Fix garbled text and strange font behaviors

A lot of font problems on the Mac are the result of damaged caches files. In this post we talk about what they are how to fix them quickly and easily.

One of the technologies that was introduced in Mac OS X is called data caching. It’s an under-the-hood speed enhancement that works by storing frequently used data in special files called “cache” files.

The idea is that instead of having to recalculate the same things over and over (e.g. loading start-up items, listing the contents of a window, loading a font menu, etc.) the results of a repeated task are stored in a file called a “cache” file. Later these results can be very quickly retrieved without having to recalculate everything. You can see a whole bunch of these cache files lying around in your /Library/Caches/ folder and a ton of other places.

Garbled Text

This whole scheme normally works great – but with all the file reading and writing it’s not uncommon for some of these cache files to get damaged. What happens then?

Well, really any number of things, but when it comes fonts a damaged cache file can result in garbled text, messed up font menus, and strange font behavior (odd leading, kerning, tracking, etc.)

As you might guess – the solution for this kind of problems is pretty straight forward: fix the cache files.

Fortunately, Apple anticipated this and has provided a simple way to do that. Well, sort of. When the cache files are missing, the Mac will create fresh new ones. So the trick then is to find and delete the damaged cache files. Sounds easy enough – as long as you know where they are. Unfortunately that is a problem. They could be just about anywhere on your Mac.

FontDoctor for Macintosh has a built in tool that will locate all font-related caches and will clean them out for you, thus eliminating any cache problems that may be causing garbled text and other font problems. It’s another way we are trying to stay on top of your font headaches, and give you real solutions.

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