The best font manager

This item was written by subscriber Peter McDonell, AKA "Font Pharos". Peter has had a consuming interest in fonts and typography for more than ten years and is a regular commentator on the subject. Peter and I had a long email discussion about font managers and in the end I asked if he would write up his recommendations. Here they are:

Confused about the relationship between a font and a typeface? Then you had best read this (1) first.

Well, what do I want from a font manager? Several things:

I look for a utility which can present to me samples of fonts, probably using my own text phrase.
I want to be able to check out True type (TTF), Type 1 (PFB/PFM) and Open Type Fonts (OTF), all whether installed or not.

I may want to use the utility to install or uninstall fonts, and I’d prefer it didn’t lock up just because I’ve pointed it at a folder containing several thousand typefaces.

Over the years some excellent font utilities have emerged and then stagnated, perhaps in part because more recent versions of word processors incorporate font viewers to help in choosing between your installed typefaces. Additionally, font viewing functions have now been incorporated into the Windows and OS X operating systems.

The good news is that the field has not been entirely abandoned. Have a look at the following utilities – I’ve used them all:

AMP Font Viewer 380 handles/browses all uninstalled and installed fonts (2).

FontPicker is a handy comparative tool to compare installed fonts (3).

Extended Character Map is a boon for dingbat (4) fonts. It can be found at the following obsolete software sites (5), (6).

If you are mainly interested in reviewing your installed fonts the free Fast Font Preview (13) provides a quick multi-line view but doesn’t review all types of uninstalled fonts.

Not al

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2007-10-18: