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Author Topic: Font managers reviews and opinions  (Read 12039 times)
Armando
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« on: September 07, 2008, 07:42:00 PM »

I've had to play with fonts recently and I realized I was ill equipped...

So started to look for good font managers -- Will be downloading and installing Veign's Cfont Pro and check it out (looks very good BTW  thumbs up). I used to have Bitstream Font Navigator, a long long long while ago. I was young in these days.

Anyway. I found many rather recent and informative global (even if incomplete) reviews. Here are 2 of them :


http://www.techsupportale...est-free-font-manager.htm

http://www.smashingmagazi...anagement-tools-reviewed/


But no reviews are good without some DCers comments and opinions... I know there are a few threads on fonts and realted stuff around here. But it's always fun to ask : what's your take, font experts ? Any all time favorite ?

[edited by mouser: added screenshot]
« Last Edit: September 07, 2008, 07:54:55 PM by mouser » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2008, 09:11:43 PM »

Long time ago I've used to use X-fonter (http://www.blacksunsoftware.com/xfonter.html).

It was the best free tool which allowed to see non-installed fonts and search using custom filters rules.
The last free version can be downloaded here:
http://www.aplusfreeware....ories/util/fonttools.html

Currently I don't need such tool and I am using Total Commander's lister plugin for easy fonts preview.


* fonts1.png (132.42 KB, 1187x913 - viewed 324 times.)

* fonts2.png (137.76 KB, 1189x914 - viewed 305 times.)

* fonts3.png (112.57 KB, 1189x914 - viewed 318 times.)

* fonts4.png (107.94 KB, 1189x914 - viewed 303 times.)
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Grorgy
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2008, 09:24:13 PM »

I found a free one somehow called The Font Thing, what i like about it is it lets you look at previews of a selection of fonts at one time, its free but it is old, its from about 1999 2000, the lady who wrote it doesnt seem to be at all active on her website but the program works fine on all versions of XP anyway, never tried it on Vista, this is its page http://members.ozemail.com.au/~scef/ 



* Screenshot - 8_09_2008 , 12_23_02 PM.jpg (87.41 KB, 640x480 - viewed 302 times.)
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2008, 09:34:00 PM »

I don't really know anything about font managers so I just did a Google, found the first result to be AMFP Font Viewer and tried that and it works so I settled on it.

http://www.ampsoft.net/utilities/FontViewer.php


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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2008, 09:37:23 PM »

NexusFont (Freeware & Portable, Runs on 2000/XP/2003/Vista)

Features:
  • Supported Font Types: TrueType, TrueType Collection, OpenType, Adobe Type1.
  • Install/Uninstall fonts: install fonts into system or uninstall fonts from system.
  • Find Duplicate Fonts: find duplicate fonts in folders and delete unnecessary font files.
  • Print: print fonts list with user defined sample text
  • Export as Image: export font list as an image with user defined sample text
  • AntiAliasing: supports antialiasing for designers
  • Rename: Rename font files with their font name
  • Copy/Move/Delete: manages font files
  • Favorite Fonts: manages fonts by favorite groups

« Last Edit: September 07, 2008, 09:42:52 PM by PhilB66 » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2008, 09:38:43 PM »

Ohh and for serious font stuff, not that i do a lot of it, but i have Main Type from high logic, see the specials page for the discount!  Wink
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tomos
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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2008, 06:37:09 AM »

I have Main Type as well
but -
1) I dont need to use it much
2) I've never used anything else so I cant really compare it to others ...

It certainly is very easy to use and I like it
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Tom
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« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2008, 07:46:52 AM »

I'm a long-time user of Adobe Type Manager.
ATM is showing its age a bit.

When I switched to my current machine a month or two back I installed only MainType for font management (2.1.1 in my case).
FWIW I can't fault it.

Another candidate is Extensis Suitcase. Page is here
Suitcase helpfully installs plug-ins for. e.g. Adobe suite applications.
I find that if I don't have Suitcase running the helpers (helpfully) point out that fact.
Although that's really a benefit, (essential, really, for serious stuff) I find it slightly annoying.
That's not because of anything that Suitcase does but simply due to the fact that it's another reminder that I'm as dumb as a telegraph pole.

I haven't found a free FM that does exactly what I want, nor have I looked at all of them.


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Chris
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« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2008, 08:25:58 AM »

About a year ago I tried all of the software available, and settled on MainType.

It had all the features I needed, and has a nice DC discount too.
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« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2008, 11:39:26 AM »

I though NexusFont was pretty good with useful features. tough truthfully i deleted it since i don't need no font manager
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Curt
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« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2008, 07:08:44 PM »

I was lucky to get Advanced Font Viewer 4.42 for free from Givewayoftheday.
I have absolutely no idea if it even is among The Best, but it suites me. However, the new version 5 is $97, which is absurd. There surely must be something both better & cheaper!

http://www.styopkin.com/d...dvanced_fonts_viewer.html
« Last Edit: September 09, 2008, 02:58:47 AM by Curt » Logged
tomos
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« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2008, 04:07:48 AM »

I was lucky to get Advanced Font Viewer 4.42 for free from Givewayoftheday.
I have absolutely no idea if it even is among The Best, but it suites me. However, the new version 5 is $97, which is absurd. There surely must be something both better & cheaper!

http://www.styopkin.com/d...dvanced_fonts_viewer.html

their website sure doesnt make it look like $97 worth (visually or with info)
I think for that price you get a "professional" font manager like Suitcase/Suitcase Fusion
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Tom
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« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2008, 04:58:48 AM »

I use font every day and I can recommend Linotype FontExplorer (download). It was a generation ahead of Extensis Suitcase and Adobe Type Manager when i started using it a year or two ago.
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« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2008, 06:03:35 AM »

It's obvious I recommend MainType, especially with the 50% discount here at DC.  Grin

But I'm positive other people might prefer another font manager. Although not all font managers have equal features, some people just need a basic font management utility to preview and install fonts. Others need more advanced features like full Unicode support, filtering, duplicate detection, drag and drop, real time font synchronization with Windows, or an auto activate plugin for Adobe Indesign. No font manager has all these features, so do some research and try a couple and then decide what best fits your needs.

In my opinion there are two things a font manager must do:
- It must support at least TrueType and OpenType fonts (some font managers fail)
- It must be stable (don't use Beta software)
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Erwin Denissen
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« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2008, 06:55:20 AM »

I use font every day and I can recommend Linotype FontExplorer (download). It was a generation ahead of Extensis Suitcase and Adobe Type Manager when i started using it a year or two ago.


Direct download FontExplorer

Known Problems

Quote
The functionality of the FontExplorer X is severely limited under Windows Vista due to issues with user privileges. For this same reason, a user with limited privileges and in the Admin free mode may also experience problems under Windows XP.
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justice
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« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2008, 06:56:58 AM »

Yep it has its issues and that's why the pc version is not available for download from links although you and i have both found out how to download it Wink

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« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2008, 01:47:41 PM »

Before I joined DC, I'd settled on these three Windows OpenType font programs:
1. Bitstream Font Manager-- I have 7 or 8 thousand fonts on file; Windows loads about 84 of them at startup. Every other font program makes me wait 30 seconds or more while all my fonts are enumerated-- Bitstream doesn't make me wait. Fastest way to upgrade to the latest Deja Vu, for example. CONS: Can't customize the interface very much; duplicate font finder is unreliable. Comes bundled in CorelDraw.

2. XFonter-- One has a "collection" of music files, but fonts live in a "library." If you want to page through your library in a clean, bright, highly configurable setting, XFonter's tabbed interface allows full access to font history, information & nomenclature, plus all the usual font manager functions, plus textures and Blacksun's very nice color sampler. XFonter seems a marriage of beauty & function. CONS: This one makes me wait while I close it, too. Waiting for software to start is much easier than waiting for it to finish.

3.  MainType-- seems to be the fastest full-featured Windows font manager.  I use it when I want to compare fonts and select a group of them for a project. MainType has a handsome, highly functional, tool-like interface that's surprisingly configurable. For everyday Windows use, it's quite a bargain at the DC price. CONS: Can't open every tool at once-- there's not enough room.
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Curt
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« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2008, 07:37:57 PM »

Yep it has its issues

- "issues"?? It is totally not ready for public use! I installed it and did not click "manage my fonts". Seconds later it was moving my fonts to locations named All Users\My Documents\0 , All Users\My Documents\2 , All Users\My Documents\A , All Users\My Documents\B , etcetera, and it did not move them back when uninstalled. Hrmff!


In my opinion there are two things a font manager must do:
- It must support at least TrueType and OpenType fonts (some font managers fail)
- It must be stable (don't use Beta software)

 Wink
« Last Edit: September 09, 2008, 07:41:46 PM by Curt » Logged
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« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2008, 03:07:14 PM »

The *best* font manager IMO, at least a year ago, after I spent lots of time looking at the available options, was FontExpert by Proxima:

http://www.proximasoftware.com/fontexpert/

Its features for managing groups & tagging/rating, along with very solid enable/disable of font (groups) are unrivalled (didn't try Maintype though, but it looks less comprehensive from the web info).

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Armando
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« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2008, 12:07:54 AM »

Nice input from many DCers! I'll have to try some of these in the next few weeks.
The *best* font manager IMO, at least a year ago, after I spent lots of time looking at the available options, was FontExpert by Proxima:

Interestingly, when mouser edited my (a bit... dry?) first post and added a screenshot, he added the FontExpert one. Coincidence?
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« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2008, 12:09:08 AM »

Quote
Coincidence?
yes, i just grabbed the easiest screen image to grab, i was not endorsing any particular program.
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tomos
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« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2010, 07:14:47 AM »

Re a query about MainType from another thread:

From time to time I have purchased some cheap font managers, only to find they later (or already) were abandoned. I guess one of my prime reasons for buying "cheap" have been the price of the recommended ones. $49 and $59 may be okay prices for MainType 3 and FontExpert 2010, if they were to keep for life. But they are not lifetime licenses, and the upgrade prices are $29 and $39 - making especially FontExpert much too expensive, I think. Changes are not that big, it seems, but major versions come quick (*ALMOST* as often as Ashampoo!)!

Did you stick with your gratis version 2, tomos, or have you paid the $29 fee?

I only found out about the upgrade (of MainType) to version 3 last week so I'm considering upgrading -
OT(One)H it doesnt seem to get upgraded often (4 years since v.2 came out)
OT(Other)H there doesnt seem to be much happening in between - it's gone from 2.1.1 (2007) to 3:

Quote
2.1.1 [May 16, 2007]
    * Install and uninstall fonts through double-click

3.0 [March 31, 2010]
    * Better handling of font substitutes
    * New context menu item: Open Containing Folder
    * New filter option, Font Type: Unknown
    * Added Foundry and a Full Font Name (Postscript) columns to the Fonts pane
    * Show all Glyphs option
    * Fixed issues with PostScript Type 1 fonts on Windows x64
    * New setting for font display quality (aliased/ cleartype, etc)
    * Automatic online version checking

I'm a very basic user. I use it just if I need to have a good look at fonts, & to install/uninstall or to load fonts ('install' till next reboot)
It doesnt affect me personally but I do find it a bit unfriendly that a bug fix is part of the upgrade (issues with PostScript Type 1 fonts on Windows x64) but I guess that's excusable considering the age of 2.1

It did (2008) get a very good review at Smashing Magazine (link in first post above)
Quote
MainType 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.
my emphasis

If you're seriously considering it, have a look at this MainType forum thread - they're considering a rewrite because it cant cache the details of your fonts - this means it currently has to read all your fonts on startup and people are saying it's slow (doesnt seem to be included in the list of improvements above). For me this is not a problem - I have only 200 fonts installed.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2010, 07:20:47 AM by tomos » Logged

Tom
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« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2010, 12:15:32 AM »

Ohh and for serious font stuff, not that i do a lot of it, but i have Main Type from high logic, see the specials page for the discount!  Wink

I have Scanahand "Pro" but not the most recent version. They have since added Themida to their products. I don’t like installing anything with Themida. It basically puts a wrapper around their code, I guess as protection against reverse engineering. Problem is that Anti-Virus developers can't scan inside the wrapper. Naturally some of the virus authors have found they can plant their products inside Themida's wrapper and not be detected by AV software. Very controversial a few years ago. I don’t know if all that has ever been resolved but since new info is not easily found when searching I just make sure I don’t install anything that uses Themida.

Jim
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tomos
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« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2011, 09:37:41 AM »

It did (2008) get a very good review at Smashing Magazine (link in first post above)
Quote
MainType 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.
my emphasis

If you're seriously considering it, have a look at this MainType forum thread - they're considering a rewrite because it cant cache the details of your fonts - this means it currently has to read all your fonts on startup and people are saying it's slow (doesnt seem to be included in the list of improvements above). For me this is not a problem - I have only 200 fonts installed.

MainType 4 is out - I never upgraded to 3 so am going for #4
They're not overly informative about the details

Quote
   New user interface
    Improved performance
    New user views
    Quick search
    Optimized support for large font collections
    Easy backup and restore of your font library
    New layout features improves usability
    Detailed side-by-side font information

I gotta admit - I tried the free Nexusfont recommended by Gizmo - looks nice, but the portable version was unable to uninstall a font [Win7 64bit] so that prompted me to upgrade.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2011, 09:40:35 AM by tomos; Reason: added OS details » Logged

Tom
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« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2011, 09:59:32 AM »

MainType 4 is on offer right now - $59 seems okay

----------
I was lucky to get Advanced Font Viewer 4.42 for free from Givewayoftheday. ... However, the new version 5 is $97, which is absurd. There surely must be something both better & cheaper! http://www.styopkin.com/d...dvanced_fonts_viewer.html
their website sure doesnt make it look like $97 worth (visually or with info) I think for that price you get a "professional" font manager like Suitcase/Suitcase Fusion

The price is now $39 with a lifetime license! But of course one might doubt the value of a lifetime license for a program that has not been updated for 3 years...
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