Computing with Bifocals - Working With Font Book in Panther
- August 26th, 2004
Once again it appears to be my "privilege" to learn something the hard way so you don't have to. Isn't that why TMO pays me the big bucks to write this column? Yeah. This was a doozy of a lesson so I hope it saves you some time. I even had to start this column over 3 times because every time I thought I had it all figured out I would discover I was wrong.
All About Fonts.
font: n - A complete assortment of letters, numbers, and symbols of a specific size and design. There are hundreds of different fonts ranging from businesslike type styles to fonts composed only of special characters such as math symbols or miniature graphics. source: www.oit.ohio-state.edu/glossary/gloss2.html
font: n - A font is a complete set of characters in a particular size and style of type. This includes the letter set, the number set, and all of the special character and diacritical marks you get by pressing the shift, option, or command/control keys. source: www.red.net/glossary/f.php
I remember when I first learned about fonts and computers. I was fascinated. After all, manual typewriters don't give font options. Electric typewriters didn't give font options either, although there were the old IBM typewriters with the little balls that could be changed to get different font types.
Also, as part of a job that I held for several years in the early 60s, I typed technical documents that frequently contained page long equations. We had standard electric typewriters, but the outside key on the right and left could be removed and replaced. Each typist had a big board containing our extra keys so that when I had to insert an , for instance, into the equation, I would remove one of the end keys, attach the key, strike it, remove it, reinsert the standard key, and continue with my work. At least when I started using a computer I had the advantage of knowing what the word "font" meant.
When I work with brand new computer users, one of the consistencies I find is that they have no concept of fonts. It would never occur to them to ask about fonts because it is a completely unknown concept. Even for me, I didn't know there were all these "font options" available.
That is why two things can quickly frustrate newbies. One is when someone (like their kids) start trying to demonstrate how easy it is to change fonts. Another is when they are using an application such as Microsoft Word and without warning, the font style will suddenly change. Word is particularly good at doing that to the unsuspecting user. The dead silence you hear is me not trying to explain anything about how or why Microsoft Word does anything, but I will try and help you understand a bit more about fonts.
If you are using OS X 10.3 (Panther) I assume you have some familiarity with the whole concept of fonts, and you probably know how to choose different ones to use while in a specific application such as AppleWorks or Microsoft Word. (Depending on the application you are using, search the toolbar at the top of your screen until you find an option labeled "font" and scroll through the list until you find the font you want. Release the mouse button when you get to the one you want to use. If you are trying to change the font for text you have already typed, you must first highlight that text.)
Adding New Fonts in Panther.
You can add new fonts to your Mac no matter what version of the Mac OS you are using. They need to be Mac compatible. There are lots of free ones available, and there also many commercially available fonts you can purchase. I found a couple of what appear to be reputable sites that offer free Mac compatible fonts that worked well when I experimented with them. The first is freemacfonts.com/ and the second is downloadfreefonts.com.
One thing I learned in this research is that there is more than one place to add fonts in Panther. I am only going to discuss one way in this column -- using the Font Book. It is the easiest to understand and the easiest to use.
Note: If you are adding fonts from a CD rather than a web site, skip steps 2 - 3.
The steps to add new fonts from a web site to Panther using the Font Book are:
1. Quit all applications on your computer that use fonts.
2. Open the Web site of your choice and find the specific font that you want to add to your computer. In this example I am adding Aswell to mine.
3. Click on the download icon located next to that font.
The font will automatically download to your desktop. (If it does not download to your desktop then your computer has been instructed to put downloads somewhere else. I'll tell you how to fix that at the end of this column.) Your downloaded file may look like one of these examples or it may look like something different depending on which font you choose.
4. Double click on the file so that it will unstuff. The unstuffed file will probably show up as a folder. At this point you may trash the download files. You don't need them any more.
Unstuffed file for the Aswell font
Contents of Folder
In this case there is one version of the font (Aswell.TT) and one message (aswell.txt). The message states that the font is free, but can not be sold. Also some font packages will have numerous versions of the font included. If there are, you can choose to install one, two, or all of the versions. It is your choice. However, you do have to install them into the Font Book one at a time.
6. Click on the font file (Aswell.TT) (The TT means it is a true type font)
Font Installation Window
When you are ready, hit install. The Font Book will open and your new font will be installed and ready to use. Unless of course, you skipped step one.
Font Book With New Font Installed
If you skipped step one then the fonts will only be accessible in applications that were closed. However, because you are using a Mac, and your Mac is always on your side, you can close your affected application and then reopen it and the new fonts should be available there as well.
These steps are really very easy and quick and there are a number of other clever things you can do with your fonts.
Once a new font is installed, you can keep it to yourself or make it available to anyone who uses your computer. To share it, click on the chosen font in Font Book, click on the + sign in the middle column (labeled Font) and, when the window shown below opens, choose the button "for all users of this computer". Then click on the Open button.
Font Share Window
If This Is All So Easy -- What Was The Big Deal
I just had this little problem. Some fonts downloaded perfectly, but would not show up in Microsoft Word and/or AppleWorks. Others worked just fine. I couldn't figure it out. I worked on it for days. I asked my buddies at Apple. I researched it. I decided I was incompetent (always my favorite solution).
It made no sense to my practical mind. If the font was in the Font Book and it was usable in Text Edit that means it was properly installed and not corrupt. How could it be usable in AppleWorks, but not in Microsoft Word? How could it not be available in either one? I was quite sure it was me.
It wasn't me.
Just like it probably isn't always you. It was, gasp, a problem with Panther. Fortunately for me, Apple issued an update for Panther (10.3.5) August 9, 2004. One aspect of that update is "improved font management". At first I thought "it was awfully nice of Apple to issue this update just in time to save my sanity". Then I wondered why it had taken so long for Apple to issue a solution when OS X had been out for quite some time. It was at this point that I was informed by Bryan, the Editor of TMO, that the Font Book was not available prior to Panther. Thus column rewrite #3. If you are using OS X 10.3 and haven't updated to 10.3.5, I suggest you do so. (Choose Apple Menu > Software Update then make sure the box next to 10.3.5 is checked and choose update).
Turn Off Unwanted Fonts
You have the option of turning off any fonts that you don't want to appear in the list of available fonts in your applications. This might apply to fonts in languages that you do not use or read. Here are the steps.
1. Choose Go > Applications > Font Book
2. To turn off a specific font click on the font name and click disable at the bottom of the middle column (labeled font).
3. To turn off a whole family of fonts click on the folder for the family in the left column and then hold down the option key and click disable at the bottom of the left column (labeled collection).
These steps can be reversed.
Delete A Font From The Font Book
To Delete a font from your Font Book, open the Font Book, click once on the font name, and hit delete.
About Making Sure That Downloaded Files Always Download To Your Desktop
If you have problems finding your downloaded files here are the steps to make sure that new files always download to your desktop.
- Using Safari - Open the Safari application. Choose Safari > Preferences > General. Make sure that "Save downloaded files to:" is set to Desktop
- Using Explorer - Open the Explorer application. Choose Explorer > Preferences > Download Options. Make sure that there is a check next to "Always download files to the download folder" To identify the desktop set the Change Location to Desktop.
Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping. To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.
|Check out Nancy's complete index of all her columns for the most complete list of tips anywhere. The list is categorized and is a great reference when you are looking for help!
Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.
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