Comparison of Font Agent 4 Pro vs. Suitcase Fusion 2 vs. Linotype Font Explorer 2 Pro

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by opeter, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. opeter macrumors 65816


    Aug 5, 2007
    Slovenia, EU
    Hello everybody,

    can someone write a sentence about comparing these three font managers?
    - InsiderSoftware's Font Agent 4 Pro
    - Extensis Suitcase Fusion 2
    - Linotype Font Explorer 2 Pro

    What's the PRO and CONTRA in these apps.

    Thank you in advance.
  2. TimTheEnchanter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 24, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    We just upgraded to CS4 so this is a fresh subject for me. I've personally used all of these over many years. Used Suitcase since Adobe kill theirs and hated every minute of it. Moved to FontAgent Pro (FAP) and was extremely happy, few problems over many years. When we upgraded to CS3, we had to go with Suitcase Fusion since FAP was not compatible yet. Again, while Extensis did improve it, I really hated using Fusion (since we paid for multiple seats). On my personal MBP, I use(d) FontExplorerX (FEX) and was surprised at how good it was for being free. Now to this past 2 weeks, as i said we upgraded to CS4 so I started researching before doing it company-wide. Our options are:

    Suitcase Fusion 2
    Pros: Since we own it, upgrade pricing.
    Cons: Hate it. Also requires 10.5 which we are on 10.4.11 and that upgrade isn't an option at the moment.

    FontExplorerX Pro
    Pros: Good as a free program, better as paid (demo'd). $40 for limited time (50% off)
    Cons: Free not compatible with CS4, must use paid version. Still a young program and involves some interactions (less than Suitcase).

    FontAgent Pro 4
    Pros: Loved this before, demo was awesome. I feel this is the king of font managers and requires little to no babysitting.
    Cons: None except for price, more expensive than FEX, but....

    I contacted Insider Software. Told them I was a previous user forced to go to Fusion. I asked if they had upgrade or competitive/cross-grade pricing and they do. We bought FAP4 multi-seat licenses at 40% cross-grade discount (same as FAP3 to FAP4 price).

    So, I would recommend avoiding Fusion, which I know there are content users, but with over 16 years in advertising and being a long-time Suitcase user, it just never was a good program compared to others. I would go with either FAP or FEX. Personally, I went with FAP since it's a more mature, proven program and I need to make sure our stations are productive and not bogged down with issues. FEX is pretty seamless and worth a try though.

    BTW, tested the FEX upgrade work-around on my home MBP and it doesn't work, so don't waste your time if you know about it. The newer CS4 plug-ins do not work with the free FEX 1.2.3.
  3. SwiftLives macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2001
    Charleston, SC
    Wait - FontAgent Pro claims to automatically categorize fonts. As in a folder each for Serif, Sans, Gothic, grunge, etc.? Does that actually work? That's something I've been looking for for awhile now, as I think that's a better way to categorize fonts rather than alphabetical. I'm currently using the first Fusion and am kind of meh about it, as I have been since Suitcase 8.
  4. opeter thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 5, 2007
    Slovenia, EU
    Hello TimTheEnchanter,

    thank you for your kindly response. Well, the situation is that, that i already own a Fusion 11 license (for both Mac an Win) and also a FAP 3 license...

    So there would be no problem at all to buy any of these updates for me. But i don't want to make a bad decision.

    Right now im in phase of trying out Linotype FEX 2 Pro trial version... so far so good. The interface is simple, and there is also an option, that the fonts can be leaved on the original place, where they are stored (similar to Suitcase, don't know, how it is in the newest version).

    Also, the price of FEX Pro is cutted to half until the end of february (yet, we have to pay the € price, that mean in US you pay 39,99 $ + German VAT, we in EU pay 39,99 € + German VAT). Anyway, this price is somehow the same as the upgrade prices for Suitcase Fusion 2 and FAP 4 Pro. That's also a point to consider.

    However, what does really bother me at FEX Pro, is, that - as you already pointed out - because FEX so relativelly new product (so we can say not a mature), can it somehow happen, that Linotype thinks in a situation, that there would be not enough registered customers, that they simply stop the further development of this project..? Since their main living/activity is to sell fonts, not app making. I'm quite affraid of this. You see, they pulled the freeware FEX version from one day to another, that it's not supported anymore. The same can happen with their Pro product. Just a trough.

    Insidersoftware and Extensis do live from their products... that's why I think, these two product will see future version. Maybe i am not right and FEX Pro will be THE industry standard Font Manager (the next version) in the following years. Who knows.

    I have serious to consider, what should i buy. FAP looks OKay, used it on Tiger on my old PowerMac G5.

    Now i've got a Mac mini with Leopard and really need a godd font manager, that's why did opened this whole thread. Well, maybe I should also try the FAP Pro 4 demo/trial version just to see how it runs...
  5. Black&Tan macrumors 6502a


    Mar 4, 2004
    Currently a Font Agent Pro user and personally i love it. I've had nothing but problems with Suitcase on OS9, and updates were always slow to arrive. My favorite OS9 font manager was actually bought by Suitcase, and rolled into Fusion.

    I avoided the Linotype FEX because I needed Classic support, and was forced to choose between Font Agent Pro and Suitcase. FAP won. Since I've had the software, I've received multiple updates, easily 6-8, and on the one occasion where I had a problem with Illustrator, Insider actually sent me beta versions of a plug-in, which worked perfectly.

    My only complaint is that FAP will not export fonts from Illustrator. I need to bring an eps into Quark and "Collect for Output" to achieve that option.
  6. opeter thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 5, 2007
    Slovenia, EU
    Hello Black&Tan, thanks for your response. It seems, that FAP is one of the candidates for me...

    Anyway, is there someone who is using the new Suitcase Fusion 2? Thanks.
  7. jkidwell macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2006
    Thanks for all of your thoughts about font managers and Suitcase Fusion. Over the past year, we've made significant improvements with our single-user font manager. Suitcase Fusion 2 is based on the all new code base with the redesigned user interface developed for Universal Type Server.

    Today we released an update for Suitcase Fusion 2 that adds Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) compatibility as well as a few new features. So those of you who may not have upgraded to Leopard can also have access to our newest technology.

    This is a FREE update for current Suitcase Fusion 2 users. To update, choose Check for Updates from the Suitcase Fusion 2 menu.

    If you'd like to try out Suitcase Fusion 2, we also offer a free 30-day demo that can be downloaded from our website:

    Jim Kidwell
  8. efxgraphx macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2009
    Sugar Land, TX
    I personally use Fusion 2 and love it. I have used there products for a long time and really havnt played with anything else so my pro's and cons arent really relevant, lol. I will tell you my Fusion Font Vault is close to 4 gigs and everything is smooth. I would expect some load lag but only when I select the master folder it takes about 5 seconds to load them up.

    I dont know if this is because I have so many fonts, but viewing individual fonts could be faster. Sometimes I have some load lag when viewing fonts or looking for fonts (selecting the first font and down arrowing to view the next). But thats the only issues (con) and it might very well because i have so many.
  9. Brien macrumors 68030


    Aug 11, 2008
    There's a new app out called Font Case that's pretty neat, if you want to check that out.
  10. mlac007 macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2007
    FAP for ME

    I use Fusion 2 at work and FontAgent pro 4 at home, I also used FAP 4 it at my previous job and it is superior over Fusion 2, it seems to have less conflicts as it resolves duplicate fonts as you import them so it seems like it is always activating the correct font the first time - Fusion 2 will let you import as many conflicting (same name eg: helvetica) fonts as you want - FAP (in my opinion) just works better.

    But either one is great for managing tons of typefaces.

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