What Is A Font Manager?
A font manager is a software solution for using fonts more effectively. Good font managers have the flexibility to meet the unique needs of each designer – professional or personal. Most font managers allow you to:
- Rename font files
- Organize fonts by tags, folders or collections
- Sort and search fonts according to different metadata or criteria
- Activate and deactivate fonts
- Find and uninstall corrupt fonts
- View fonts that are not currently installed
- View font glyphs
- Preview fonts in different backgrounds or sizes
- Testing a font before using it
Step #10: Why Use A Font Manager?
The average creative professional’s font library contains upwards of 4,500 fonts (in my opinion that number is likely waaaaaay to small). Even if you’re not a professional, it’s not unheard of for a font library to contain upwards of 3,500 fonts. I won’t even tell you how many fonts I have 😊 Either way, that’s why anyone who works regularly with fonts needs a system for organizing and managing them.
Font management took years for me to wrap my mind around, literally YEARS. In my last Tuesday Tip Day post, I shared where you can get fonts. And all those places were part of my problem. I’m great at finding fonts, but I had grown to accept that it was just going to take me forever to find the perfect one (in my massive collection) when working on a new project.
Again, if you read the prior post, you know I finally broke down & started using a font manager. If you struggle managing all of your fonts, then read on, my friend. These are my tips for how to manage your fonts if they’re quickly spiraling out of control.
Benefits Of A Font Manager
Font managers let you view your fonts, and good ones let you explore their detailed traits and metadata. Most font managers allow you to organize your fonts by collections (i.e., styles and/or types). All of this should transform plodding through a massive font collection to find the right font into a fast and enjoyable process.
While you can reap many important benefits from using a font manager, the single most important reason is that a good font manager elevates the performance of you and your computer. You can find a short list of some “industry recommended” Font Managers on the “Resources” page of the blog.
What Are Font Collections?
Collections are a simple system, that allows you to organize multiple fonts for your needs: by project, by font style (Serif, Slab Serif, Sans Serif, Script, Brush, Decorative, Handwritten, etc.) by theme (Basic, Fancy, Techno, Holiday, Gothic, Script, Grunge, Chalkboard, Dingbats, etc.), or by any other classification you choose.
Font collections are difficult to manage manually. This would involve putting fonts in separate folders based on the collection (category) you pick for them. For example, you might want a folder that has all of your script fonts, one for brush fonts and so on. You can separate your fonts into folders, but if the time comes where you need to ensure you’re not duplicating fonts, it will be easier if each of the individual files are shown in alphabetical order versus grouped into folders.
With font management software you can create your own unique collections. This allows you to “assign” a font to a given category (collection) without having to move it from your main folder. Then when you’re working on a project and you want to find a good script font all you have to do is go to that collection rather than scrolling through ALL of your fonts. In the image above you’ll see that only script fonts are being displayed.
I’m not going to get into how you create collections…that can vary based on the software you decide to use.
Most font management software also allows you to preview your fonts using custom text. So that way you can see exactly what your word art or phrase will look like in any given font. This is a good way to check that a font supports not just the alpha characters but symbols & numbers as well.
A little trivia for you! As you can see in the picture above under the heading “What Are Collections?”, the standard preview phrase is the same one used by the Windows font viewer (& likely most other font viewers): “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” I don’t know if you’re aware of why that phrase is used. This sentence contains all 26 letters of the English alphabet and is (was?) used by typists to test their keyboards. That’s my little fun fact for the day 😊
I’m not going to get into how you will define your custom text view…that too can vary based on the software you decide to use.
Free vs. For Fee
There are free font managers available. But I would caution you to look at those very carefully. Typically, the free ones aren’t as robust/flexible as ones you purchase. I used a free font manager a long time ago and didn’t find it all that useful. And that is the single biggest reason I couldn’t get into using one. But that’s not to say that there aren’t good free ones.
For example, I now use FontBase. And it is available in free, & “Awesome” (their name for the purchased one – available monthly or for a one-time “forever” fee) versions. They support, Linux, Mac & Windows. FontBase is built for designers, by designers. They understand what you need and deliver a set of great features to help you find the right font. While the free version is fairly robust, you will need to upgrade to the “Awesome” version (which I’ve done) if you want full access to ALL of the glyphs associated with your fonts. Along with other features that may or may not be beneficial for you.
If you are a Windows user you can still look at all your glyphs by using the Windows Font Character Map app. But it might be a bit more cumbersome than using your font manager.
Single Most Important Tip About Font Managers!
If you don’t have a lot of fonts, you likely don’t need a font manager. But if you’re like a lot of scrapbookers…you could probably find the “right font” for every situation more quickly using a font manager.
And if you read my prior post about Fonts & Alphas you already know that installing too many fonts on your computer can cause performance issues. A font manager can eliminate that.
If you want to learn even more about making good use of your fonts, click “Follow Me” to stay updated for what else I have in store for you…