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Troubleshoot font problems (Mac OS 8.0-9.x)

What's Covered

General Font Information

Checking Font Integrity

Isolating a Damaged Font or Fonts Folder

Checking Dates of Font Files

A damaged font or Fonts folder can cause system errors (for example, "Type" or "Unexpectedly Quit" errors, freezes, the application suddenly closes) when you work in applications. This document can help you check the integrity of fonts, isolate a damaged font or Fonts folder, and determine if you have the current version of a font.

Note: Font handling has changed substantially in Mac OS X. For information about troubleshooting fonts in Mac OS X, see document 327791 , "Troubleshoot font problems (Mac OS X)."

General Font Information

Macintosh fonts come in several formats, including Type 1 fonts, TrueType fonts, and OpenType fonts.

Type 1 Font Files

A Type 1 font is composed of two files: a bitmap (screen) file and an outline (printer) file.

Bitmap Fonts

A bitmap file, also called a screen font file, provides bitmap representations of characters at specific sizes for screen display, usually 10, 12, 14, 18, and 24 points. Bitmap files also contain font metric information, and information the system uses to display font names in menus.

A bitmap file icon appears in the Finder as a dog-eared page with the letter "A." Each bitmap filename references a point size (for example, Times 10, Geneva 14). In Mac OS 7.1-9.x, bitmap files are stored in suitcases that are installed by default in the System Folder:Fonts folder.

Outline Fonts

A Type 1 outline file, also called a printer font file, contains a mathematical description in the PostScript page description language for each character of a typeface.

An Adobe Type 1 outline file icon appears in the Finder as a letter "A" in front of horizontal lines. Most Type 1 outline files are named using the first five characters of the font's name, followed by the first three characters of each style (for example, HelveBol, CouriObl, Symbo, TimesBolIta). An outline filename doesn't reference a point size. In System 7.1-9.x outline files are installed by default in the System Folder: Fonts folder.

TrueType Font Files

Unlike a Type 1 font, a TrueType font consists of only one file, used for both display and printing. A TrueType file icon appears in the Finder as a dog-eared page with three letter "A"s in progressively larger sizes. A TrueType font filename doesn't reference a point size. In Mac OS 7.1-9.x, TrueType files are installed by default in the System Folder/Fonts folder.

OpenType Font Files

OpenType is a cross-platform font file format developed by Adobe and Microsoft. Based on Unicode, OpenType is an extension of the TrueType SFNT format that supports PostScript font data and new typographic features. Filenames of OpenType fonts containing TrueType data have a .ttf. or .ttc extension, while filenames of PostScript based OpenType font have an .otf extension.

All OpenType fonts use a single font file for both display and printing.

For more information about OpenType font files, see the OpenType User Guide at http://store.adobe.com/type/browser/pdfs/OTGuide.pdf .

Checking Font Integrity

You can check the integrity of a font or a suitcase by using ATM Deluxe and its Verify and Report commands: In ATM Deluxe, select the fonts you want to check, and then choose Tools > Verify. ATM categorizes font errors as minor or severe. Minor errors generally aren't a sign of serious problems, but they usually indicate small technical inconsistencies in the font files--inconsistencies that aren't apparent during normal usage and that won't affect output. Severe errors, however, indicate a potential system error or freeze when the fonts are displayed or printed. Choose Tools > Report to view a technical description of the error. If ATM reports a severe error, reinstall the font from the original media. While ATM Deluxe can identify many font problems, it checks only 25 points of the font for valid PostScript information. Therefore, ATM Deluxe may not identify a damaged font.

Isolating a Damaged Font or Fonts Folder

The easiest way to isolate a damaged font is to prevent all fonts from loading into the system by removing them from the System Folder: Fonts folder, and then adding groups of them back into the Fonts folder until you isolate the damaged font. It is also possible that all your fonts are fine, but the Fonts folder is damaged and causing the errors. In addition, font management utilities (for example, ATM Deluxe, Suitcase) can activate fonts that aren't in the Fonts folder, so you may also need to check for a damaged font elsewhere on your system.

To isolate a damaged Fonts folder or a damaged font in the Fonts folder:

1. Move the Fonts folder from the System Folder to another location (for example, the desktop), and then restart the computer. The system creates a new, empty Fonts folder during startup.

2. Try to re-create the error. If the error still occurs, the problem isn't caused by one of the fonts or the Fonts folder. If the error doesn't recur, continue with the steps as one or more fonts or the original Fonts folder may be damaged.

3. Move half of the font files from the original Fonts folder to the new Fonts folder. Remember to move both the font's suitcase file and the associated outline files into the new Fonts folder; you may find it helpful to view the font files by name.

4. Try to re-create the error. If the error doesn't recur, move half of the remaining fonts into the new Fonts folder. Continue adding a few fonts at a time, attempting to re-create the error after each addition, until you isolate the damaged font(s). If the error recurs after adding a group of fonts, one or more of those fonts is damaged. Remove the last group of fonts you added, and then move those fonts in smaller groups into the new Fonts folder until the error recurs.

5. Reinstall any damaged fonts from their original media.

6. Delete the original Fonts folder. (If the error didn't recur after adding all of your fonts, the original Fonts folder was probably damaged.)

To isolate a damaged font activated by a font management utility:

1. Open the utility and then identify which fonts it activates. For instructions, see the utility's documentation.

2. Deactivate half of the fonts and then try to re-create the error:

-- If the error recurs, one or more of the active fonts may be damaged. Continue by deactivating a few fonts at a time and then attempting to re-create the error, until you isolate the damaged font(s).

-- If the error doesn't recur, one or more of the deactivated fonts may be damaged. Continue by activating a few fonts at a time and then attempting to re-create the error, until you isolate the damaged font(s).

3. Reinstall any damaged fonts from their original media.

Checking Dates of Font Files

Prior to 1993, Adobe revised a large portion of its type library, mostly to accommodate cross-platform naming conventions, although some font information was revised. Older fonts work fine on most computers, but some newer applications and operating systems cannot interpret the older font information.

To check the date of a file, select the file in the Finder and choose File > Get Info. Be sure to check the dates on both the outline and suitcase files. The Created date is the year the font was created or revised. If the date is earlier than 1993 for either the suitcase or outline file, consider updating your fonts. For information about updating Adobe Type 1 fonts, contact Customer Services at 800- 833-6687 .


Related Documents

Document 328527
Last edited - 09/19/2006

 

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