Control Fonts with Font Management

This article is directed at computer users running the Windows operating system.

Many people never think twice about the fonts on their computer. As far as they’re concerned, they only have one font, and it’s usually Times New Roman. However, some people love their fonts. These people study fonts, search for new fonts to install, and deal with various fonts on a daily basis. Who are these people? They’re usually typographers, graphic designers, and web designers. Fonts mean a lot to these people.

Fonts are fun, but they can also be overwhelming. Depending on which programs are installed on your computer, you could have hundreds of fonts installed. There’s nothing worse than having to wade through hundreds of fonts just to find that perfect one. Font management is a process which allows you to have more control over your font collection, and your peace of mind.

Having too many fonts installed also decreases system performance, but proper font management prevents this from happening. Let’s take a look at two basic forms of font management.

Loading Fonts Temporarily

A program can only access a font after it’s been permanently installed to your computer or temporarily loaded into the computer’s memory. A font that’s loaded temporarily will be available until the system is shut down. Once you restart the system, the font will no longer be present until you reload it. Loading fonts temporarily saves space on your computer, and eliminates the problem of having too many fonts installed.

Temporary fonts are convenient for those times when you need a font for a specific project. It may be a font that you hardly use, and may or may not use again. Or it could be a font that you only want to convert to outlines using a vector program such as Adobe Illustrator. Temporarily loading a font isn’t difficult.

Few people know it, but there’s a file hidden away on your computer containing all the fonts on your system. Take a peek into your main Windows folder, and you will see the Font folder. Open the Font folder, find the font you want to use, double click, and it’s loaded. When you double click the font it should appear in a preview window. As long as this preview window is open, the font is available for use.

But wait, you’re asking yourself, what if the font I want to use isn’t in my Font folder? No problem. You can still load the font temporarily by double clicking the file no matter where it’s stored. As long as the preview window is open, you don’t have to actually install the font to use it. But remember, once the preview window is closed, you will have to reload the font to use it again.

Using a Font Management Program

A terrific way to manage fonts is by using font management software. Font management software allows you to preview fonts, view them at various point sizes, and to install or uninstall them. If you have hundreds of fonts at your disposal, a font management program will save your sanity. You have quicker and easier access to your fonts, and the ability to see how fonts look at certain sizes before installing or loading them.

Before deciding on a font management program, you should be sure it works with all font types. Some programs may not work with the various types of fonts, which are TrueType, PostScript, and OpenType. When shopping for font management software, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • A good font management program should work with any and all fonts.
  • You should be able to install and uninstall fonts
  • The display should show how a font looks at different sizes, and in different styles (like bold or italic)

Not all font management programs are created equal. The features you need depend on your situation. There are freeware and shareware font management programs available. If your needs are minimal, then a freeware program could possibly meet your needs. However, typographers and graphic designers may want to spend a few dollars on a more comprehensive font management program. Luckily, font management programs are inexpensive.

Now that you understand how font management works, and its importance, you have no excuse for not getting your fonts under control. If you’re a typographer or graphic designer, font management will make your job much easier.