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convince me

All around the forums I continue to hear rumblings about font explorer x. I've started to download it a few times only to realize that I have changed font management tools so many times that, if anything, I'm only about to cause myself more heartache.

People keep saying how fast it is. so, how fast is it? how stable is it. has anyone been using font agent pro and switched and laughed out loud at the improvement?

I grew up on ATM. I've used Suitcase, Masterjuggler, Font Reserve and even tried to work with Font Book.

Yes, I still miss ATM. Kinda sad really. I don't miss the UI.

Typographica has a thread. I know that already. I just want to hear from users of FE/X and there likes and dislikes.

I'm using my blog because I am also sick to death of threads asking about font management.


[update: as of last Friday I am quite happily using FontExplorer X. You can slowly train the applications to not ask for the fonts.]


I love(d) ATM (have it with my 9.2). I have Suitcase, but never-ever worked with it. My rule with new software(s) and upgrade(s): wait couple months, see -hear-read about the main bugs and then download/upgrade.

Right now I'm happy with FontBook, however, I want to use FE/X. But as I said, I'm going to wait.

I have been using it & have had some bugs. It does ask if you want to buy fonts a bit too much. Some of the drag & drop features I was expecting because it is built around the itunes concerpt doesn't seem to work - it isn't written into it (yet?). I can't compare it with the latest suitcase master juggler etc. because I didn't use them. Still, so far I am pretty happy & I have a sense that if I got better organized in it then all would be well.

The ability to create smart sets is what really sold me on it. The Auto-ligatures check box will come in helpful. I've never been asked to buy a font for some reason. On the downside I am not able to view fonts at 8pt or smaller on screen, it's completely illegible. Other than that I love it and it's going to replace Suitcase on my machine!

Can you explain smart sets for me? (Not that it matters at this point as I'm still hoping/waiting for a PC version of FE. I'm quite happy with Suitcase 9 for PC as it does what I need it to do [I haven't experienced any of the "slow" issues others have mentioned and it has never crashed on me], but I'm very eager for something on PC that will auto-activate. At the moment there's nothing available with that ability.)

Smart Sets are dynamic font sets.

In a font, you have a wealth of information. Aside from the font name itself, you have a copyright and trademark string embedded. Many OpenType fonts have designer names embedded, foundry name embedded, distributor embedded, even a font description embedded, production year, etc.

So, to create a Smart Set, click on "New Smart Set" first. Lets name this first set "Adobe Fonts." Using the pull down menus, tell the set to include any font whose copyright string contains the word Adobe. All Adobe fonts will now also be displayed in a Smart Set folder. Every time a new Adobe font is installed, it will appear in this folder as well.

Anything could go into a Smart set, really. All Italics. Or all Expert fonts. Or all fonts designed by Robert Slimbach.

Since every font in FontExplorer X has its own comment field, you can also make smart sets based on your own comments. Lets say that one of your comments is "single storey a." Then you could have a Single Storey A smart set, too.

Also, you can give fonts a rating, just like you can rate songs in iTunes. Ratings can be a Smart Set criterion as well.

One sweet thing about it - It seems to be able to preview some open type features such as contextual replacement ( calt ). I am working on a face that uses this feature so that's pretty fine for me!

I haven't tested any others. Dan, Any idea what OT features Font Explorer can show? On OS X is the feature I have been seeing ( calt ) being rendered via FE or OSX? Thanks!

When does it ask you if you want to buy fonts? I suppose this is one reason I'm hesitant. Although, it is not a major reason. Something this good, from what I hear anyway, which is free shouldn't get complaints like that.

Oh and what is the difference in download options? Is the huge download version necessary? That could be a stupid question.

When you open a document and don't have the fonts activated it asks you if you want to Activate or Buy the font. It is really unobtrusive.

No way to turn that off?

I don't see a way to turn it off, but it has also never bothered me.

This is how they are able to offer it for free. Do you think Linotype is just providing it for free out of the goodness of their hearts? It's more like iTunes than people seem to realize.


I like it anyway. You are under no obligation to buy fonts with it, but that possibility is why it's free. Seems like a good deal to me. Font Reserve had (has?) a "buy font" facility something like it connected with MyFonts, but it was not as well implemented. Plus, Font Reserve isn't free, so it's sort of like having to sit through ads after paying for a movie at a theater.

Incidentally, Linotype was courting smaller foundries regarding FEX at TypeCon last summer. Maybe my opinion should be taken with a grain of salt. :-)

Mark, I respect your opinion, and I take all advice with a little salt anyway. ;^D

I have downloaded it but won't install it until I finish today's projects.

That said, I would still be interested to hear other's likes and dislikes.