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Removing excess fonts System
As an Art Director, I like to manage my own fonts, so I was looking for information about which fonts installed with Panther I could safely remove (remember those happy Classic days?) and came across Chuck Weger's Font Fatigue: Pruning Excess Fonts in Mac OS X at creativepro.com.

It says anything you need to know about essential fonts, conflicting system fonts, etc. Now I have only three System Fonts installed and manage the rest (2.500 fonts) through Extensis Suitcase. Only a couple comments:
  • If you replace the Helvetica font the new version may have a slightly different kerning or leading causing the iCal Icon Date to appear off center (a minor concern if you ask me).

  • I think this has been mentioned before but just in case: Activating some "helvetica fractions" fonts may cause the headers in mail look awful.

  • With Photoshop and Illustrator CS, you need to have an active Geneva (although not in the system folders) because it is used, not to show the labels, but the readings in the info palette. If you don't have this font open, the info palette of those apps will be shown as usual, but it will not give you any values at all.

  • Geneva also has some obscure relation to how Suitcase X1 preview pane resizes to display multi-linear and large sized examples. Apparently Suitcase uses Geneva's leading instead of the particular font you are previewing to set the height of the preview space assigned to each font, deactivating Geneva makes previews look "croped". With this font open (even in your Classic folder) Suitcase's preview will work just fine
Thanks Chuck Weger you have my eternal gratitude!
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Removing excess fonts
Authored by: hellmachine on May 07, '04 10:38:49AM

congratulations. now you can enjoy viewing destroyed websites because many systemfonts used by web designers to display content. if, for instance, verdana is missing, you will get some replacement font, but verdana and the like are specialized for screen reading. you will miss them for shure...
i never understood why people not just accept system stuff. all the oldschool os9 guys keep poking where they should not. your machine won't be snappier by removing some fonts...



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Removing excess fonts
Authored by: Anonymous on May 07, '04 12:14:05PM

This hint is not so much about removing fonts but about beeing able to manage them. I prefer to decide which font I want to use instead of ending up with a page of text all messed up just becuase the kerning in a "system shipped" font is slightly different.

Besides, what's so wrong in trying to do what you want instead of doing what the system wants. In the old OS 9 days the system was so cristaline and integrated that you hardly noticed it was there at all.

---
Its impossible to create a foolproof device because fools are very ingenious people.



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Removing excess fonts
Authored by: Jaharmi on May 11, '04 03:08:20PM

I'm not sure what you mean by Mac OS 9 being so crystalline and integrated. In terms of font management, it had none. Okay, it had a folder named "Fonts" to which you could add up to 128 files (fonts, suitcases, etc.). But other than that, all management was typically done with a separate utility.

Now people want to continue managing Mac OS X -- a far more complex, but still quite approachable OS -- like it was as simple as Mac OS 9. This is not going to happen.

Each font folder in Mac OS X sits in a hierarchy and has a different purpose. The common font utilities still have no concept of this, or how to work on a multi-user computer. They want to manage everything in a user's home directory.



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Removing excess fonts
Authored by: ozzyrules on May 07, '04 12:23:31PM

Your point is noted. However, as many of us in the creative field who use lots of fonts know, OS X is a headache when it comes to fonts. There are so many conflicts that occur when we just let the system do what it wants.

This hint is a great help in managing fonts.



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Removing excess fonts
Authored by: dano on May 07, '04 12:41:01PM

One aspect of Mac OS X font management that seems to be overlooked is concept of location hierarchy. For example, if you have two fonts of the same name, the font used will be based upon it's location in the hierarchy. Apple has a useful document called "Using and Managing Fonts in Mac OS X" which explains this concept. Bases upon this, it is easy to predict which font would be used in the case of duplicates. My suggestion would be to reduce the number of font locations (if practical). One may also replace the .dfonts with postscript versions (if available). Lucida Grande and Helvetica are essential system fonts.



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Removing excess fonts
Authored by: montalvd on May 14, '04 01:33:38PM

the idea is to manage fonts through your font management program. an earlier post hit the nail on the head...each version of each font is different...so the goal MUST be to have complete control over what fonts are loaded.

in order to do this, you MUST trim down the number of absolutely necessary fonts. all the workstations we rollout at all the graphics/design/bureau shops we support have the following:

/System/Library/Fonts:
Geneva.dfont
Monaco.dfont
LucidaGrande.dfont
LastResort.dfont
Keyboard.dfont

/Library/Fonts:
...flushed clean...

~/Library/Fonts:
...flushed clean...

/Library/Application\ Support/Adobe/Fonts:
...flushed clean EXCEPT for the "Reqd" folder

we then load Helvetica.dfont and HelveticaNeue.dfont through Suitcase/FontReserve. before you get uptight about that...remember...you can enable/disable fonts ONLY through a font management program. so...if you need your own Helvetica, simply disable Helvetica.dfont and enable Helvetica (yours).

font management in osx is only different in that there are 7 necessary fonts (instead of four in os9)...out of which 5 MUST be in /System/Library/Fonts (where they CAN NOT) be managed...and of which 2 MUST be managed through your font management program (where you can enable/disable at will).

it's really not the big deal a lot of people on this forum are making it out to be. keep those 5 fonts in the right folder and manage the rest through Suitcase/FontReserve and move on with life...

;)
don montalvo, nyc

---
Don, NYC



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Ahh, the good ol' days...
Authored by: GORDYmac on May 07, '04 10:53:04AM

Remember when we didn't have to think about System Fonts?



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Ahh, the good ol' days...
Authored by: DavidRavenMoon on May 12, '04 01:40:47PM

That depends on what you do with your Mac. Since I work in design and publishing, I always had to manage my system fonts... way back to System 7. The idea was, and still is, to remove everything in the system fonts folder except the necessary system fonts, which for pre OS X systems was Chicago/Charcoal, and it never hurt to keep Geneva around.

Now Apple has made Helvetica a system font, which was a big mistake as far as I'm concerned. They should have stuck with Geneva, which is a Helvetica copy.



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some more tips and the BAD OLD DAYS
Authored by: PokéMac on May 13, '04 09:19:16PM

It's also a big help to make sure you replace Arial and Times New Roman with their LATEST versions instead of settling for Apple's bundled versions.. they are BUGGY and will eventually result in your downfall.. they are available from, oddly enough, Microsoft..

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=d1d378f9-9b31-4cb3-a022-c9148427a8c3&displaylang=en

If you bought Office X, those versions are included in the Fonts folder inside the common Office folder.

Also, whenever you add fonts to your Fonts folder it's a good idea to use 'sudo diskutil repairPermissions ~/Library/Fonts.. according to a note on Macintouch, Quark INSISTS that all fonts have the system default font permission of:

Owner: system
Read and Write
Group: admin
Read and Write
All Others: Read Only

A good way to see if a font is corrupted is to open a Finder window (most usually in my experience I look in System Folder/Fonts first) and then open Font Book and see if any are missing in the All Fonts window. If it's visible in the Finder window and it isn't in Font Book, I would trash the font immediately or at least move it out of harms way into another (Disabled) folder. I did this for one designer who still was working from an original copy of several font suitcases taken from a FLOPPY disk and it turned out that except for the Extended version all others were corrupt!

Yes, as I recall, you could have a maximum of 128 font SUITCASES in pre 9.1 systems but you could embed as many screen fonts as you possibly wanted into each suitcase. It was amazing to see people drag their homemade flavors of Zapf Gramelvetica Sans Brains into the System Folder and then whine when their Quark documents got corrupted, their machine kept rebooting, their boyfriend / girlfriend left them, their dog got run over by a garbage truck.. absolute voodoo.

I just don't agree with some of what's been said here. Hmm, throw out Apple's fonts and force the system to dip into the CLASSIC System folder to get fonts?! As Scotty said, "How QUAINT!" Do that and you may as well forget about running any iApps or just keep praying your next Apple app will never access any of the fonts you tossed out, even though it's a reasonable expectation of Apple's that you will never TOUCH them?

When Quark came out with their native OS X version I nuked my (OS 9) System Folder and have slept soundly (and not crashed) since. My Classic prefpane has NO classic folder selected and this eliminates any temptation by OS X to go trawling through an unsecured folder looking for fonts that WILL inevitably bring it down and of which a great many are duped in OS X for anyway.



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Removing excess fonts
Authored by: jda on May 07, '04 10:57:40AM

It's not about making the system snappier — it's about avoiding the wrong fonts loading into a piece of artwork and messing up the spacing. For example, no two Helveticas are the same. This is a problem for anybody who works professionally with fonts. That's why as many system fonts have to be disabled as possible.



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Removing excess fonts
Authored by: deleted_user18 on May 10, '04 05:17:46AM

So why doesn't this other font which is oviously different have a different name?

To me it looks that this is the root of the problem.



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Hint Update
Authored by: Anonymous on May 07, '04 12:27:35PM

I must correct one of my statements in the main hint. With Photoshop and Illustrator CS you need to have an active Geneva (although not in the system folders) because it is used, not to show the labels, but the readings in the info palette. If you don't have this font open, the info palette of those apps will be shown as usual, but it will not give you any values at all.

Geneva also has some obscure relation to how Suitcase X1 preview pane resizes to display multi-linear and large sized examples. Apparently suitcase uses geneva's leading instead of the particular font you are previewing to set the height of the preview space assigned to each font, deactivating geneva makes previews look "croped". With this font open (even in your classic folder) Suitcase's preview will work just fine

Please Rob if you read this, be so kind to update the main hint. Thanks.

---
Its impossible to create a foolproof device because fools are very ingenious people.



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Hint Update
Authored by: ig88 on May 08, '04 01:25:22PM

i would just like to add, that you may wish to keep monaco running as well. the terminal needs it to show up, and every other font looks pretty miserable in the window.

as a designer, i must use my own helvetica neue that is in all my docs, and prints well with all my printers inhouse and out of house.

what have i had very good luck with for some time?

the list of active fonts:
arial
arial black
arial narrow
arial rounded MT bold
geneva
helvetica neue [custom]
lucida grande
monaco
verdana

all the rest of my working fonts are handled thru suitcase and are on/off per job.

i use font book to turn all stuff off except the above, and i actually replace the helvetica and helvetica neue with my own.

---
ig88
motion designer | graphic design | Janitor



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Removing excess fonts
Authored by: RTMac on May 07, '04 12:52:43PM

Wow... a 2,000 word article on how to manage fonts in OS X. Tell me again how much more advanced OS X is than OS 9! :)



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Removing excess fonts
Authored by: izippy on May 07, '04 02:16:59PM

For me, hell froze over when I woke to realise that Windows now handles fonts better than a MAC - weep.......



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Removing excess fonts
Authored by: Jaharmi on May 11, '04 01:31:22PM

I think you need to explain that a bit.

Just because Mac OS X is different in font handling than Mac OS 9, it's worse than Windows? What specifically is worse?

I think half of the problems people have with Mac OS X's font handling are due to the fact that they approach as if they weren't managing critical files used across applications and (potentially) multiple user accounts. Take that together with the various font management utilities that people use, which themselves don't seem to do a good job adapting to Mac OS X, and I think we have the root of our problem.

<http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=106417>



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Helvetica Fractions
Authored by: DavidRavenMoon on May 07, '04 08:40:52PM
This is a myth! I'm a graphic artist, and have been suffering from this issue myself... whenever you activate the PostScript version of Helvetica, Safari, Mail and iChat's fonts turn to gibberish. You can see this here: bad text

I have read the hints, some from Extensis themselves, about removing the Helvetica Fractions font... and I did, and I cleaned my font caches... and it still happens! (I have screen shots and all, which I'm using to throw together a web page documenting the problem).

The other issue is that some fonts, such as AGaramond, also show up as gibberish in Suitcase, and in some native apps, such as Quark 6, but not InDesign 2.02 or CS. You can see this here: more bad fonts

I think the real problem here is in the font encoding... Suitcase seems to not be handling the unicode/non-unicode issues. One fix is to open the problem font in the old classic only Fontographer application, and re-save the font.

This is how I've been fixing our font library at work. But still, sometimes I have to use Quark 5 in Classic, which since it is not unicode aware, does not have this problem.

I think both Apple and Extensis are trying to deny there's a problem, but there is.
.

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Removing excess fonts
Authored by: xyz3 on May 07, '04 08:46:03PM

You are probably making your printers life a nightmare. I think InDesign allows enough contol over fonts that you shouldn't have any need to do ignorant things like swap system fonts for your own hacked up fonts.

Btw if you remove (monaco - I believe) Terminal won't work properly.

"happy Classic days" weren't really that great either, as memory recalls.



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Removing excess fonts
Authored by: webbix on May 07, '04 10:02:25PM
I will add my solution to the list as it may be helpful as well. I was charged with making our DTP and regular users compatible in our mixed OS X and OS 9 environment. We have always had a 'blessed font' selection that was deployed on any new install from OS 9 days. Most of our documents already are using the type 1 and a handful of TT fonts.

I found several articles and by combining what I found (however there still seems to be some voodoo involved with complete font management) we have what appears to be a working font deployment.

I remove the system fonts that were specified in one source document but it may differ from what the original tip contributor here has discovered. No fonts are stored in the /Library or User directory but placed in the 'System Folder'; as stated this is to maintain compatibility with X/9 systems so you can place in /Library or User directory i you do not have a classic boot folder or do not need to maintain the font environment with OS 9 users

  • OS X Font management procedure to replicate 'Blessed Fonts'
    • Create a 'disabled' directory for each font directory you will manage
      • Library>Fonts
      • System>Library>Fonts
      • Users>[user_name]>Library>Fonts
      • System Folder (Classic)>Fonts
    • Copy or Move each directory into the disabled location (User/Shared/?)
      • Library>Fonts
      • System>Library>Fonts
      • Users>[user_name]>Library>Fonts
      • System Folder (Classic)>Fonts
    • Manage or Remove Fonts (See 'Managing Fonts in OS X')
      • Library>Fonts - You can delete these from finder
      • System>Library>Fonts - You will need to use terminal or move to trash and resart to manage
      • Users>[user_name]>Library>Fonts - You can delete from finder
      • System Folder (Classic)>Fonts - Make certain you have exactly the Blessed Fonts 10.2002 (135 total)
    • Restart you computer


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Removing excess fonts
Authored by: Anonymous on May 08, '04 06:37:26AM
Removing excess fonts
Authored by: sapridyne on May 08, '04 11:01:32AM

Please do not make your SysAdmin's life miserable by removing or managing fonts yourself. Do yourself a favor and, if you feel ANY hesitation about doing ANY of these steps -- DON'T.

Personally, I suggest that if you're a novice DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING in the System/Library directory. Just don't. If you're in a corporate environment, PLEASE PLEASE consult your tech support before doing something stupid.



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Removing excess fonts
Authored by: montalvd on May 09, '04 11:07:46PM

any sysadmin who allows you to have admin privs deserves to have a life of hell. users should not be logging in as admin.

/System Folder/Fonts should be limited to:
Charcoal
Chicago
Geneva
Monaco

~/Library/Fonts should be empty

/Library/Fonts should be empty

/System/Library/Fonts should only have:

LucidaGrande.dfont
LastResort.dfont
Geneva.dfont
Monaco.dfont
Keyboard.dfont

set up suitcase or fontreserve with an "i-apps" set that includes these two fonts and turn them on when you need to...for instance, to use ichat, etc.:

Helvetica.dfont
HelveticaNeue.dfont

bonus hint...if you're running fontreserve server, you should have a set named precicely: "User System Fonts" which will keep your users' font folders flushed...ymmv (rtfm).

don montalvo, nyc

---
Don, NYC



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Removing excess fonts
Authored by: Jaharmi on May 11, '04 01:41:53PM

I agree with this. Your sys admin should work with you if you think you are having font management problems.

I agree somewhat with the other poster who says that users should not log in with admin privs, but I think that is unrealistic in many settings. At the very least, mobile users will need an admin account (maybe not their own regular account) so that they can adjust to conference/hotel/etc. networks when travelling. Beyond that, in some distributed environments, users may set up their own machines before a sys admin gets to them -- and they get an admin account from the Setup Assistant.

Since it's unrealistic to expect that no one will have access to a Mac OS X admin account, sys admins have to adjust for that eventuality. Running some sort of filesystem maintenance (like Radmind, etc.) is one way to make sure everything is in working order. Or, warn users who tinker that if they tinker too much, they will lose access to their computer while it is being re-imaged and reconfigured for them.

Beyond that, I've seen some sys admins who are more dangerous than their end users ... and I think this thread is an indicator of that. A lot of people try to manage their systems as if they were Mac OS 9, and nowhere is this more apparent than with font management.



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Removing excess fonts
Authored by: danscott on Jun 28, '04 07:48:13PM

I am overseeing a pre-press house and am in the process of getting fonts under control.

I'm using font reserveI have cleaned up my fonts as per check weger's instructions,. Now i am not sure what to do with all the fonts in library/ application support / adobe?

any suggestions / links?



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