No one using a Mac will be a stranger to the many fonts out there. Apple has been shipping a bundle of them with each version of the Mac OS. Adobe, Quark, Microsoft, Corel and others are similarly free with font provision in their software to a greater or lesser degree.

However, this generosity has led not only to bloated font libraries that slow down your system, but also the belief that fonts are a resource that can be freely shared. This is not usually the case, because like the documents, websites and designs that they are used to create, fonts represent licensed intellectual property created by font foundries and designers.

Some are copyright free, but if you inadvertently include a commercial typeface for which you don’t hold the proper licence, your entire project could be at risk. Luckily there are ways to control the fonts you use in your work.

1. Where are my fonts?  Apple has provided its own font utility FontBook, which resides in Applications. Once open you’ll see the list of fonts in your System folder. Select All Fonts in the Collection column, click any font’s disclosure triangle in the Font column to view its typefaces and select one to view in the preview pane.

2. Collections  To install a font, double-click the font file in the Finder and open FontBook. If you need a font, click Install Font. You can manage fonts using groups or collections. Go to File > New Collection and enter a name in the Collection column. Select All Fonts and drag them from the Font column to the new collection.

3. Resolve duplicates  You may find that you have a lot of fonts installed on your Mac from various applications. Some fonts in FontBook will be flagged up with a warning triangle to show that multiple copies exist. If these are identical, you can fix this by Control-clicking on the font and choosing Resolve Duplicates.

4. Sluggish system  Too many fonts mean a bloated System Folder. Every time you launch the Mac, each font has to be loaded into system memory. You can disable fonts that you don’t use by Control-clicking on the font or choosing this command from the Edit menu. You can also use third-party management software.