Mac OS X fonts

Q I often seem to have problems getting fonts to load with Suitcase. Either I have to restart Illustrator or I get warnings of font conflicts when the offending font is not open.What’s going on?

A. This is a common query with users on MacOS X. Fonts continue to be problematic whether you’re using Suitcase XI or Font Book. However, this gives me an opportunity to explain some preventive maintenance that you should perform regularly.

To begin with you should “fix permissions” on your Mac on a regular basis (once a month or so.) To do this go to “/Applications/Utilities/” and open Disk Utility. You will see you hard drive listed on the left. Select it by clicking on it. Then under the “First Aid” tab click on “Repair Permissions”. You’ll often find something that needs to be repaired as permissions get altered by software installers and some system updates.

Next, this is the Font part, you should search your Mac for “Adobefnt.lst” files. These are font caches created by Adobe applications – you can safely send these to the trash because they are regenerated as required by the Adobe apps (Illustrator, InDesign and PhotoShop). If you’re a regular Adobe app user you’ll find many of these.

Another area that requires serious attention are font caches. The Mac caches fonts when they are loaded to make subsequent loads faster. When a font is opened, the complex file is examined and the results are stored in a cache file. From time to time these caches can get corrupt and cause font display problems and incorrectly report conflicts.

The easiest way to clean these up is to download “Font Finagler” from “” (formally know as Font Cache Cleaner). Font Finagler will locate all of the font caches on your Mac and delete them. When it’s finished you’ll reboot your Mac and start with a clean slate. The next time you load the font(s) the information will be stored in a font cache.
Performing these steps, repair permissions, remove font lists and caches on a regular basis should keep your Mac running smoothly.

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