What's the best Font Management solutions for OSX?
July 28, 2004 11:20 AM   Subscribe

Font Management in Mac OS X - We've been holding off on upgrading our marketing design team to OS X because font management (among other things) is an issue. We're due for new hardware though, and that's going to mean leaving 9. We want to get off Quark anyway and move over to InDesign. That brings us back to the font issue. Has anybody (in the capacity of a professional graphic designer) determined the best solution for that?
posted by willnot to Computers & Internet (18 answers total)
foot book is horrible. its been said that the closest thing to working well youre going to get is xtensis suitcase. basically i am crossing my fingers for an osx atm. i am sure it will never happen. i usually just end up placing and replacing items into my library>fonts. but this is inefficent at best. blast!
posted by c at 11:26 AM on July 28, 2004

You'd think somebody would have realized this pot o' money by now. I seriously cannot believe that it would not be in Adobe's best interest to have an OS X ATM. I mean, wouldn't EVERYBODY that uses Adobe already buy it? Is there some legal thing that I don't know about? Like, is Apple just not letting them do it?
posted by Stan Chin at 11:35 AM on July 28, 2004

Response by poster: Have you tried FontAgent Pro? A few threads on Usenet seem to point to that one as the best of the bunch. There's a free trial which I will take advantage of, but any voice of experience comments are very welcome. I have used Suitcase in the past with mixed results. ATM would have been my preference as well, but I'm not holding my breath.
posted by willnot at 11:36 AM on July 28, 2004

A print/design/output shop my SO works at (and that I occasionally visit and noodle about in) uses that annoying amalgam of OS X, OS 9 Classic, Xtensis Suitcase, Quark (in classic), Illustrator 10, Illustrator/Photoshop CS, and Distiller.

I don't think there's really any other solution at this point if you want to keep your workflow compatible with OS 9 apps such as Quark and whatnot.

And yes, it creates many, many problems in the workflow. If there was a better solution, I'm pretty sure they'd have deployed it by now, considering everything else there is bleeding edge.
posted by loquacious at 11:52 AM on July 28, 2004

If you are using OS X native programs, then FontAgent Pro is definitely the best program available. On my computer when using the FontAgent Pro Classic extension, QuarkXpress 4 will hang Classic.

FontAgent Pro also eliminated a problem I was having between Suitcase, Illustrator and an AppleScript. When opening a document with missing fonts, Suitcase would bring up a separate dialog which would cause my AppleScript to timeout.
posted by the biscuit man at 12:15 PM on July 28, 2004

Whatever you do, stay away from FontReserve.
posted by Robot Johnny at 12:30 PM on July 28, 2004

The last time this question was asked, the consensus seemed to be that Suitcase was about as good as you're going to get from the sorry lot that is OSX font managers.

Stay away from Apple Font Book. Even if you can get it to work without crashing -- quite a feat in itself -- it's really amazingly incredibly slow.
posted by majick at 12:38 PM on July 28, 2004

I've tried everything and have settled, for the time being, on Suitcase, the newest (v. 11?) edition. Like Biscuitman says, there are some problems with it, but the autoactivation works great with Indesign CS (love it) and the problems are minor so far.

Lots of discussion on this over at Typographica - many, many pages of sometimes-heated discussion.
posted by luriete at 1:11 PM on July 28, 2004

Response by poster: I knew I'd seen that question on here recently. I could have sworn I searched on just "font", looks like it would have found it though. Sorry and thanks.
posted by willnot at 1:28 PM on July 28, 2004

Using Suitcase and hating it. Was a HUGE FontReserve zealot in OS9 -- the classification system is light years ahead of Suitcase -- but in OSX (and especially switching back and forth between X and Classic) it's a dog, and we had to put it down.

I'm hoping that the Suitcase/FontReserve hybrid that's supposedly coming out will have the best of both, which getting rid of the worst.

I'll have to look into FontAgent. Thanks for the tip.
posted by papercake at 1:43 PM on July 28, 2004

I use Font Agent Pro and like it, though I've never used Suitcase on Panther (I used it pre-Panther and it crashed all the time on me).
posted by dobbs at 1:44 PM on July 28, 2004

The latest issue of TidBITS has a review of FontAgent Pro.
posted by teg at 2:27 PM on July 28, 2004

Suitcase X1/Panther user here & I rolled it out at my last work place when I switched 'em all to OS X. I didn't delve into the server option but it worked well with local fonts.

Never had a problem with QuarkXpress 5 or 6 & seems to work well with the Adobe CS package. The auto-activation plug-ins

Congrats on killing off Quark. I did a layout yesterday that used to take 30mins with QX & it took 5 with ID. mmm...nested style sheets.

In fact you should just give me a job ;-)
posted by i_cola at 3:12 PM on July 28, 2004

I seriously cannot believe that it would not be in Adobe's best interest to have an OS X ATM.

OS X doesn't need Adobe Type Manager, as the OS ships with the ability to render PostScript fonts.
posted by kindall at 3:15 PM on July 28, 2004

Me three heart ID3.

I can't recall what I was using pre Font Book. I was never really happy with it. A quick trip to the CD binder indicates it was Suitcase 10, and it did work, as I recall. But not with a smooth and creamlike transparency.

I'm still using Font Book, but I surely remain dissatisfied. Speed is the primary issue. I have vague plans to reload Suitcase.

(ATM - ATM Pro? can't recall - was often used as a font manager in addition to resolving the jaggies, Jerry.)
posted by mwhybark at 6:36 PM on July 28, 2004

I've actually been using Suitcase 10.2.blah.blah.blah for quite a while and am actually pretty happy with it, be it with Quark 5, Quark 6, Illustrator, Photoshop or Indesign. Of course I think I had to install a couple of updates before I got any speed out of the thing. I work at a large commercial printer and am switching font sets constantly. That's not to say that it's perfect... actually I think the last font management tool that I really liked was Suitcase 8.2.
posted by bucko at 7:54 PM on July 28, 2004

I was an early OS X and InDesign adopter and have hundreds of typefaces. There are two viable solutions for you which play well with InDesign, the rest of the Adobe creative suite, and anything else that I've used (director, flash, ms products, etc). Suitcase and Font Reserve. (WTF? when did they both become owned by Extensis?) They're both quirky in their own ways, but I use both (one each on two different machines) and they've been reliably chugging away for years at this point. Make sure you look at the most recent versions of both for maximum reliability.
posted by warhol at 7:38 AM on July 29, 2004

Corrupt fonts can cause more OS X system & application instability than you can imagine - haven't had a problem with Suitcase X1 after i used the trial version of Font Agent Pro to consolidate, clean and organise the font collection (as Suitcases' diagnostic tools don't cut the mustard).
posted by elphTeq at 9:37 PM on July 29, 2004

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