FontDoctor X 5.5

OpenType, TrueType, dfont, PostScript, Multiple Master… a taste of the different font types available to Mac OS X. Life was easier with OS 9. For professional work, you used to bin the TrueTypes and let Suitcase or ATM Deluxe handle PostScript fonts. With Mac OS X, fonts are kept in different Library locations, different formats exist - and you don't even have ATM Deluxe anymore. Nightmare. And if just one is damaged, the result can be an unstable Mac. A serious font organizer and diagnostic application is definitely required. FontDoctor can organize fonts by searching your Mac and creating a fresh library in alphabetical folders. You can choose which types of font to search for, ignoring TrueTypes for instance, and either move them or copy them. The latter is useful if you switch back to OS 9 from time to time and need to keep your current Classic font-management intact. FontDoctor can create new suitcase files by font name or font family, and can ignore System folders if you only want to arrange project fonts. This is certainly a lengthy procedure: on test, FontDoctor took almost three hours to build a new set of 11,200 fonts. Next up is the diagnostic side. This finds corruptions; conflicting font IDs; duplicates; missing printer and screen fonts; mixed font types; and unnecessary font sizes. Again, it isn't quick, taking a further half-an-hour in our test, and appeared to have a problem counting: according to FontDoctor's count, our library had suddenly lost around 4,000 fonts. Having built a new library and diagnosed the problems, it's repair time. The on-screen report itemizes all problems and allows you to deal with them one at a time. For instance, our test showed 261 PostScript (printer) fonts missing, yet many of these had originally been System dfonts which are TrueTypes wrapped up in a data-fork resource file specifically for OS X. Although the option of creating new suitcase files had been selected when organizing, surely such fonts shouldn't then be shown as having printer fonts missing? FontDoctor also had a problem with screen fonts, showing some as missing that were actually there. Aside from these hiccups, it did find a number of corruptions, some dual TrueType/ PostScript fonts, and various ID conflicts.


FontDoctor has a number of other useful features, including a font inspector from which font sheets can be printed; a font converter for handling Windows TrueTypes and dfonts; and a font mover. The problem is that it's a bit flaky. It frequently quit on startup, and had some unhelpful quirks. Still, it did find a number of critical errors. Try the demo, and see what it finds on your system.

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