Identifying Damaged and Incompatible Fonts
If you’ve been collecting fonts for a while, you may develop problems.
Fonts can get damaged as you move them from computer to computer.
Older font formats aren’t supported on recent versions of macOS.
Older fonts can have incorrect font information or other bugs–fonts are software, too!
PostScript Type 1 fonts and older “classic” TrueType fonts for macOS store font data in a separate resource fork. Apple has moved away from using resource forks for their files, but macOS still recognizes files with resource forks attached. (Older Mac TrueType font files will usually not have a file extension; on Mac OS 9 these files had a suitcase icon and so were often called font suitcases.)
For instructions on finding and removing Type 1 fonts manually, please read the fascinating article, Finding and removing Type 1 fonts on macOS.
If you need to move legacy fonts off of your Mac, archive them into a
.ZIP file first. To archive the fonts into a
.ZIP from the Finder:
Control-click the folder to archive.
Choose Compress name of folder from the shortcut menu.
Scanning your fonts with Font Book
Font Book is a basic font management utility included with macOS. Font Book installs fonts in the operating system and activates and deactivates fonts. It lacks features for auto-activating fonts and adding custom information to your fonts and collections.
Font Book can check for some common font problems. It will also report if a font duplicates an installed system font.
Open Font Book.
Choose File > Validate File.
Select one or more font files to scan and click Open.
Font Book scans each font and reports any problems it finds.
Replacing Older Fonts
It isn’t easy to replace the fonts you use, especially when working with documents you didn’t create, but there are good reasons to switch to using OpenType fonts (or TrueType, if OpenType versions aren’t available):
You can use OpenType and modern TrueType fonts on both macOS and Windows.
PostScript Type 1 font files are specific to macOS or Windows and can’t be moved between operating systems.
Older versions of the Macintosh OS and Windows used platform-specific character encodings, which carries over to platform-specific “classic” TrueType and Type 1 fonts. Documents created on one platform would display some characters incorrectly on the other platform.
OpenType offers features that Type 1 and TrueType fonts lack.
Adobe, Apple, and Microsoft are ending support for Type 1 fonts in their applications and operating systems.
Adobe announced the end of support for Type 1 fonts in Adobe Creative Cloud applications by January, 2023.
Adobe Creative Cloud 2022 apps flag Type 1 fonts used in creative projects, and Adobe Photoshop CC 2022 doesn’t recognize Type 1 fonts at all.
Microsoft Office ended support for Type 1 fonts beginning with Microsoft Office 2016 for macOS.
Apple describes Type 1 fonts as “might work but aren’t recommended” on macOS; macOS Big Sur and macOS Monterey display Type 1 font files as generic icons.
For now, you can keep older fonts in your font manager and activate them as needed for older projects. Most foundries charge for new versions of fonts, but you can see if they offer free or discounted upgrades.
Identifying Duplicate Fonts
Handling duplicate fonts is one of the biggest challenges of font management. If you have duplicate fonts, then you may have used different versions in different projects. If you use the wrong version of a font in a project, the text could wrap differently causing reflow and pagination problems.
You might have more than one copy of the exact same font; perhaps you downloaded it more than once, or added it to a system font folder but didn’t delete the original. That’s easy to sort out: choose which copy you want to keep and get rid the others. A bigger problem involves fonts that are the same typeface, such as Helvetica Bold Condensed or Garamond Italic, but aren’t exact copies. You might have TrueType and OpenType versions of your fonts. You might have two different versions of the same font; the newer version could have more glyphs or use OpenType features such as custom ligatures or variable weights.
Identifying Fonts that Conflict with System Fonts
A font’s internal name (sometimes called its “PostScript name”) is used by macOS and applications to identify specific typefaces. It may differ from the font’s filename and the font’s display name; you can see a font’s display name in an application’s font menu.
Some fonts that come with macOS have internal names that conflict with other popular fonts. As Apple improves security in macOS, you should consider replacing fonts in your collection that conflict with system fonts. Popular typefaces may have “pro” versions with display names and internal names that don’t conflict with the system font version.