My age is sufficiently advanced that I remember creating advertisements with rub-off fonts overlaying photos or product images. Then along came the Mac with proportional fonts which printed WYSIWYG on a horribly expensive LaserWriter printer. Fonts were few and far between back in the day which forced many of us in the advertising and print industry to create our own thanks to the Mac app Fontographer and it’s ability to take bit-mapped fonts and convert them to high resolution PostScript fonts.
By comparison we live today in the golden age of fonts. Fonts for the Mac are in abundance and they’re cheap. My Mac holds perhaps 10,000 fonts. Maybe 20,000. I lost count a few years ago. Fonts for the Mac range from free to expensive, from sophomoric to foundry quality.
How does a Mac user with a few hundred or a few thousand fonts manage them all? There are many ways and they range from free to expensive. Here are three.
Free – Apple includes an app on the Mac called FontBook which manages the font collections on your Mac.
The claim to fame for FontBook is simple. It’s free. It manages fonts. It’s relatively easy to use. FontBook lets you create collections, remove fonts, validate fonts to find corrupted fonts, and lets you view User collected fonts. What you won’t get are the bells and whistles found in other font management apps, including the professional level and expensive font manager Suitcase Fusion (if you understand the ‘suitcase’ name then you’re a Mac user from the last century).
Cheap – On the inexpensive list of font management tools is a relatively new Font Picker which doesn’t cost much but doesn’t do much more. Fonts can be selected, removed, and browsed. And you can save a font list, print a font list, even export fonts as a PDF (ostensibly to share or view).
If OS X’s built-in FontBook doesn’t do it for you, and other solutions, including Font Picker are too anemic or Suitcase Fusion is simply unaffordable, then there are other solutions.
Good – One that caught my eye recently is called RightFont, which is a good blend of features from Suitcase Fusion and FontBook. It has a healthy price tag which should keep away the Lookie Lous, but it has features that work well for most Mac users with a font fetish.
Top on my list is the ability to activate or deactivate fonts stored anywhere on your Mac with only a click. That alone is worth the price of admission, but RightFont has options beyond, including font filters, font lists, font organization, and, a biggie– auto sync fonts between Macs using Google Drive or Dropbox.
RightFont works from the Mac’s Menubar so it’s available from within any Mac app you’re using at the moment. Fonts can be starred and the preview changed as needed. Search is built in. At the professional level you can also access fonts directly from Adobe Creative Cloud).
While this font manager is nicely done and contains a good balance of simple and pro-level features, it’s not free but it’s also a try-before-you-buy app and if the cheap ones leave you feeling frustrated and you cannot afford an expensive app, RightFont is the one to try next.