Posts Tagged FontXChange

Converting your fonts to OpenType

Software converts entire font libraries to OpenType in one click.

OpenType is a newer font file format that has been designed from the ground up with the future in mind. (read previous post about OpenType here) Since OpenType offers so many benefits, people often ask us how to get OpenType versions of their fonts.

FontXChange converts fonts from one format to another – including OpenType – and it does it quickly and easily.

Here’s how:

1. Download FontXChange for Macintosh here

2. Double-click the FontXChange application icon

3. Drag and drop your fonts into the main window of FontXChange

4. Select the OpenType format button

5. Click the  “Convert” button

FontXChange for Macintosh

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

What we do

I recently had my brother and his wife in town for a visit. We had a great time just hangin out and getting caught up. At one point in our conversation his wife asked “now what exactly do you do?” I love that question (and I get it a lot) because it gives me a chance to talk about some of the ways we’ve been able to help people with the frustrations and difficulties of dealing with fonts. I know that may sound strange, but I guess I’m wired that way.

My thinking is that when people are happy with their fonts (or at least not having problems with them) they can get back to what they’re good at  – art, design, production, whatever they bought their Mac for in the first place.

Inevitably in a conversation about what what we do, I mention the software and what it does.

Here’s the run down…

FontDoctor for Macintosh

As the name suggests, FontDoctor will diagnose and fix font problems – things like missing bitmaps fonts, missing PostScript fonts, damaged fonts, fonts that just don’t work on your system, etc. It can also organize your font files into a new clean font library by family, foundry, name, etc.

FontXChange for Macintosh

FontXChange converts fonts between different font formats. You can switch between OpenType, PostScript Type 1, TrueType, etc. This is great because as older formats become obsolete (PostScript Type 1, TrueType) you can still use your fonts by converting them to the newer OpenType format. Also, it will convert between different computers – Mac to Windows and vice-versa.

FontGenius for Macintosh

FontGenius looks at images that contain typography, like photographs, online pics, etc., and will identify the most likely font family. It also provides download links to fonts that are identified. Very cool.

FontVista for Macintosh

FontVista finds all your fonts, installed or not, and creates a catalog of font samples. The catalog can be saved as a PDF that you can share with your clients and/or printer, or you can print it out to create a reference book.

, , ,

Leave a comment

A word about font encoding

Font encoding connects keystrokes to font characters.

Font encoding is one of those sortof geeky terms that often gets thrown about among the font saavy. If you’ve worked with fonts for any amount of time then you will almost certainly have heard about font encoding. And though you may have heard about font encoding, what it actually  means may remain fuzzy to you.

“Font encoding” (or “Character encoding” as it is sometimes called) is basically a system of numbers (or “codes”) used by computers to know what character to show when you type a given key on your keyboard. Each character has a code, and each key on your keyboard has a code.

It’s a little like Morse Code – each letter in the English alphabet is represented by a specific series of dot and dashes (i.e. a code). But what would happen if I needed to telegraph someone in Korea using the Korean language? How would the dots and dashes get translated into something intelligible? in the same way, when I type on a computer keyboard using a Korean language font, how does the computer know what character(s) to show? Font encoding makes that sort of scenario possible.

Broadly speaking, font encoding utilizes a system of character maps that connect character codes to keyboard keys. using this system, computers can know what character to show in any language. As you can imagine, there are many differnt font encodings – Western Europe, Cyrillic, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, etc. As such, a font encoding should match the keyboard of the computer the font is being used on.

When the font encoding does not match the keys of it’s host computer, then you have font problems. Wrong characters show up with wrong keystrokes.

Usually this is not an issue – but with the movement towards OpenType as a font standard on Windows and Mac, it is a consideration when converting fonts between formats. Some older formats support only older English encodings, and others can handle many differnt encodings in a single font file.

FontXChange for Macintosh converts fonts to many formats (inculding OpenType) and handles font encoding automatically for you.

If, however, you would like to specify a certain font encoding when converting fonts then you can use the Preferences window in FontXChange to set the preferred encoding.

, ,

Leave a comment

Convert fonts to OpenType

Software converts entire font libraries to OpenType in one click.

OpenType is a newer font file format that has been designed from the ground up with the future in mind. (read previous post about OpenType here) Since OpenType offers so many benefits, people often ask us how to get OpenType versions of their fonts.

FontXChange converts fonts from one format to another – including OpenType – and it does it quickly and easily.

Here’s how:

1. Download FontXChange for Macintosh here

2. Double-click the FontXChange application icon

3. Drag and drop your fonts into the main window of FontXChange

4. Select the OpenType format button

5. Click the  “Convert” button

FontXChange for Macintosh

, ,


Test your eyesight

Historic eye chart influences typographic design.

Although February 19 recently passed without much fanfare, it is in some ways a historic day. That’s the birthday of Herman Snellen. Do you remember those old eye-charts ? You had to cover one eye and stand at some specific distance away form the chart, then say out loud all the letters you could read. Herman Snellen was the inventor of that chart – the Snellen eye chart.

What’s interesting is the influence the Snellen chart has had in graphic design.

Although his idea was to use typography in a purely mechanical sense (i.e. the chart text has no meaning), over the years designers have leveraged the familiarity of the Snellen chart to create a graphic context that conveys meaning through typography.

Here’s a few of my favorites…

, , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

About font formats

Different font formats offer advantages and disadvantages.

Frequently we get questions about the differences between font formats. What is a TrueType font? What is OpenType? Is that better than Postscript Type 1?

One of the keys to a problem-free workflow in creative production is having a working knowledge of font formats.

PostScript Type 1 Fonts

PostScript Type 1 fonts are high quality fonts that use the Postscript language to draw characters. This is significant because it allows the font to be scaled to virtually any size without loss of quality. Type 1 fonts have been the publishing industry standard for many years. The downside to these fonts are that they come in a 2-file format: a screen font and a printer font. These 2 files must always be together in the same folder. If the two files ever get separated then the font breaks and will not work. Also, Type 1 fonts on the Mac exists in a uniquely Mac format and therefore cannot be used in Windows, and vice-versa.

TrueType Fonts (.ttf)

TrueType fonts were created by Apple in an effort to solve some of the problems related scaling fonts. TrueType uses it’s own system to draw fonts at any size. TrueType fonts exist as a single file (not the 2-file system used by PostScript Type 1 fonts). The downside is that TrueType fonts do not implement the PostScript language as fully as PostScript Type 1 fonts – and that tends to create output problems for PostScript output devices.

TrueType Collection (.ttc)

The TrueType collection file is a container file that holds many TrueType fonts, usually related by font family.

OpenType Fonts (.otf)

OpenType is the up and coming standard in font formats. There are several significant advantages to the OpenType format. First, as with TrueType, the entire font is housed in a single file. Second, this file is cross platform – the same file can be used on a Mac or Windows platform with consistent results. Third, an OpenType font can contain either PostScript or TrueType outline data, so professional creative, print and publishing environments can continue to use PostScript fonts. Fourth, OpenType can support Unicode information which can contain thousands of characters including high quality ligatures, swash glyphs, and other advanced typographical features. This is a significant benefit over PostScript Type 1, which is limited to 256 characters. Mac OS X and Windows support OpenType fonts and Unicode information, making OpenType an excellent choice of font format.

Datafork Fonts (.dfont)

The dfont (Data Fork TrueType Font) is essentially a TrueType font repackaged in a data fork file. These were created by Apple to hold their own System fonts and are not typically supported on any other platform or font foundry.

Multiple Master Fonts

This special PostScript font allows modifications of one or more font parameters to create variations of the original font. While Multiple Master fonts are supported by Mac OS X, they have been falling “out of favor” and are no longer being actively developed by Adobe (the original creators of Multiple Master fonts).

FontXChange for Macintosh converts fonts between font formats, which allows you to have the font format that works best for your work flow environment.

, , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

FontXChange software update now available

FontXChange for Macintosh version 2.2 released.

FontGear, Inc. of Charlotte, NC announced today the release of FontXChange for Macintosh version 2.2.0
FontXChange is a powerful, easy to use font-conversion application that will convert fonts between common font formats. FontXChange can easily convert fonts to OpenType (PS), PostScript Type 1, and TrueType for both Macintosh or Windows.

Useful features include:

– Robust batch processing for converting entire font libraries
– Font inspection window with preview
– Support for many font encodings, including Adobe Standard, Unicode, Mac Roman, and Windows ANSI, and European.

What’s new in version 2.2.0

– Fixed an issue that caused font names to be truncated if the contained parenthesis
– Fixed an issues that caused a crash when a single font suitcase contained duplicate fonts
– Fixed an issue that caused the interface to lock up and become unresponsive
– Fixed an issue that caused an error when converting Postscript Type 1 fonts
– Fixed an issue that caused some fonts not to be converted
– Fixed an issue that caused zero-length font files when a conversion failed

FontXChange supports conversion of many font formats: Macintosh PostScript Type 1 (font suitcases and printer font files), Macintosh TrueType font suitcases, Apple dfont, Multiple Master, PC TrueType (.ttf), TrueType Collections (.ttc), PC PostScript Type 1 (.pfb), and OpenType (.otf).

* FontXChange requires Mac OS 10.3 or higher.
* A free demonstration version can be downloaded from
* FontXChange is available for $99.00/Single User License
• FontXChange can be ordered and downloaded from our website at

FontGear Inc. is a leading professional software development company for Macintosh and Windows, specializing in font application tools for graphics professionals and the printing industry. FontGear Inc. is located in Charlotte, North Carolina.

FontGear Inc.
10130 Mallard Creek Rd.
Suite 200
Charlotte, NC 28262


, , , ,

Leave a comment

Top 10 Font Tips

Practical advice on avoiding common font pitfalls on the Mac.

1. Keep a back up copy of your font library

I suppose this is obvious, but if you consider the investment you’ve made in your fonts then it makes good sense to keep safe copies of them. If you work with fonts each day, then it’s likely that your font files are a valuable asset to you. (see previous post about how to archive your fonts quickly and easily)

2. Use OpenType fonts whenever possible

OpenType fonts are a great solution to so many problems because they’ve been designed from the ground up with quality, portability, and ease of use in mind. Today most fonts are available in the OpenType format. And if you need to convert your old ones to OpenType then there’s an easy way to do that too.

3. Understand Mac OS X font folders

In the old days there was one System Folder that contained a single Font folder. Those days are long gone with the introduction of Mac OS X. A new multi-user environment and file sharing considerations have lead to no less than five different fonts folders. Understanding their locations and purposes will go a long way in helping you avoid problems.

4. Avoid applying font “style” menus

One problem occurs when you try to apply a font style (e.g. Bold, Italic, etc.) using an application’s font “Style” menu. If the font does not have the applied style available (i.e. not installed) as a member of the font family, then the software will often create an on-screen appearance of the style, even if  the style is not actually part of the font family. This situation can create printing and output problems. The trick is to just select your font styles directly from the font menu. For example, if you want a bold Helvetica, then select “Helvetica Bold” form the font menu.

5. Know what fonts you have

All of us have those random font files that have hung around in our font collection for years – who knows where they came from. It’s important to know what fonts you have. Apart from the legal concerns (do you actually own a license for the font?), knowing what fonts you own also helps you avoid buying fonts (or similar fonts) that you already have. Also, the more you know about your fonts, the more font options you have for you next great design project. (read previous post about creating a font catalog)

6. Avoid using low-quality (usually free) TrueType fonts

There are tons of free fonts available for download all over the internet. At first glance this seems great. The problems can come later when trying to print (or export to PDF, or generate an EPS, etc.) a document that uses one of these fonts. It might work just fine, but then again it might not. Why risk it? The old adage proves true – you get what you pay for.

7. Replace problematic font files immediately

You might read this and think, “duh!”, but you know how it works – you have that font that has been working for years and it seems to work most of the time, but now – for whatever reason – there are times it doesn’t. It’s sketchy. Don’t let those rogue files lurk in your font menus any longer. Don’t be lazy with this – find them, fix them, or replace them. FontDoctor can help with that.

8. Keep font files organized

Keep fonts stored in easy to locate folders within your font library. Alphabetical folders, family name folders, and foundry name folders go a long way in helping you identify and manage your fonts iles. An organized font library also helps you avoid introducing random fonts that have not been appropriately acquired and licensed. Again, FontDoctor can help get your font library organized.

9. Keep font caches clean

Font caches were introduced in Mac OS X. Cache files are special files managed by the Mac that speed performance. Occasionally, they get messed up and that creates a lot of problems. When problems occur, you need to clean out the font cache files. (read previous post about how to clean your fonts caches)

10. Use a good Font Manager

A good font manager application will help you activate and deactivate fonts as needed, will locate font problems and manage them for you (e.g. duplicate fonts, damaged fonts, etc.), and organize your fonts. Any serious designer that works with fonts will appreciate a professional font manager software product. There are a few good ones on the market to chose from (Master Juggler, FontExplorer, et al). When people ask we usually recommend Extensis Suitcase Fusion.

, , ,

Leave a comment


Last year we attended our first MacWorld conference in San Francisco CA. As expected, the place was packed with thousands of Mac fanatics like us. One of the things we knew we wanted to do while there was to connect with “our people” – people who love fonts, who work with them everyday, who see fonts as a powerful tool in their tool shed. As I thought through what would most readily connect with people at MacWorld I began to reflect upon why we exist in the first place.

Stay with me here – I’m not going to start talking about the ontological implications of typography (maybe save that for a Friday afternoon post). What I mean is, why does a software company like FontGear Inc. exist in the first place? Here’s why: because font problems exist.

Now – for the sake of our purists friends out there – in this context when I say “fonts” I mean all things type-related (typefaces, glyphs, characters, etc.) Think about it – fonts are everywhere. From the first design ideas to the final piece (printed materials, video, web pages, etc.) fonts are often a main ingredient. And I think that’s because fonts most clearly drive communication. And it’s exactly because fonts are a main ingredient that they must remain in good working order, that they must function as intended and as expected in order to be useful. So…when they don’t work, when they don’t function as intended and as expected, they are not useful – and they interrupt your workflow. And that of course interrupts your cash flow. And that is a problem. To put it more colloquially – font problems suck, don’t they?

So that’s brings us back to MacWorld. How do we at FontGear connect with font users? How do we connect with all Mac users? How do we let them know that we know how it feels to have a print job delayed because your fonts got corrupted? How do we let people know that we understand what a pain it is to discover your PostScript Type 1 font is missing it’s bitmap? Tell them. Duh. People get it – they know all about font problems. So that’s what we did. We told everyone that we can appreciate their experience – that we know that font problems suck.

So we delivered our message. We printed it on our literature, we printed t-shirts, and we told people how we feel just like they do – and that we have created solutions for them. And you know what? We discovered that people agreed, and they like our solutions. How cool is that?

, ,

Leave a comment