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Take Control of Fonts in Snow Leopard
Aug 10, 2010
The Author

Sharon Zardetto has been writing about the Macintosh professionally since 1984, including nearly a thousand articles in Macintosh magazines and over 20 books. She’s best known for writing several editions of The Macintosh Bible, along with The Mac Almanac.

Take Control of Fonts in Snow Leopard

Install, organize, and use fonts with ease in Mac OS X!

This essential ebook reveals the details of how fonts work on the Macintosh. Whether you want shorter Font menus, nicely organized fonts, or a better understanding of character-rich Unicode fonts, this ebook has the answers. The ebook begins with an overview of font options and storage locations, explains various Apple-provided font utilities, discusses common font tasks such as installation and organization, helps you get the most out of your Font menus, and provides detailed directions for typing special characters.

What about 10.5 Leopard? Despite its title, this ebook fully covers 10.5 Leopard fonts. It was just too awkward to name the ebook “Take Control of Fonts in Leopard and Snow Leopard” or “Take Control of Fonts in (Snow) Leopard.”

The ebook includes a coupon worth 20% off on any purchase from Ergonis Software, makers of the font utility PopChar X and other software.

More Info

Questions you’ll find answers to include these:

  • What’s new with fonts in Snow Leopard?
  • What types of fonts can I use?
  • How does automatic font activation work?
  • In what order does my Mac access fonts from all their possible locations?
  • How can I figure out what characters are available in a Unicode font?
  • Which fonts can I remove from my system safely?
  • How can I best organize the fonts stored on my Mac?
  • What is the logic and organization for fonts in Adobe’s various CS products?
  • How are fonts from Microsoft Office 2004 and 2008 stored?
  • How should I handle fonts from Apple’s iLife and iWork suites?
What's New

What's New in This Edition

This book has a 1.0 version number because it has a new title; however, it is effectively the third edition in a line of ebooks that includes Take Control of Fonts in Mac OS X, Tiger Edition and Take Control of Fonts in Leopard. Because the changes from Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard to 10.6 Snow Leopard are small compared to other improvements in the ebook, this book covers fonts in both Leopard and Snow Leopard.

General changes include:

  • Some condensing of information, and outright deletion of some background material (such as the more historical aspects of different font types) to streamline the book.
  • A total reorganization, with the major Organize Your Fonts section now located at the end of the book instead of near the beginning.
  • The fonts from Adobe’s Creative Suite 5 are now included in the Organize Adobe-Application Fonts topic.
  • The issue of what to do when a software upgrade adds duplicates of fonts you’ve organized by moving them elsewhere is covered in Upgrading Software after Organizing Your Fonts.
  • A new, streamlined approach to organizing your fonts. Not only have I approached the “what to keep/what to toss” assessments differently, but instead of your selecting fonts by checking against the lists in this book and tediously clicking on the umpteen items you need, I’ve provided you with blocks of text to use as search terms in the Finder so you can let the Mac find the fonts for you. This is such a superior approach over the old one (if I do say so myself) that it inspired me to create this combined Leopard-Snow Leopard volume so that readers running Leopard could use it instead of the process described in the previous edition. I’m also advising the use of a two-folder approach to Adobe-application fonts to cut down on unnecessary Font menu clutter.

Additions and changes specifically for Snow Leopard include:

  • Changes regarding which fonts, and what font formats, are included with Mac OS X are detailed in Appendix A: Font Tables.
  • New descriptions and figures for the minor change from “Character Palette” to “Character Viewer,” and the more significant change regarding how to put it, and Keyboard Viewer, in your menu bar.
  • Snow Leopard’s modifications to Font Book. In addition to minor cosmetic changes (such as a yellow warning triangle instead of a dot to mark duplicate fonts), the search field once again has a dropdown menu to set a category for your search term, similar to 10.4 Tiger’s Font Book.

Does this ebook cover third-party font-management utilities?

Due to space constraints and a concern for timeliness, the ebook doesn’t review font management software or round up the dozens of font-related shareware utilities; instead, it discusses what to look for in font management beyond the tools that Apple provides, and it highlights a few especially good shareware utilities in context of related topics.

Does this book cover how to enter characters from Asian languages?

Mac OS X does provide special input methods for these languages; this book doesn’t cover those special methods, but you can check out the basics at several Web sites, including the one at

Update Plans

June 2011 - At this time, we do not plan to create a Lion edition of this ebook. Instead, we plan to take a break from font-related topics like this one, so that we can focus on other areas of interest.

Posted by Tonya Engst

  1. Wrangle Your Fonts with “Take Control of Fonts in Snow Leopard”

    Managing fonts in Mac OS X is all too often like herding cats (all those Fonts folders!), but you can now corral your serif and sans-serif felines with our new Take Control of Fonts in Snow Leopard. Written by Sharon Zardetto, this 225-page ebook covers not only everything you need to know about fonts in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and 10.5 Leopard, but also special font situations in software such as Adobe CS4 and CS5, Microsoft Office 2004 and 2008, iLife, and iWork.

    Important topics covered include:

    • Where your fonts reside and in what order they load, and what - if anything - you should do about it
    • The ins and outs of different font installation methods
    • Using Font Book to manage, validate, and organize fonts
    • Making the most of character-rich Unicode fonts
    • Using Apple’s Character Palette/Viewer and Keyboard Viewer to insert and explore special characters
    • The quirks of fonts from Microsoft Office 2004 and 2008, and which ones you should keep around
    • Organizing fonts from Adobe CS2, CS3, CS4, and CS5 so they are available where you need them

    The ebook costs $15 and includes a coupon worth 20% off on any purchase from Ergonis Software, makers of the font utility PopChar X and other software.

    Posted by Adam Engst (Permalink)

  2. Who Knew Fonts Could Be So Funny?

    Sharon Zardetto, author of this ebook, recently stumbled on the Font Conference video at the CollegeHumor Web site. By mid-way through watching it, I was laughing so hard I was crying, and I nearly fell out of my chair. If you need a laugh, and you know your way around the basic typefaces, check it out!

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)