Tagged: fonts

Using proper fractions in Adobe InDesign and Quark XPress

Using proper fractions in your text can make all the difference when it comes to professional appearance. ¼ looks a whole lot better than 1/4. There’s an easier way than tweeking the size and baseline adjustment to regular text to achieve proper fractions. Both Quark and InDesign offer a Glyph palette which allows you to find the fraction glyphs contained in many fonts. Many times though, the font you’re using doesn’t contain the fraction you need. For instance, many fonts only contain ¼, ½, ¾, and so on. Proper fractions in InDesign By far the easiest way is to use OpenType fonts though. You can simply type the fraction normally, then select it and choose Fractions from the OpenType menu from the Character panel in InDesign, or the Character Attributes tab of the Measurements palette in Quark XPress. In the image above, you can see how much better the fraction on the right looks as compared to the normal text version on the left.

Type foundries you’ve never heard of before

Adobe, ITC, P22, and House Industries are some of the big boys in the font business, but there are plenty of smaller, lesser-known font foundries out there that put out quality fonts for affordable prices. Darden Studio is one such foundry that has some really nice fonts available, including Birra Stout – an old style display font available for free. Designer-Daily has put together a list of 16 Type foundries you’ve never heard before that’s worth taking a look at.

Outline fonts the right way in Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesignNothing ticks me off like receiving an InDesign document where the fonts have been outlined. What a waste. There’s really no reason to do it. Not only does it kill the quality of the text, often times making it appear bolder than the original font actually is, but you loose many features such as underlines, strikethroughs and more. Just embed the fonts in your PDF file. If your printer tells you that they need them outlined, tell them to bugger-off and start your search for a new printer – because the one you have sucks! If you simply must “outline” your fonts, you can “flatten” them instead and get much better results. David Blatner over at InDesignSecrets shows you how to convert text to outlines the right way.

Font Agent Pro

The following is the first installment of a 3 part series on font management applications. Let me start off by saying that everything said here is coming from a user. I, nor anyone else, received anything in exchange for saying anything good or bad about any particular app. Font Agent ProFont Agent Pro (FAP) from Insider Software. I haven’t touched FAP since the OS9 days, so I asked a fellow designer/pre-press operator to write-up his experience with it. His name is Pete Mrsich, and if you recognize the name, you’ve probably seen it listed in the credits of XtraLean’s ImageWell and ShutterBug software as the icon designer. Pete has been a freelance designer and pre-press operator for many years, so he knows the ins-and outs of fonts and their impact on the MacOS in general. I asked Pete to answer a few questions about FAP, and the following are his unedited remarks:

In what type of environment do you use your Mac?

At work, I use my Mac in a pre-press/design environment at a direct-mail publishing company. I work with many different types of files, from Quark 4 to Quark 6.5, Illustrator EPS, Photoshop, PDF, etc. At home, I use my Mac for freelance work, mostly in InDesign but Illustrator & Photoshop as well. Web design too!

What font management apps have you tried, and which one did you settle on using?

When I started in this position, the font app being used for the job was Masterjuggler in OS9, it worked well because everything was rooted in the older operating system, activation & management was fairly easy to handle, and adding new fonts was easy as well. Since migrating to X (started in Jaguar at this job), I’ve tried many different apps, MasterJuggler X, Font Reserve, Suitcase, even attempting an old demo of Adobe Type Manager, since at the time we were using Quark 4.11 via Classic. I finally came across a demo of Font Agent Pro, tried it out for a few days and I pretty much knew this was the app that would do the trick. I had the IT guy register it for me a few weeks later, and I’ve been using it ever since…

Did you switch to Font Agent Pro from another font management app, and if so, why?

I didn’t necessarily HAVE to switch, but once I started working more and more in OSX-native apps, it became clear that the ‘Classic’ version of MasterJuggler wasn’t going to do the job. The X version was fairly unresponsive, auto-activation was maddening, and it just didn’t want to play nice with the new version of Quark.

Font Agent Pro

Font Agent Pro

What are the pros of using Font Agent Pro for font management?

Insider Software has made it frighteningly easy to work in almost all major design apps, and have FAP manage fonts very well in all of them. When I first started working with FAP (version 1), I was using Quark 4.11 via Classic but also some OSX-native apps at the same time (Photoshop, some ID, etc), FAP handled the mixed environment beautifully. When I upgraded to version 2 the ease of use only increased, as well as the quality of auto-activation and the management tools. The way FAP organized my library was another big plus- something I go into more detail about below. FAP v.2 provides plug-ins for Quark versions 5 and 6, InDesign (pre-CS) & InDesign CS, Illustrator & Photoshop, as well as CS versions of the other Adobe apps as well. Plugins for older versions of apps (Q4) seemed to have disappeared along the way, but I believe I read on Insider’s site that the Q5 FAP plugin will work with 4 as long as you’re upgraded to 4.1.1. FAP has a nice interface, maybe not as pleasing as Suitcase, but it works for me personally. As you can see by the screenshots, there’s various panes that display your library (can have multiple libraries, good feature for those who may want to keep fonts segregated by project or client), any sets that you may create, and the obligatory pane that displays a WYSIWYG version of the selected font. In this pane you may also select multiple fonts for a ‘comparison’ view, and as evident by the screenshot you can customize things like size, color, as well as background color. You can also employ WYSIWYG mode in library or set view, useful if you just want to select your fonts at a glance by their appearance.

What are the cons of using Font Agent Pro for font management?

In earlier versions, activation seemed to be hit or miss sometimes. Usually a click outside of the app and then inside again would resolve the problem, but other times I’d be forced to reboot either the font program, the app I needed the fonts in, or both! With each successive upgrade, however, this problem occurs less and less frequently. The other caveat about using Font Agent Pro – one which might turn more than a few people off – has to do with the manipulation of the font library. ALWAYS keep a backup folder of all your fonts, because apparently what happens to your library after FAP organizes it and converts it for use, there’s a possibility that all the font files can become corrupted & converted to some type of UNIX files- at least that’s what the support rep told me over the phone. Luckily, I always had my backups- I simply copied from a CD, re-installed FAP and re-imported. No problems since. What I’ve also been doing with my original backup set is adding to it at the same time that I add new fonts to FAP – so that if the corruption problem ever becomes an issue *again*, I haven’t lost all the new fonts that I’ve imported since the last time I may have had to reinstall.

What one particular feature about Font Agent Pro do you like?

The first thing that struck me about FAP was the font organization tools- I know a lot of people get their undies in a bunch about a font utility manipulating their font libraries, but for me it wasn’t a problem since I had them all in one place anyway- and I have backups of my font library in several places on my HD as well as on CD. Font Agent ProWhat FAP does is – and you have the option of ‘copying’ or ‘moving’ your font library (I always select ‘copy’, and leave the original library untouched) – processes all the fonts in a given location and organizes them into alphabetical folders, then grouped into subfolders arranged by family. Even those who might not choose to use FAP for management, and simply like having their fonts organized, should love the program for this feature alone. FAP also quarantines any font files it considers to be ‘problem’ fonts into their own folder, as well as any duplicates contained in your library. Importing new fonts into the app also follows this method- and you always have the option to customize the way FAP imports – whether or not to check for duplicates, to activate fonts after import, etc.

About how many fonts do you have installed, and how many do you typically keep loaded at any given time?

I have about 2700 fonts installed on my machine at the present, and I would say I have a few hundred active during the average work day. FAP has a feature that lets you keep auto-activated fonts permanently active even after you’ve completed the work that uses them, but I chose to permanently activate a set of my most-utilized fonts, and let the rest of my library activate and de-activate as they may. A special thanks to Pete for taking the time to share this info, and at the same time, save me a little time! As always, sound-off in the comments if you have something to add to the review regarding font management software.

Changing fonts & sizes with arrow keys in InDesign

Did you know you can change fonts, font sizes, leading and more in Adobe InDesign using the arrow keys? Simply click in the field you want and use the arrow keys to increase measurements, select the next or previous font, etc.. Perfect for making small adjustments.