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Fix incorrectly-displayed fonts without logging out System
Occasionally (every few weeks), a user comes along to me complaining that the fonts in one of their applications has become "garbled" or "corrupted." Safari seems to be the subject of most complaints, but I have also seen this occurring in Firefox, and I'm pretty sure I've seen it before in other applications as well. The symptom is simply that an incorrect font is used for the display of text. For example, Cursive being used instead of Times. In sections of text where the style changes to bold and/or italics, the font may or may not switch to the correct one. If a symbol font happens to be the incorrectly-displayed one, it looks sort of like hieroglyphics -- hence the description of "garbled" or "corrupted" text sometimes seen on various forums.

Note: I don't think "corrupted font" is an accurate characterization of the problem. The fonts themselves don't appear to be corrupted; rather, the system is using the wrong font to display some text. The following solution worked for me, without requiring a reboot or logout. It can be done as the user experiencing the problem (ie: no admin access is required).
  1. Quit the application experiencing the problem.
  2. Remove the contents of this directory: /Library » Caches » com.apple.ATS » nnn -- where nnn is the UID number of the user experiencing the problem.
  3. Kill the process called ATSServer. This should probably be done as soon as possible after step 2. The system appears to automatically restart ATSServer after a few seconds.
Now try starting the application again. Hopefully the text will now be displaying in the correct font. If not, try repeating steps two and three above as close together (in time) as possible. These steps could be done either with Finder and Activity Monitor (respectively), or entirely on the command line.

For a more permanent fix, I've seen suggestions that adding a logout or shutdown hook (removing the user's folder in /Library » Caches » com.apple.ATS, or killing ATSServer) might help. But if the thing that causes the corruption happens randomly at any moment, as opposed to cumulative problems building up over time, then such a hook wouldn't do anything to solve repeat ocurrences (but I haven't actually tried it myself).
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Fix incorrectly-displayed fonts without logging out | 11 comments | Create New Account
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Fix incorrectly-displayed fonts without logging out
Authored by: skrawcke on Jul 02, '07 08:27:16AM

also take a look at Linotype FontExplorerâ„¢ X (it's free)
One of the main problems is Helvetica, We are a production house and have way to many fonts and sometimes when Helvetica Arithmetic gets turned on the system forces this as the normal Helvetica font causing all kind of issues. So the best way would be to find out what font is causing the problem and removing/turn off the Bad font.



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Fix incorrectly-displayed fonts without logging out
Authored by: skrawcke on Jul 02, '07 08:31:56AM

oops not Helvetica Arithmetic but Helvetica Fractions, is the font that causes nothing but problems.



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Fix incorrectly-displayed fonts without logging out
Authored by: lukec on Jul 02, '07 08:43:21AM
You could do this if you're concerned about delay between actions.

rm -r /Library/Caches/com.apple.ATS/nnn && sleep 1 && killall ATSServer

or do it without the sleep

rm -r /Library/Caches/com.apple.ATS/nnn && killall ATSServer


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Fix incorrectly-displayed fonts without logging out
Authored by: concrete on Jul 02, '07 03:27:16PM
nice, though for a complete clean which I use often as I use A LOT OF FONTS... FontNuke.. a nice little freeware app

http://www.jamapi.com/pr/fn/index.html

When things are going nuts and applications are doing stupid things, I blame fonts and this 90% is the case.

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Fix incorrectly-displayed fonts without logging out
Authored by: rafa espada on Jul 02, '07 04:36:31PM

Cool... I put this line in then shutdown script and the caches font files are remove all the days (when I shutdown my mac)...

the script is /etc/rc.shutdown

sudo vim /etc/rc.shutdown put cursor before . /etc/rc.commond...

push i to insert text... write script line rm -r /Library/Caches/com.apple.ATS/501 (in my case the user id is 501), press ESC, write :wq (write and quit) and intro.

thanki you

---
rafa espada
rafa@espada.info
http://www.rafaespada.com
http://www.caborian.com

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Fix incorrectly-displayed fonts without logging out
Authored by: delight1 on Jul 03, '07 04:52:25AM

you forgot to remind people that the /etc/rc.shutdown should still have "exit 0" as the last line



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Fix incorrectly-displayed fonts without logging out
Authored by: foilpan on Jul 02, '07 05:03:12PM
or:
rm -rf /Library/Caches/com.apple.ATS
ln -s /private/tmp /Library/Caches/com.apple.ATS


this symlinks the com.apple.ATS folder to /tmp, which gets purged on a regular basis anyway. just reboot, and you should be all set. this only needs to be done once.

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Fix incorrectly-displayed fonts without logging out
Authored by: jiclark on Jul 07, '07 11:08:55AM

This seems like an idea that's almost too good to be true... Can anyone think of a downside???

The symlink would probably get removed by some future update, but other than that, this just seems like a no-brainer! Why isn't this (or a similar technique) being implemented by Apple as a way to deal with the all-too-prevalent issue of corrupt font caches?!?



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Fix incorrectly-displayed fonts without logging out
Authored by: rafa espada on Jul 03, '07 04:41:09AM

cool... a really good idea :-D

---
rafa espada
rafa@espada.info
http://www.rafaespada.com
http://www.caborian.com



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Fix incorrectly-displayed fonts without logging out
Authored by: afterhours on Jul 05, '07 07:25:51AM
While the problem is correctly identified, the fix can easily be completed by using the MainMenu utility's option to Clean Font Caches. Anytime this cache collection is purged, it's wise to reboot the system, too.

I've seen the problem manifest itself when using Safari (v2.x) on the Register <http://www.theregister.co.uk/>; website when they use italic verdana in their webcode. the 'em' tag triggers Safari to misrepresent the font face.

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