Font management - Mac vs. Windows

Macmann

Well-known member
Our IT department is pushing our large format division to migrate from Macs to Windows 10 workstations. In my experience, the biggest challenge will be fonts.

The Adobe applications seem to run the same on both platforms but we are always battling customer-supplied fonts. We are currently using Universal Type Client for font management and the Creative Cloud font feature on occasion.

What are other members of the Print Planet using? Have any of you moved from Mac to Windows? What were the challenges? Pitfalls? Benefits? We have years-old customer font folders that just plain work on the Mac but give us fits in Windows.

Short of requiring our clients to outline their fonts, are there ways to get through this? Even those clients who are savvy enough to supply print-ready PDFs often forget bleeds, or their files need editing before going to press.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.
 

PricelineNegotiator

Well-known member
I've been in your situation before. What worked for me was to export all the fonts between the Macs into one big folder, and to assess how to deal with the Type 1 Postscript fonts that obviously don't work on PC. You might have to buy 2-3 families of fonts. The MyFonts Monotype subscription is great, along with Adobe Fonts. Just make one big folder of fonts apart from the subscription services and have your workstations pull from that and see what problems you are still facing. Don't put the fonts inside of a customer folder, that's not a good workflow.
 

Macmann

Well-known member
Thanks, PricelineNegotiator.

When you say you exported the fonts, how did you accomplish that? Is there a utility or app you used? Why do you not like separating fonts by customer?
 

michaelejahn

Well-known member
Perhaps I am confused ( and you need to work with native design app files in your market ) but do you really need fonts ? You really have customers who send files in wrong and you cant get back to them and ask them to fix them and send in a PDF/X file ?

And people actually outline fonts still ?
 

Repro_Pro

Well-known member
This utility may the right tool for the conversion:
 

Macmann

Well-known member
Thanks Repro_Pro. I will forward your suggestion to our Specialty Graphics division.
Have you used it?
 

Repro_Pro

Well-known member
We bought the set of FontLab apps many years ago and they performed great.
There was a learning curve, which I didn't personally take, but conversions were done successfully.
They would be my first choice for any professional font related issue.
 

PricelineNegotiator

Well-known member
Thanks, PricelineNegotiator.

When you say you exported the fonts, how did you accomplish that? Is there a utility or app you used? Why do you not like separating fonts by customer?
You can use the fontbook app that is natively on Mac to accomplish this. It lists all of the fonts installed on the computer, and there is an export menu.
 
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EEM

Member
The native macOS app Font Book does a reasonable job of font management, if you do not have extremely serious font management issues. It allows you to create as many font libraries as you wish that you can activate/deactivate to avoid font conflicts. To create a Library you do not need to instal/copy any fonts on any User/System folder. They can be activated from wherever they are. However, sometimes Font Book's error reporting feature is unhelpful/unclear.

A year or two back, I have test driven all major font management tools in a quest to find the best one and realised that it depends more on your overall workflow than any feature set offered. BTW, I found the Extensis Suitcase Fusion the most flexible in terms of workarounds for the font problems that may come our way. Extensis Suitcase has been around since 90's anyway.

If you are used to work mostly on Macs then IMHO you should not switch to an all-Windows workflow. If we were not a macOS-only environment then we would have just one Windows workstation to resolve the issues that required Windows. Although, Adobe and Microsoft have been collaborating for ages on a so-called OpenType technology, Windows is still at least ten years behind, in terms of font management good practices.

Meanwhile, I hope this link will resolve most of your font management problems on macOS (God bless Kurt Lang):

Font Management in macOS
 

Macmann

Well-known member
EEM thank you for your thoughtful and in-depth reply! My experiences mirrored yours in many respects. At a previous workplace, we too kept a Windows workstation to get through Windows issues. I've used Suitcase since the '90s as well. I will forward your response to my coworkers in the Specialty print division.
Thanks again!
 
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I have worked for a large number of sites as I do temporary cover (fits in with my life unlike a permanent position) and have seen management make choices that are questionable at the least to insane at the worst. If everybody sends you PDFs with embedded fonts then it does not matter, but not everybody does that. For some inexplicable reason clients send in all sorts of documents (I use the term loosely). If that is your experience then you need both or more platforms.
The most insane management decision was to do away with one software package when almost all their clients used another and sent in native files.
To add insult to injury they then told their clients they had to change if they wanted to continue using this print company
Yes they no longer exist.
 

narseman

Active member
Perhaps I am confused ( and you need to work with native design app files in your market ) but do you really need fonts ? You really have customers who send files in wrong and you cant get back to them and ask them to fix them and send in a PDF/X file ?

And people actually outline fonts still ?
Trying to get the salespeople to go back to the client is worse than pulling teeth.
Sometimes we struggle for hours on some stupid pdf issue, when we finally say we MUST go back to client.. then get a new file in 20 mins., fixed... it's frustrating. Sales don't want to "bother" the client.
 

Macmann

Well-known member
Thanks whaleone. I think we are leaning towards keeping with the Mac platform-easier for all involved-except IT ;-)
 

jrhmobile

Member
Our IT department is pushing our large format division to migrate from Macs to Windows 10 workstations. In my experience, the biggest challenge will be fonts.

The Adobe applications seem to run the same on both platforms but we are always battling customer-supplied fonts. We are currently using Universal Type Client for font management and the Creative Cloud font feature on occasion.

What are other members of the Print Planet using? Have any of you moved from Mac to Windows? What were the challenges? Pitfalls? Benefits? We have years-old customer font folders that just plain work on the Mac but give us fits in Windows.

Short of requiring our clients to outline their fonts, are there ways to get through this? Even those clients who are savvy enough to supply print-ready PDFs often forget bleeds, or their files need editing before going to press.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.
In a way, you're right on time dealing with the cross-platform font issue, because everybody in this business is going to have to go through their fonts, assess what they've got and set up a plan for dealing with fonts in the very near future.

The first thing to deal with will be sorting out types of fonts you have in-house. OpenType fonts are the Gold Standard, and should be separated from the rest of the fonts you have. They work on both Mac and PC platforms, so they should be separated out now — and if you ask me, used exclusively for all your in-house created jobs starting today. They're also the only fonts you currently have which will be accepted when you move from your Mac and Windows systems.

Your Postscript Type 1 fonts? They're dead files walking. You would have to buy a complete matching set to do the same work with these fonts on your Windows systems, because none of your Mac Postscript fonts are compatible. I wouldn't bother, though. Adobe will stop supporting the standard this year, and most all of the independent type foundries are releasing OpenType versions of the same cuts.

If there's a Postscript font you use now that you've absolutely gotta have, replace it with an OpenType version and install it on both platforms.

There's nothing intrinsically wrong with TrueType fonts. It's just that many of them supplied by clients bought 1500 crummy ones from the bargain racks at Staples for $20. You generally get what you pay for, and most of those "bargains" are pure junk.

If you use a font management utility on your Macs, you know how much easier it is to work with only the fonts you need at any given time, and how much faster your system is when you don't have the entire font library open on your Mac at one time.

It's the same for a Windows system. Buying seats of Suitcase or RightFont are not cheap, but it's far less costly than it will be dealing with the system and file overhead for carrying your entire font library in memory for production work. Your IT folks may fight you on this, because Windows by default offers you access to all your fonts, all the time. Their computers run fine, they'll tell you. Trust me on this — for yours, not so much.

And if you can, beg them to let you keep one Mac in reserve. On the rare occasion where nothing else will do, that single Mac in reserve will be the perfect tool to handling that trouble job. Not that the Windows systems couldn't eventually offer the fix; just that the Mac will in those rare instances let you do it faster.

Oh — client fonts? They're still going to be a misery. The difference will be you can't use your Mac client fonts anymore, you will be able to use client PC fonts. And a PDF with embedded fonts will still (almost) always save you and your clients the aggravation.
 

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