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Troubleshoot font problems (Mac OS X)

This document can help you resolve problems that occur while installing fonts or using fonts with Adobe applications in Mac OS X. Font problems can manifest themselves in many different ways, including (but not limited to) the following:

-- Fonts don't appear in the font menu of your applications.

-- Fonts don't print correctly.

-- Fonts in menus and dialog boxes have incorrect letters or characters.

-- Fonts don't appear correct on-screen.

-- Errors or crashes occur after installing fonts.

-- Fonts are available to certain users only.

Mac OS X manages fonts differently from earlier versions. For more information, visit the Apple Web site at .

To benefit most from this document, perform the following tasks in order.

1. Make sure that the font is a supported font format.

If you use an unsupported font format, the system can't display or print the font in applications.

Mac OS X supports the following font formats:

-- .dfont

-- Multiple Master (Mac OS X 10.2 and later only)

-- OpenType (.otf)

-- TrueType (.ttf)

-- True Type Collection (.ttc)

-- Type 1 (PostScript)

2. Make sure that the font is installed in the correct folder.

Mac OS X includes five font folders that allow you to use fonts in different ways. You can install fonts to as many folders as needed, since Mac OS X permits duplicate copies of a font in the system. If duplicate font names exist, Mac OS X uses fonts--without regard to font format--from the following locations in the order listed:

1. Users/[ user name ]/Library/Fonts

2. Library/Fonts

3. Network/Library/Fonts

4. System/Library/Fonts (Avoid making changes to this folder. It contains .dfont fonts that Mac OS X requires for system use and display. For more information, visit the Apple Web site at .)

5. System Folder/Fonts

Note: Fonts installed in System Folder/Fonts are available to all Classic, Carbon, and Cocoa applications.

To install a font in Mac OS X :

1. Quit all applications (to use the font in those applications).

2. Log in:

-- If you're installing fonts to the Users/[ user name ]/Library/Font folder, log in with your user name.

-- If you're installing fonts to the Library/Fonts folder, log in as Administrator.

-- If you're installing fonts to the Network/Library/Fonts folder on a networked server, contact your network administrator.

3. Drag the font files from the original media (for example, a CD) to one or more of the following folders on the hard disk:

Note: When installing Type 1 fonts, drag both the outline font file and bitmap font suitcase to the appropriate folder. (In Mac OS X, font suitcases look and behave like other font files: You can't open them by double-clicking the file as you can in Mac OS 9.)

-- System Folder/Fonts, to access the font in applications running in Mac OS X, and applications running in Classic mode (Mac OS 9)

-- Library/Fonts, to access the font in all applications by all users in Mac OS X (The font won't be available in applications running in Classic mode.)

-- Users/[ user name ]/Library/Fonts, to be used by a specific user in Mac OS X (The font will be available in all applications in Mac OS X only when you log in as the specified user.)

-- Network/Library/Fonts, to be accessed by remote users on a networked file server running Mac OS X over a local area network (LAN)

3. Make sure that both screen and printing files are installed for Type 1 fonts.

To use Type 1 fonts in Mac OS X, you must install both the bitmap (screen), or the font suitcase containing the bitmap font files, and outline (printer) font files to the same folder. (Adobe bitmap font files use the font name, and the outline files use a shortened, PostScript version of the font name [for example, "Isabe" for the Isabella font].) If an outline font file isn't installed, the font may print incorrectly; if the bitmap font file isn't installed, the font isn't available in the font menu.

4. Use Adobe Type Manager (ATM) with Classic applications.

ATM prevents fonts from appearing jagged on-screen and therefore helps Type 1 fonts print more smoothly on non-PostScript printers when running applications in Classic mode. You can download a free version of ATM Light 4.6 from the Adobe Web site at .

5. Troubleshoot third-party font management software.

Deactivate all fonts in the font management software:

-- If the problem recurs, the font management software is causing the problem. Contact the manufacturer for an update.

-- If the problem doesn't recur, a font is causing the problem. Perform the following tasks to identify the font.

6. Restart in Safe Mode and then restart again to clear the font cache. (Mac OS X v10.4.x and later)

In Mac OS X 10.4.x, safe mode disables all fonts other than those in the System\Library\Fonts folder, and it moves to the Trash all font caches normally stored in \Library\Caches\\[uid] where [uid] is a user ID number such as 501.

To start up in Safe Boot or Safe Mode, do the following:

1. Shut down the computer.

2. Press the power button.

3. Immediately after you hear the startup tone, press and hold the Shift key.

4. Release the Shift key when you see the gray Apple and progress indicator. During startup in Mac OS X v10.4.x or later, you will see "Safe Boot" on the login window, even if normally you log in automatically.

To leave Safe Mode, restart the computer normally, without holding any keys during startup.

7. Remove font files from all Mac OS X font folders, except the System/Library/Fonts folder.

Move font files from the Fonts folders in the Users, Library, and Network folders to the desktop or other location, and restart the computer. If the problem doesn't recur, the problem is caused by one or more of the font files you moved. Replace font files a few at a time to determine which font is causing the problem. (For example, replace font files that start with A-E to the System/Library/Fonts folder, and then restart the computer. If the problem doesn't recur, add another small group of font files. If the problem does recur, one of the font files you just added may be the cause: Remove the font files, and add them back one at a time, restarting the computer each time until you find the particular font file that causes the problem.) When you find the font file that causes the problem, reinstall the font from the original media.

8. Use a current version of the font.

Make sure that you are using the latest version of the font.

To check a font from the Adobe Type Library, select the font file, and choose File > Get Info > General to check the creation date. (If you're using Type 1 fonts, check the creation date for each outline and suitcase file.) If the font's creation date is prior to 1992, a new version of the font may be available. For upgrade information, contact Adobe Customer Support at 1-800-833-6687.

Related Documents

322050: Certain installed fonts do not appear in the Font menu of an Adobe application

323330: Multiple Master fonts are unavailable in Illustrator 10 on Mac OS X

324011: Support for non-roman fonts in Illustrator

Document 327791
Last edited - 11/01/2006


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