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Font managers are strange beasts. Most people never think about them, but for designers and other font geeks, a good manager is key. In short, it’s an app that shows you exactly which fonts are installed on your system, how they are organized, and what they look like. It also lets you activate and deactivate groups of fonts. Font Book is built into OS X, but Fontcase makes browsing your fonts more attractive and intuitive.
Fontcase borrows from familiar iTunes and iPhoto interfaces to display font collections. If you think of an individual font as a song and a font family as an album, then a font collection is much the same as an iTunes playlist. Collections are useful for gathering styles of fonts or grouping typefaces used for a particular design project, in much the same way as playlists can be built for a road trip or the gym. Creating collections is as easy as clicking and dragging, and you can apply tags to fonts to create additional groupings. Once you’ve arranged your fonts in this way, you can mouse over a collection to view its contents, the same as you do with Events in iPhoto.
Scroll across a collection of fonts to view its contents in Fontcase.
Unfortunately, unlike Font Book, Fontcase’s collections and tags can only be viewed within the application, and not in the Mac OS X font viewer used by apps like TextEdit and Pages. Some applications also completely ignore font deactivation from Fontcase, limiting its utility. Adobe’s InDesign is one problem app, but there’s a workaround. Fontcase’s Activate Fonts in InDesign command scans an open InDesign document and activates the currently used fonts. Yep, that’s kludgey.
Font-deactivation foibles aside, Fontcase does have a killer feature -- the Typesetter view. New in version 2.0, this screen allows you to view any text or even an entire webpage and adjust the fonts within it by simply dragging styles onto different areas. For designers or casual desktop publishers, this great feature helps visualize the end product on the fly.
The bottom line. Users after a more visual way to work with their text or those with huge font libraries will see real benefit from Fontcase. But if you rarely drift beyond the fonts that came with your Mac, it’s an attractive but far from essential solution.
Mac OS 10.6.6 or later, 64-bit processor
Clean and intuitive interface for font organization. Handy typesetting feature. Scans Typedia for font metadata.
Font collections don’t appear in Mac’s font viewer. Has trouble with some third-party apps.