Mac "font book" vs. Extensis

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by munckee, Mar 29, 2006.

  1. munckee macrumors 65816

    Oct 27, 2005
    I have a bunch of fonts that I want to get loaded onto my computer. I'm used to using Extensis, but don't have a copy. I noticed that my PB came with Mac's Font Book program, so I tried installing a few fonts. It works fine, but it defaults to them all being activated, which is a royal PITA.

    Anyone have experience with font book compared to extensis or have any tips on using the two?
  2. macstudent macrumors 6502


    Feb 12, 2002
    Milwaukee, WI
    Fontbook will work for you if you are going to add just a few fonts, but it will cause serious problems if you try adding lots of fonts and want to manage your font collection.

    Fontbook is fine for everyday users, but if you are a designer who needs to manage fonts, you will need a professional font manager. On a related note, Extensis Suitcase Fusion will be universal this summer. I would recommend this product.

    I hope that helps
  3. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
  4. mac.FINN macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2006
    Extensis definately if you have more a a dozen fonts.

    I have over 2000 fonts on my computer, but I only every use a few at a time. Extensis lets me manage them beautifully. Fontbook - all your fonts are active all the time, which can seriously bog down your workflow.

    I'd recommend Extensis if you're doing anykind of typework at all.
  5. redAPPLE macrumors 68030


    May 7, 2002
    2 Much Infinite Loops
    and in layman's terms? and i don't want you to explain crap :p

    it is true that i use fontbook only for everyday business. but what do you really mean by saying fontbook is inferior?
  6. radiantm3 macrumors 65816


    Oct 16, 2005
    San Jose, CA
    Fontbook is a headache. I think suitcase sucks as well. I highly recommend FontexplorerX like the other guy mentioned. It's free and does a wonderful job. I have about 3000 fonts installed and it handles them flawlessly. I heard some people with over 10k fonts has some issues, but I already need to trim my collection as it is so I don't see that ever becoming a problem for me.
  7. alangyssler macrumors member


    Mar 5, 2005
    Buffalo Grove, IL
    Font Management software

    Here's my two cents... from a prepress and design background, I know that fonts can be a huge headache. It also seems that OS X is very vulnerable when it comes to fonts. One bad version of a font, and bam! your system can get locked up, not startup properly, etc...

    So, what I recommend is to ditch FontBook. It's not worth trying to work with, even if you're an everyday office user. Here are my recommendations:

    1. FontExplorerX - free, easy to use interface (similar to iTunes)

    2. FontAgent Pro (by - not free, but handles lots of fonts wonderfully, allows you to create libraries, manage system fonts, and lots more

    3. Extensis Suitcase - cumbersome, clunky, doesn't manage as well as others I've used.

    I would highly recommend using FontExplorerX first, to get used to the concept of font management, and then, if you find there are features that it lacks, and you're able to spend a couple bucks, look into either of the other two options.

    Hope that helps a little bit.
  8. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    Load FontBook up with 15,000 typefaces and 22,000 or so fonts and get back to me. ;)
  9. decksnap macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2003
    I'd recommend Extensis. It does everything listed above and we don't have any problems with huge libraries.
  10. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 27, 2005
    Well, I downloaded the linotype program and got all my fonts installed. I REALLY like the user interface. Very clear and easy to use, and displays information clearly.

    HOWEVER, it's crazy! The damn thing is activating fonts without my asking it to. I activated 40 fonts, looked away and clicked a couple of things, and then all of a sudden I had 1600+ active fonts. Photoshop took FOREVER to load. Anyone know wtf the deal is with this? I'd really like to keep using it since I like the interface, but only if the damn thing actually works.
  11. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 27, 2005
    All right, I'm about finished with the Linotype program. It doesn't manage fonts well at all. It basically gives you a giant list, and thats about it. Any other suggestions before I drop the money on extensis?
  12. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    Interesting... I know people that swear by it, yet it's always given me nothing but problems.

    Thanks for being a guinea pig though ;)

    I'm a Suitcase user by the way. ;) :D
  13. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 27, 2005
    LOL. Glad I could help. I don't mind trying something new, but this one does NOTHING for me. That whole "management" part of font management is missing with the Linotype program, IMO. Which is a shame, because I prefer the interface to Extensis.

    Could I be missing some sort of auto-activation aspect of the Linotype program? I'm used to installing a font in Extensis and just having it work when I open my files. In Linotype, even though the font I had was in the Library, I had to activate it by hand and then replace the font with itself within my files. Annoying as heck.
  14. dogbone macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2005
    S33.687308617200465 E150.31341791152954
    I've been using fontexplorer x for a few days now since reading about it here. I've got about 1000 fonts and it is a real pleasure to work with after using fontbook.

    I especially like all the extra meta data info.

    The only problem I have at the moment is that it won't allow me to disable the chinese system fonts.
  15. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 27, 2005
    Interesting that you like it. As I said, I really like the interface, but don't like the actual program at all.

    I also noticed that it wouldn't let me disable the chinese fonts. However, after going through and disabling all the fonts it would let me to start from scratch, I now have websites showing up in different fonts than they used to, etc. Clearly, it turned off a couple of system font and I don't know which ones.

    I think I'm going to make the move to fusion. I may take a little more time with Fontexplorer since I can't get fusion for at least another week, but for the moment, I'm not too thrilled with it.

    Out of curiousity, what are you doing with it? Do you use CS, etc? Is fontexplorer autoenabling fonts correctly for you?
  16. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    :D, I first tried FontExplorerX the day the beta was released, and whilst I was generally impressed with the interface, the functionality and stability certainly caused concern and issues for me that rendered it unusable in a professional environment.

    Beta testing is very much a no-no, especially when clients are paying for your time and deadlines are lurking.

    Ironically I know people that swear by FontExplorerX and have had nothing but trouble with Suitcase, yet Suitcase for me is as near bulletproof as can be expected.

    Now, if Adobe would just do the right thing and resurrect ATM Deluxe :D
  17. macsterdam macrumors newbie


    Apr 16, 2006
    Been a Suitcase user for years but switched to FontAgent Pro when it reached version 2 (v1 was totally unusable), and have been totally happy with it, especially with the latest 3.2 release. As for FontExplorer, I have tried that, even the latest release, and when comparing to FAP, I think FAP wins, hands down in fact. FAP (the 3.2 release!!) is much faster, handles auto-activation much better and checks font more thorough when importing and adding to a library.

    The FontExplorer interface is somewhat nicer, with smart-folders and stuff and I will keep an eye on how it evolves, but for FAP all the way - well worth the money I think. As for Suitcase, gave up after X11, so I don't know how good it is these days.
  18. dustininsf macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Another vote for FontExplorerX

    I'm almost wondering if those that are praising Suitcase and knocking FontExplorerX are using the same two programs that I've used...

    last summer I purchased Suitcase X1 (most recent version before Fusion). It seemed to work OK (I have about 4000 fonts - mostly PostScript/OpenType with some in TrueType/.dfont), but it took forever to load (even with just my 200 font 'standard' set) would crash all the time, would just randomly slow my computer down, annoy me with it's strange interface quirks and non-intuitive group/set management, etc. and ultimately have me upset that I spent $100 on a piece of software that just made me even more frustrated and annoyed with font issues. I was tempted to just trash it and go back to managing fonts by manually moving larger sets as appropriate in conjuction with FontBook...

    until I came across FontExplorerX. Not only was it free, but it was faster than Suitcase in loading, seemed much more stable, fast, intelligent, complete (even as an alpha), better designed, more intuitive, and generally without any major problems. Yeah, it wasn't quite as fast as I had hoped, and it at times has a hiccup, but it's light-years ahead of Suitcase (or maybe it's just a testament to how AWFUL of a program Suitcase is). The activation dialog can get a little annoying, but I find that it tends to actually work in practice better than Suitcase did - and I tend to just group my fonts into sets and will activate them in the program depending on what I'm working on/doing. I can even activate a group/set in FontExplorerX after I've opened a document and realized that one of the fonts wasn't active - and most of the time that's sufficient and the correct fonts will display - though occasionally I have had to open the document a second time or maybe once or twice reopen the application (both times I had A TON of my fonts activated as I was messing around with some design ideas and got carried away).

    Obviously, choosing a Font manager is a highly personal thing and depends a great deal upon your workflow, font usage and the phase of the moon in relation to the reasoning behind U.S. Foreign Policy (which means it's all a bunch of voodoo that defies any sort of rational understanding or relation to intelligent thought). Maybe Extensis has greatly improved Suitcase in Fusion - just about anything would be better than the awful X1... unfortunately, my experience with that program soured me on Extensis, and I'm not willing to throw out another $50 or whatever they're charging for the upgrade just to be disappointed again. I'll take a generally well-built, intelligent and amazingly free font manager like FontExplorerX any day.

    P.S. Anyone know if Extensis allows the transferrence of a license for their software to someone else? Anyone want to buy my copy of Extensis Portfolio 7 and Suitcase X1?
  19. dogbone macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2005
    S33.687308617200465 E150.31341791152954
    Still likeing Font explorer X

    A feature that I find very useful is that I can now highlight a few different fonts and see them previewed side by side and even choose my own display sentence and the colours.
  20. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 27, 2005
    For you guys that are digging font explorer, did you manage to get it to auto-activate fonts with CS? Does it turn them off when you're done with the program?

    I kept using it until a few days ago because I haven't gotten my hands on extensis yet. Last time I checked, through normal computer and CS use, it had activated 800+ fonts. I know for a fact that I hadn't used that many in the last week and it was slowing my programs down pretty significantly. Anyone else had similar issues?
  21. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    Extensis Suitcase is key. Has always worked flawlessly in my experience. You get what you pay for...:)
  22. mox358 macrumors 6502


    May 22, 2002
    I'm used to using Suitcase, but I didn't have it installed on my iMac after I did a clean install of Tiger (and I was just too lazy at the time to reinstall it) so I have been using Font Book as of late. It's not a bad little program once you get used to it. I manage about 1000 fonts with it and it gets the job done.

    Although I must also add that it's no Suitcase. As the pro's here have said - if you need a pro level font manager then Suitcase is your solution. Font Book will only get you by if you're prepared to deal with its shortcomings.
  23. &RU macrumors member

    Mar 5, 2004
    Look into Font Reserve.

    I have used it for years, and has been a fairly solid performer handling 1000s of fonts. It has handy plug-ins available for the more popular graphics apps. The main drawback is that it was purchased by extensis a while back, and support has become abysmal.

    fontbook should be fine if you don't have too many fonts. Since nobody uses all their fonts all the time, keep all of your frequently used fonts loaded all the time and just add and remove specialty fonts as the need arises. Your apps will launch faster this way.
  24. dmarymac macrumors newbie

    Aug 28, 2008
    Font book?

    It seems unanimous that Font Book is an inferior application to any others, but I would like to know specifically what the problems were. I have used Font Book both on my MacBook and on my PowerMac for a few years and only ever had a couple problems with my sets completely disappearing, but still running fine in activating and deactivating fonts. I had approximately 12 sets LOADED with active fonts. Also very few issues with duplicate sets.

    At work we have just upgraded to Leopard, (still waiting for CS3- which we were advised may create some issues), and have switched to Suitcase Fusion on recommendation from our computer services maintenance crew. I haven't worked with Suitcase since early on (OS 8) but remember a lot of issues with duplicate fonts.

    Now, we are having problems with keeping fonts permanently active, fonts not loading after activating, slow to activate in the layout application, etc. I haven't tried the Font Explorer that many people have raved about above, but I am still not willing to give up on Font Book. Anyone care to share??
  25. DigiCatRedux macrumors member


    Aug 25, 2008
    Somewhere in New England, USA.
    FontExplorerX is what I'm currently using- Works very well, and manages the hundreds of different font styles I use without problems.
    I've tried Apples packaged-in Fontbook - "Meh" is about as much as I can say about it. Extensis program we bought for the art department here lasted about 4 months - had several issues with it, and in looking for a replacement, I was turned onto the FontExplorerX by our resident Mac-Head.

    Thus far, best font manager I've tried out of the bunch.
    That it's free only sweetens the deal.

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