manage fonts. Last Suitcase thread on the blue was from 2005, which may answer my question but - is it still a necessary or at least valuable thing in a Windows 7 environment with reasonably high-end workstations (I know, they're not Macs, tsk tsk), or is it no longer an asset because computers have more resources now to keep up with 2,000+ fonts...?
posted by randomkeystrike to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
It's really up to the individual. Suitcase is great tool for activating/deactivating unique sets of fonts for different projects. Is that how your people are using it?

If I were a graphic artist with an effective workflow established around using Suitcase to manage my fonts, I'd certainly have an issue with the network admin telling me I could no longer use it without some really good, legitimate reason.

Are the fonts being shared from a common server?
posted by Thorzdad at 7:29 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Fonts are all installed locally. For the record, I'm not considering telling them they can't use it; an artist was telling me they didn't like using it and it got me wondering whether it was still needed.

They work from one short-term job to another, one custom design after another, and rarely spend multiple days on a project, so I doubt that it has the utility you describe in their case.
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:41 AM on January 23


an artist was telling me they didn't like using it and it got me wondering whether it was still needed.

That would be me. The program ends slowing the version of Indesign we're using and having to constantly keep the fonts organized in Suitcase seemed like petty work. I just throw all the new fonts (about 5-10 a week) into the fonts folder and keep on going. No problems. Plus the software is (was) flakey and who needs more of that?

Windows 7, CS 5 (I know, I know. It's a workflow thing)
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:57 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]


Suitcase is, uhm, tempermental, to say the least. That said, I use it every day. If you have a lot of fonts and a lot of projects, it ( or some other font manager) is pretty essential. Simply adding fonts to the fonts folder is pretty quickly a recipe for disaster. YMMV, of course.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:19 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


It's a huge pain in the ass; I had to re-add our company's 3,000-plus fonts to my officemate's Suitcase Fusion earlier today, actually, because it decided to just forget that it had ever seen them in the first place. And "in the first place" was like a month or so ago, when she finally got a version of the program that worked; before that, for months, she'd had to use my computer every time she wanted to update text correctly in InCopy, because something weird had happened with her Suitcase Fusion license key. And on a regular basis it seems like we get fonts to install that work fine with everything else, but that Suitcase Fusion just chokes on for some reason, which is a huge pain when you're trying to accurately update text on deadline. (Adobe claims that InCopy in Galley View "displays 100% accurate line breaks," which would be a nice workaround if it were true—but yeah, it doesn't actually do that if you don't have the right fonts activated.)

On the other hand, I don't have font management software on my iMac at home, and when I accidentally click on the Font menu in Microsoft Word, the entire program hangs, choking on thousands of fonts. So that sucks. But in Windows 7 (the other side of the same machine in Boot Camp), I have the same thousands of fonts installed, I don't have a font manager, and everything is completely and utterly fine. Ditto for my old XP install—I had no problems, even with thousands of fonts installed.

So YMMV, but in my experience, it seems like despite supposedly being designer-friendly, OS X has more issues with fonts than Windows does—in a Mac shop, I'd say you need a font manager, but in Windows 7, I think you could almost certainly get away without it.
posted by limeonaire at 5:01 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the answers, all! Interesting to get at least one data point where Windows does better on fonts than a Mac. At least half of the artists working in the shop are always wearing me out about Macs... :-)
posted by randomkeystrike at 6:22 PM on January 23


On the other hand, I don't have font management software on my iMac at home, and when I accidentally click on the Font menu in Microsoft Word, the entire program hangs, choking on thousands of fonts.

Unless you somehow deleted it, you do have font management software on your iMac...FontBook. And, it works fairly well, for what it is. That said, I'm pretty sure Word (as well as most Adobe software) ignores FontBook's settings, and sucks-up any and all fonts it can find.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:23 AM on January 24


Right, I don't have professional font management software at home. Font Book actually hangs and frequently crashes on my iMac when I try to use it to manage fonts, since I have so many. So unfortunately, I haven't found it to be very useful in my situation!
posted by limeonaire at 7:23 AM on January 24


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