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Fonts and Font Embedding

Many types of fonts are currently available in various qualities. Photoshop, like most high-end computer programs, works best with high-quality fonts. Although you can get good results with inexpensive and free fonts, they are often troublesome. TrueType and Type 1 fonts are the most common high-quality fonts available, with more and more multiple master and OpenType fonts reaching the marketplace.

Fonts (also called typefaces) classified as TrueType, Type 1, multiple master, and OpenType typically perform flawlessly with Photoshop. (Any font, however, is subject to corruption over time and might need to be reinstalled.) Bitmap fonts should not be used with Photoshop.


Although Photoshop can use multiple master fonts, it cannot take advantage of the special characteristics of these fonts. Unlike Illustrator, Photoshop has no provisions for customizing the appearance of multiple master fonts.

Fonts and Font Families

Technically, a certain typeface at a certain size in a certain style constitutes a font. More generally, we tend to use the term to refer to an entire family of fonts. For example, Times 12 pt is different from Times 24 pt and Times (Italic) or Times (Bold). Each was designed to serve a separate purpose. Colloquially, we refer to all the Times typefaces as a single font. Technically, Times is a font family, with numerous individual fonts.

When does terminology make a difference? Primarily, the subject comes up in marketing. Such-and-such a laser printer may have 52 fonts installed, and a competitor might claim more than 250 fonts. One font package could include more than 1,000 fonts, and another might have 85 font families. As long as you are aware of the difference in terminology, you can make informed decisions.


Many fonts come in both Macintosh and Windows versions. Make sure you install the appropriate font. OpenType fonts can use the same font file on either platform.

Sources of Fonts

Photoshop ships with a number of fonts, which are installed by default. In addition, other installed software likely added fonts to your computer. Free and low-cost fonts can be purchased as collections on CD or downloaded from a variety of sites on the Internet. Because Web sites come and go so fast, it's impossible to provide a current and accurate list.

Commercial Web sites that offer high-quality fonts for sale, on the other hand, are reasonably stable, and many of these sources are likely to be around for quite some time. You'll find fonts on a wide variety of Web sites. Here are some notable sites:

  • Adobe (http://www.adobe.com/type) In addition to one of the largest collections of top-quality fonts, you'll find a wealth of information about how fonts work—and how to use them effectively.

  • Agfa|Monotype (http://www.agfamonotype.com) Over 8,000 fonts are available. You'll find fonts from Adobe, ITC, and other major foundries.

  • Berthold (http://www.bertholdtypes.com) Another of the top foundries, where you'll find a large collection of fonts.

  • Letraset (http://www.letraset.com) To an entire generation, this company's name is synonymous with rub-on letters. It also has an extensive collection of digital fonts.

  • Xerox (http://www.font.net) In addition to a wide variety of fonts, you'll find a wealth of background information.

Most of the major stock photography sites also offer fonts. Some collections are quite extensive. Specialty fonts are available at independent sites as well. A huge list of links can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/typography. Here are several exceptional sites:

  • The Chank Company (http://www.chank.com) Chank Diesel's work includes custom fonts for a variety of packaging. A walk down the aisles of your local supermarket will take you past many examples. Chank.com offers a variety of fun and quirky fonts, perfect for grabbing attention.

  • House Industries (http://www.houseindustries.com) Fun, funky, powerful fonts are available individually or in collections.

  • Linguist's Software (http://www.linguistsoftware.com) Fonts for over 600 languages are available from this organization.

  • ParaType (http://www.paratype.com) This site specializes in foreign language fonts. A large selection of Cyrillic, Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, Armenian, and Georgian are available. You'll also find a wide variety of more familiar Latin alphabet fonts and even some experimental fonts.

If you are inclined to create your own fonts, you can explore Macromedia's Fontographer (http://www.macromedia.com/software/fontographer) and FontLab (http://www.fontlab.com) as well as software from such companies as DTPSoft (http://www.dtpsoft.de) and High Logic (http://www.high-logic.com).

Adding and Removing Fonts

Generally speaking, if a font is properly installed on your computer (and it is a PostScript font), it will appear in Photoshop's Font menu.

Font installation in Mac OS 9 is easy: Simply drag the font files to the Fonts folder inside the System folder. This is best done with no applications running. If programs are running at the time, restart them to ensure that they can properly identify the new fonts.

Mac OS X users have fonts in three or more locations (see Figure 11.34).

Normally, fonts should be installed in the Library/Fonts folder. That makes them available to all applications and users. The Application Support/Adobe/Fonts folder holds those fonts critical for Adobe programs to run properly. If multiple individuals are using a computer but a font is licensed to only one user, install the font in the Users/<username>/Library/Fonts folder.

As in Mac OS 9, font files can be dragged and dropped into the appropriate font folder to install them. Likewise, it's a good idea to restart any programs that are running at the time of font installation.

Windows users should open the Control Panel. In Windows XP, the Control Panel is directly accessible through the Start menu. Earlier versions of Windows use the path Start/Settings/Control Panel. Windows XP users can click on the button that switches to Classic View mode if they prefer (see Figure 11.35.)

Figure 11.34Figure 11.34 The top two windows show font locations in a pair of locations in the same Library folder. The Users folder, seen in the bottom window, is also on the startup disk.


Figure 11.35Figure 11.35 In Windows XP's default view, the Fonts icon is not visible.

The Fonts pane of the Windows Control panel shows all installed fonts. To add a font, use the menu command File, Install New Font (see Figure 11.36).

Figure 11.36Figure 11.36 It's important that new fonts be installed properly, not just for Photoshop, but to ensure that Windows runs correctly.

To install a new font, follow these steps:

  1. In the Fonts pane of the Control Panel, navigate to the location of the new fonts.

  2. Open the folder that holds the font you want to install.

  3. Click the Select All button or Ctrl-click to select individual fonts from the list shown in the upper pane (see Figure 11.37).

  4. Figure 11.37Figure 11.37 In this instance, several varieties of an OpenType font are listed as available in the selected folder.

  5. Select the Copy Fonts to Fonts Folder check box to leave the originals undisturbed, or deselect the check box to move the original files, deleting them from their original locations.

  6. Click OK to move/copy the fonts to the Fonts folder.

  7. Restart any program running during font installation to ensure that the new fonts are available to the program. It is not necessary to restart Windows.

Font Management

Too many installed fonts can slow Photoshop (and other programs) to a crawl. There are a number of font management utilities available for all platforms. Typically, a font management utility creates collections of fonts that can be activated when needed. This allows the system (and programs) to run without the overhead of hundreds of fonts that may or may not be needed during a particular work session.

Windows users and users of Mac OS 9 can opt for Adobe's Type Manager Deluxe. They can also choose Extensis Suitcase or Font Reserve from Diamondsoft, which are also available for Mac OS X.

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