Sunday, June 9, 2013


Hello Everyone…

Today I want to talk about fonts.  More specifically, programs to view fonts and to help you organize them. You can find a lot of free fonts on the web, just do a Google search, and it will come up with thousands of sites. There is also a Yahoo Group, called Fontpacks.  This group doesn't have any chat going on, it is just for the distribution of fonts.  The owner sends out a font pack every couple of weeks that has at least 50 fonts, but usually a lot more than that,  that he has collected from around the web.  I usually will download the pack but just leave it zipped on my hard drive because I don’t have the time to go through them when he sends them out.  By the time I get around to going through the zip files, I have accumulated 20 or 30 zip files.  This translates into a TON of fonts that I need to go through.  

First I need to view them, to see if they are even something I think I will use, then I need to organize them. Also, in these font packs there ends up being a lot of duplicate fonts, so I want to get rid of those as well.  A few weeks ago I decided it was time to get my fonts organized, so that sent me on a search for a good font viewer program.

As you may know, in Windows, you can preview a font simply by double clicking on the font file, and it will open up a window where you can see the font.  This window will show you all the characters in the font file, and uses the phrase “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” in different size points.  From this window you can either print out the font, or install it.  Now I’m not sure why you would want to have a print out of a font, unless you were keeping a notebook with all the print outs, to refer back to.  But I would think that wastes a lot of paper and ink, when you can just see them on your computer screen just as easily.  If you select the install button, it will install it to your system folder, and it will now be available in all your programs.  Viewing fonts in this way will take a lot of time if you want to go through a lot of fonts to see what you have.  It also doesn't allow you to easily organize your fonts.

A better way to view your fonts is to use a Font Viewer program.  I have used 2 different programs, AMP Font Viewer, and more recently NexusFont.  These are both free programs, and you can find them by doing a Google search.

With both programs, you are able to view any font you have anywhere on your computer.  In AMP Font Viewer, it opens on your installed font folder in your System folder.  If you want to see fonts that aren't installed, you select the Not Installed Fonts tab, and navigate to the folder that has your fonts. You then select a font in the second column and it will display your chosen text in the third column. Here is a screen capture of the program.

The downside to this, you only get to view one font at a time, so it is hard to compare two or more fonts at a time.  And you have to navigate to different folders, or move all your fonts into one folder to see them all.  I couldn't find a way to view font files in sub-folders in AMPFont Viewer.  The only way to see them is to click on the folder in the first column.

In NexusFont, you have to add folders to your library.  To do this you click on the plus sign (+) in the lower left area of the window, and select Add Folder.  You then navigate to the folder you want to add that is on your hard drive, and all the fonts in that folder will be added and available to view.  When you have that folder selected in the left column, it will display all the fonts in the right column and you can just scroll through that to see your fonts.  Here is a screen capture of the NexusFont window.

If you want to see just a few selected fonts, just select the fonts you want to view, then click on "Selected" right above the display and only those fonts you have selected will be visible.

In both programs you can change the text of what you want to view so if you are working on a project and want to see what the text is going to look like in different fonts, you just type in your text, select the size, and the color, and you can view that in any font you have on your computer.

Both programs allow you to copy, move or delete font files.  So that helps when you are trying to organize your fonts.  I think NexusFont has the advantage over AMPFont Viewer here. Since you can select multiple files in NexusFont, you can copy, move or delete multiple files with just a few clicks, instead of having to do it for each file in AMPFont Viewer.

Another advantage that I think is helpful in NexusFont, you can create sets, and you can add tags to your fonts.  Say you have certain fonts that you like to use when you are cutting vinyl, or others that you use when using a pen tool in your Electronic Die cutting machine.  You can create a set for each of those, and add the fonts you want, to each of those sets, without having to move them into a different folder.  Then when you want to work on a project using vinyl, just select the Vinyl set, and you will be able to see all the fonts that you like to use with vinyl and pick the font you want to use before you open your designing software. This is helpful when you aren't sure of the font you want to use.  

If you are familiar with MTC (Make The Cut) software, you can’t change the font once you have selected a font and added your text.  You need to close out of the “Add Font Group” window, before you can select another font.  So you may end up with a number of different fonts on your mat before you select the one you want to use.  In SCAL, you can change the font on your selected text, before you commit it to your mat, but then you can’t compare more than one unless you do add them to your mat. Both of those programs have limitations on viewing fonts for your projects.

With tags in NexusFont, you can add a tag to any font.  This is useful when you want to search for fonts.  If you have a font that uses flourishes, but the name of the font doesn't have the word Flourish in it. You wouldn't find that font with a search on flourish, because there is nothing to point to it.  If you add a tag to that font, when you do a search, it will come up in your search, because it now has a way for the program to find it.  

By adding tags or creating sets in NexusFont, you don’t have to move all your fonts into the same folder, or have duplicate font files in different folders.  You can keep your fonts in different folders and still be able to view them according to your tags or sets that you create.  I like to keep my files in folders by the site or creator of the file, so if I go to a particular site, I can see if I have bought a particular file before I buy it again, just by looking through the folder for that site.  With NexusFont, I can keep all my fonts in different folders by website, and still be able to find similar type fonts from different companies when I need to find something for my project.

I found out a really cool feature of NexusFont the other day.  If you open NexusFont, any font you can see in NexusFont, will be available in any of your other programs until you close NexusFont.  It is a great way to have all your fonts you have been collecting to use in any of your projects.

Now that I have learned a bit more about font viewing programs, it will be easier for me to go through all my fonts and get them organized, so I won’t have to wade through 1000’s of fonts to find the ones I want to use for my projects.  I hope this has helped you learn a bit about how to view and organize all those fonts you have been collecting, and start using them instead of just having them sit on your hard drive.  I know it has motivated me to start using more fonts in my projects. 

Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the journey.