Join Mike Rankin for an in-depth discussion in this video Best practices for manual font organization in Windows, part of Font Management Essential Training.
- [Presenter] There are some very good options for third party font management solutions for Windows. But depending on your needs, you might be able to get by without using any extra tools. So let's look at some tips and best practices for manual font organization on a Windows computer. The first tip is a general one that doesn't specifically involve fonts. And that is to make sure you've fully updated your version of Windows so you know you have installed the latest fixes and updates, including any that might be related to the handling of fonts. Second, in addition to updating your system, you can benefit from updating your fonts as well.
If possible, replace old fonts with modern, OpenType versions. Next, remove the fonts that you'll probably never use from your computer. Be sure to back them up somewhere besides your active system, so they're not taking up disk space and system resources better used for something else. Also you should delete exact duplicates of font files. As long as you have a good backup somewhere, you don't need to have multiple copies of the same font file cluttering up your hard drive. And speaking of backups, it's a good idea to back up all your fonts.
In the same way you'd back up your software, and your photos, and your documents, you definitely should keep backups of your fonts in a safe place. You just never know when disaster will strike and your hard drive will die, or your laptop will be stolen, or some other misfortune will cause you to lose your current font files. Backups can really save the day. And speaking of making copies of files, it's always a best practice to stay in compliance with your font licenses, and not make unauthorized copies of your font files. Of course you're entitled to make backups of your files to avoid disaster, but your licenses may not allow you to install and activate those fonts on another computer, whether it's yours or someone else's.
Font licenses aren't the most fun thing in the world to read, but it's important that you check them out so you know what kind of copying is allowed. It's also important that you don't try to move or delete certain fonts that come with Windows. There are fonts that your system needs to work properly, and moving or deleting them by any means is asking for trouble. You can see a text file with a list of the fonts that are required by Windows 8 in the exercise files folder for this movie. Next, Windows allows you to hide some fonts so they don't appear in your font menus.
Take advantage of this feature to declutter your font menus, and only see the fonts that you like and need. I covered how to hide fonts in an earlier movie. It's important to note that when you hide a font, it's still present on your system, and if you open a document that needs that font, it will display properly. But otherwise, the font won't appear in your font menus. Another useful feature that windows offers is the ability to use shortcuts to activate fonts. By putting shortcuts of some fonts in your fonts folder, you can avoid making unnecessary copies of fonts.
Fewer copies means less chance of corrupted files, and more free disk space. And whether you use shortcuts or not, only activate the fonts that you need. This saves system resources and makes your applications work faster, and it makes you more efficient. Next, if you do a lot of work with different fonts it can be helpful to document your font collection by making a list of your fonts. This can be just a plain text file of the font names and their locations, or you can ber fancy and print a catalog of your fonts, and put them in a binder for reference. To print a font sample, you double click a font file, and then click the print button.
It's also good to have a way to test and validate fonts so you know they're not damaged or defective. The Microsoft Font Validator app is free, and you can use it to conduct a thorough testing of a font file. Corrupt fonts can also be detected by a file size of zero k. If you find corrupt fonts, remove or replace them. Another way to sometimes get out of font trouble is to stop the font cache service. In general, you should leave the font cache service running, since it's there to make your applications run faster. But sometimes you might find it's taking up a large amount of your system resources.
I showed how to stop the font cache in another movie. Finally, the overall best practice for manually organizing and managing your fonts is to spend some time thinking about how you use your fonts, and then let that guide which ones you keep active, and where you put them. Only you know what makes the most sense for the way that you work. Ultimately, what matters most is that your fonts are always in good working order, and that you can find and use them quickly and easily.
- What is a font?
- TrueType, PostScript, and OpenType fonts
- Web fonts and SVG fonts
- Finding fonts
- Buying fonts
- Fixing font problems
- Adding and removing fonts on Mac and Windows
- Using Font Book for font management on Mac
- Using other font management software
- Managing fonts with Suitcase Fusion
- Working with fonts in InDesign and Illustrator
- Creating fonts on the iPad and InDesign