Fonts Manager Troubleshooting
by Ed Hopkins
©1995-2011, AEDVANTAGE

Common Font Problems


: Please remember to keep add the Mac OS fonts to every set you create, or you may find your desktop looking strange! You can do this by holding down the option key as listed above...

If your fonts are not showing up in Fonts Manager™, the fonts may be damaged. I highly recommend simply reinstalling a fresh copy of the font. To remove fonts, you must first drag the Fonts folder OUT of the System Folder. Then, you may trash specific fonts at will.

Another reason fonts may not show is you've got screen fonts NOT INSIDE suitcases in your Fonts folder. To fix this, make new suitcases for these 'loose' fonts.

If your application does not show the Font menu as you expect, that application is actually causing the error. Make sure you have restarted your Mac. Then, find the preferences for that application, Trash them (or move them to the desktop), the re-launch the application. It should re-build the Font menu for you correctly.

For ClarisWorks, do a find on your hard drive for the file called "ClarisWorks Fonts" and Trash it.
For AppleWorks, find "AppleWorks Fonts" and Trash it.
Then when you re-launch either, the font menu will repair itself.

Orphaned screen fonts - Aaron uses a screen font called Espy Sans 10. This screen font belongs inside a suitcase, but it is NOT distributed this way. Outside of a suitcase, a screen font is likely to become damaged; consequently, Fonts Manager was designed to display orphaned screen fonts in the printer fonts section to alert you to this error. To correct for orphaned screen fonts, make a new suitcase (duplicate an existing suitcase, rename it, and empty it), and drop your orphaned screen font inside the new suitcase. So, using Aaron as an example: make a new empty suitcase called Aaron (exact name not important), and drop Espy Sans 10 inside the new Aaron suitcase.

If for some reason Fonts Manager fails, and you must restart (this can happen with any application you know), the Fonts folder inside the System Folder may be empty. DO NOT panic. This is probably because you just selected NO fonts before your computer crashed. Inside the System Folder you'll see the main Fonts folder and two new folders: Fonts (Printer Fonts) and Fonts (Suitcases). All of your fonts will be in one of these three folders. Move the contents of Fonts (Printer Fonts) and Fonts (Suitcases) back into the main Fonts folder to reinstall them. Don't move the two folders themselves (NOTE: Any folders nested inside the main Fonts folder are completely ignored). Then restart.

Please feel free to contact me via e-mail ( I may be able to help you with your Macintosh (or any Mac OS computer). I've been using Apple products since 1986, so I am confident I may be of assistance to you. Email will always get a response.

If you've had Extension conflicts at startup or any problems, especially with another font management utility (or it is still installed), you may need to do a 'clean install' of your System Software, due to damage the utility might have caused. This works 100% of the time.

Clean Install For System 7.1 thru Mac OS 9.1:
1 - Startup with Disk Tools (or your System CD).
2 - Run Disk First Aid, and repair the hard drive. Quit Disk First Aid.
3 - Run Apple HD SC Setup (or Drive Setup), and update the driver. Quit.
4 - Open your hard drive, and rename your System Folder to 'Storage' (exact spelling not crucial).
5 - Open the Storage folder, and drag two files to the Trash. System and Finder. Empty the Trash.
6 - Close all windows. If you have no System CD, restart with 'Install Me First' (or first System disk).
- If you have a System CD, restart again, letting the computer automatically startup with the System CD.
7 - Install your System Software with 'Easy Install'. Restart normally (VERY IMPORTANT).

7a - If you have EITHER System 7.1, and need to reinstall System Update 3.0 from floppy disk OR System 7.5 (any version), and need to reinstall System 7.5 Update 2.0 from floppy disk, THEN restart again w/Extensions OFF (holding shift key at startup), and install the update. Restart normally (VERY IMPORTANT).

7b - If you need to reinstall System 7.5 Update 2.0 from CD, put in your original System CD, then restart again w/Extensions OFF (holding shift key at startup). When startup is complete, drag the System CD to the Trash, insert the update CD and install the update. Restart normally (VERY IMPORTANT).

7c - If you have System 7.5.3 (any Revision) and need to reinstall System 7.5.5 Update from floppy disk, restart again w/Extensions OFF (holding shift key at startup), and install the update. Restart normally (VERY IMPORTANT).

7d - If you have Mac OS 7.6 and need to reinstall Mac OS 7.6.1 Update from floppy disk, restart again w/Extensions Disabled* (holding shift key at startup), and install the update. Restart normally (VERY IMPORTANT).

7e - If you have Mac OS 8 and need to reinstall Mac OS 8.1 Update from floppy disk, restart again w/Extensions Disabled* (holding shift key at startup), and install the update. Restart normally (VERY IMPORTANT).

7f - If you have Mac OS 8.5 and need to reinstall Mac OS 8.6 Update , restart again w/Extensions OFF (holding shift key at startup), and install the update. Restart normally (VERY IMPORTANT).

7g - If you have Mac OS 9 and need to update beyond that, simply use the Software Update Control Panel!

* Mac OS 7.6 through 8.1 will display 'Extensions Disabled' at startup instead of 'Extensions OFF'

8 - After the installation(s), you'll need to reinstall your applications, as well as your fonts. But try Fonts Manager™ first, before you do this (after all, this is why you're here).

- To reinstall your fonts, simply drop each font onto the CLOSED System Folder icon on the hard drive. You'll get the standard message about Font installation. Click OK to proceed. If you do NOT get the message, it's a good chance you're trying to install a damaged font (or it's not actually a font).

- To reinstall your applications (or any software that has an 'installer'), do the following:

1. Restart and hold the shift key after the startup chime (and make sure any external SCSI devices connected are turned ON, not OFF).
2. Do the installation.
3. Restart normally, without holding down any keys.
- If installing from a zip disk, just make sure the zip disk is in the drive at startup, and follow the steps listed above.
- If you have an Apple CD-ROM, and the installer application is on a CD, change step 1 slightly:

Before step 1, Insert your Apple System CD. It may be called any of the following:
Apple Macintosh CD
Performa CD
Restore CD
Mac OS…

1. Restart and hold the shift key after the startup chime (and make sure any external SCSI devices connected are turned ON, not OFF).

After step 1, drag your Apple System CD (whatever it is called) to the Trash to eject it, and insert your CD which contains the installer.

2. Do the installation.
3. Restart normally, without holding down any keys.

Make sure you complete step 3 before attempting another installation. Most installers will take care of step 3 for you, but some don't. There are very rare exceptions that will make this fail, but for the most part, it ensures that the installer application has no interference. Setting Extensions Manager (or Conflict Catcher or whatever) to something other than 'All On' can interfere with the 'cleanup' that happens at restart (step 3). Also, some installers may not adequately replace components that are in a 'disabled' folder. Using the latest Apple System CD that you have will help make this work properly, if you have a computer for which Apple updated the CD-ROM drive speed in mid-production.

Hope this helps. It sure saves loads of Macintosh customers time and effort, especially when System Software has been damaged due to improper installation. This tip and the requirement that all external SCSI devices (if connected to ANY Mac) be turned ON before startup are my favorite 'Mac Secrets'.

9 - After all software is running to your satisfaction (or at any point after System installation), you may trash the 'Storage' folder. DO NOT be tempted to drag files from your Storage folder into the new System Folder. This is BY FAR the most common mistake Mac users make when doing a clean install. Better to reinstall from original disks/CD than to attempt a drag-install of specific components from an 'old' System Folder (Storage). From experience, it actually takes less time to reinstall from original disks/CD.

Common Font Problems

Many common fonts problems can be quite elusive, so you need to keep a few things in mind. Consider these tools for your Font 'bag of tricks'...

(Unwanted) Type in a cross-platform document
Sometimes, Bold and Italic type in a Mac document appears as Courier (plain) type when that same document is opened on a non-Mac.

• To prevent this, use a Style attribute (Bold, Itatalic, etc.) on the Plain font, rather than selecting a named Bold/Italic font from the Fonts menu. This way, the non-Mac OS software will recognize the Plain font, and apply the Style attribute correctly (it probably WON'T recognize the name of a bold- or italic-styled font directly). To make sure, do a test print on both platforms BEFORE you spend your valuable time and energy on the entire project...

(Unexpected) Type in a cross-platform document
Sometimes, the 'fi' and 'fl' ligatures in a document produced on a computer running the Mac OS appear as unexpected type when that same document is transferred and opened on a computer not running the Mac OS. Also, fractions in a non-Mac OS document translate to other type when opened on a Mac, because Mac and non-Mac fonts have different character sets. The ligatures above on the Mac and three common non-Mac fractions (1/2, 1/4, and 3/4) wreak the most havoc.

• To avoid the ligature problem, use either a read-only file (PDF or PostScript file), or use fonts that have an 'expert' set, or simply choose a font that does not require ligatures, so that 'f' characters don't collide with 'i' or 'l' characters.

• To get around the fraction issue, either make fractions by hand with super/subscript operations, or use a font that has fractions common to Mac and non-Mac alike (i.e., Helvetica or New Century Schoolbook).

Warning Signs
You may have jagged fonts on screen, 'missing font' messages, or errors while opening a document/application. Unfortunately, this may be caused by one or more damaged fonts. If you use Adobe Type Manager (ATM™), make sure you disable it or remove it from the crime scene, to determine whether it is adding to the problem.

• To correct for these problems, it is simplest and quickest to install the font again from the original source CD or floppy. You may also want to try a font "fixer" utility, but I find they have their own kinds of complexities that I do not want introduced into my Mac OS.

Inaccurate Diagnoses
You've just discovered that ATM™ Deluxe has closed many of your fonts, or that MasterJuggler says some fonts are missing. But, the fonts work fine in all aspects.

• To avoid this kind of deceptive reporting, get educated! Know the ins and outs of font installation and usage. And above all, without any symptoms to go with these deceptive reports, IGNORE THEM! Some font utilities are so complicated, they don't always do what you expect, and can mislead you (on a wild goose-chase).

Missing Fonts
Quark tells you that a particular font is not available, even though you know it is...

• You may be using an old and newer version of the font, especially if you are distributing the document to multiple editors. Try to (about once a year) consolidate old fonts into an 'old' basket, and get updates for them, until all of your fonts are the same EVERYWHERE you use them...

Bold or Italic prints as PLAIN
You expect bold or italic text to print to your PostScript printer, but plain type is printed instead. The text on screen looks just fine.

• You are most likely missing one of the 4 or 6 PostScript fonts in the Fonts folder. It may also be that that particular printer font is damaged, or linked incorrectly. I would select a font family that has all styles, rather than use any form of font 'linking'.

Odd Spacing
The spacing you have worked so hard to maintain has printed out all wrong. This may be very common if you are printing to a PostScript printer that uses font substitution (i.e., Helvetica, Times, or Courier).

• To avoid this anomaly, if you use a TrueType™ font, make sure it won't be substituted, both on your Mac, and at the printing side. If so, use Type 1 fonts instead.

Word Space too small or gone
The space between words seems to disappear sometimes, especially for very tightly spaced fonts.

• This problem is caused by kern pairs, and can be easily corrected for by changing the kerning using a kern-editing utility. Don't spend forever on this. Just change the kerning where necessary for beauty and readability.