Read Me First – Take Control of Font Problems in Mac OS X, Tiger Edition

Chapter . Read Me First

Welcome to Take Control of Font Problems in Mac OS X: Tiger Edition, version 1.0, the companion volume to Take Control of Fonts in Mac OS X: Tiger Edition.

This ebook is all about Mac OS X font problems: what they are, what causes them and, of course, how to fix them. It covers both general and very specific problems that you might encounter in using your Mac, its font-related utilities, and the most popular applications—like Microsoft Office and Adobe’s Creative Suite.

This ebook was written by Sharon Zardetto Aker, edited by Tonya Engst, and published by TidBITS Electronic Publishing.

To get in touch or learn more about the Take Control ebooks, you can:

The price of this ebook is $10. If you want to share it with a friend, please do so as you would with a physical book, meaning that if your friend uses it regularly, your friend should buy a copy. The Help a Friend button on the cover makes it easy for you to give your friend a discount coupon.

We may offer free minor updates to this ebook. Click the Check for Updates button on the cover to access a Web page that informs you of any available or upcoming updates. On that page, you can also sign up to be notified about updates via email.

Onscreen Reading Tips

We carefully designed the Take Control ebooks to be read onscreen, and although most of what you need to know is obvious, note the following for the best possible onscreen reading experience:

  • Work with the Bookmarks tab or drawer showing so that you can always jump to any main topic by clicking its bookmark.

  • Blue text indicates links. You can click any item in the Table of Contents to jump to that section. Cross-references are also links, as are URLs and email addresses.

  • After following a link, you can easily return to the previous location in your document. This table summarizes the necessary menu commands and keyboard shortcuts:

    Table . How to Quickly Navigate to a Previous Point in This Ebook


    Menu Command

    Keyboard Shortcut

    Adobe Acrobat 6

    View > Go To > Previous View

    Command-Left arrow

    Adobe Acrobat 5

    Document > Go To > Previous View

    Command-Left arrow


    Go > Back


  • In Adobe Acrobat Pro version 6 or 7, set your preferences to view Web URLs in a Web browser: choose Acrobat > Preferences, switch to the Web Capture pane, and choose In Web Browser from the Open Web Links pop-up menu.

  • Find more tips in the Take Control FAQ on the Web.

Printing Tips

Although our layout is aimed at making online reading an enjoyable experience, we’ve made sure that printing remains a reasonable option. Please review these tips before you print:

  • Use the Check for Updates button on the cover to make sure you have the latest version of the ebook and to verify that we don’t plan to release a new version shortly. If you want to commit this ebook to paper, it makes sense to print the latest possible version.

  • Don’t throw out your PDF after you print! You must click the Check for Updates button on the cover to get future updates. The link must be accessed from the cover of your PDF.

  • For a tighter layout that uses fewer pages, check your printer options for a 2-up feature that prints two pages on one piece of paper. For instance, your Print dialog may have an unlabeled popup menu that offers a Layout option; choose Layout, and then choose 2 from the Pages per Sheet pop-up menu. You may also wish to choose Single Hairline from the Border menu.

  • When printing on a color inkjet printer, to avoid using a lot of color ink (primarily on the yellow boxes we use for tips and figures), look for an option to print entirely in black-and-white.

  • In the unlikely event that Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader cannot successfully print this PDF, try Preview; several readers have solved printing problems by using Preview.


When reading this ebook, you may get stuck if you don’t know certain basic procedures or don’t understand Take Control syntax for things like working with menus or finding items in the Finder. Please note the following:

  • Path names: The route you take to a file on your hard drive, whether by looking through columns in a window or by double-clicking your way through folders, is the file’s path.

    The syntax for paths conforms to Unix standards, because that’s what underlies Mac OS X. The disk’s name is always the first thing in an actual path; since we can assume that the disk is always there, we don’t include its name in the path—but we preserve the slash that would separate it from the next item. So, HardDrive/System/Library/Fonts becomes /System/Library/Fonts.

    A path to something in a user’s home directory starts with the drive’s name, followed by Users and then the user’s name. The handy convention, however, is to replace those first three items with ~ (tilde), so HardDrive/Users/Andrew/Library/Fonts becomes simply ~/Library/Fonts. (You’ve probably noticed by now that path text is formatted in special type.)

    For something a little further down, or back up, in a path that was just described, or if the beginning of the path is unknown (because, for instance, it varies from one user to another), we use two periods to indicate the missing part of the path: “With Creative Suite, you get /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Fonts, and its subfolder, ../Adobe/Fonts/Reqrd/Base.”

  • Menus: To describe choosing a command from a menu in the menu bar, this ebook uses an abbreviated description like Edit > Resolve Duplicates. When the actual command name changes based on a special situation or selection, there’s a generic reference: if the command would be File > Remove “NewFlier” based on the name of the selection, the description is File > Remove CollectionName.

  • System Preferences: Working with certain aspects of fonts means some trips to System Preferences. To get there, choose System Preferences from the Apple menu. Each icon in the Preferences window opens a pane of information. So, if I say “In the International pane of System Preferences” or “in the International preference pane,” you’ll know you have to choose Apple > System Preferences and click on the International icon. Some panes have multiple screens, accessed by clicking their tabs (titles) in the pane, so the directions might say “ the Input Menu tab of the International pane...”.


The “common ground” between what you should have, and know, and what I’m writing about in this ebook includes:

  • You’re working in Tiger: Font management in Mac OS X changed drastically from one release to the next; little of this ebook applies to versions before Jaguar, and Font Book changed immensely just for Tiger.

  • You’re working in at least 10.4.3: I was working in 10.4.6 by the time this ebook went “to press,” but 10.4.3 especially fixed some specific problems in Font Book (enough that I had to delete some complaints). There’s no excuse not to stay current on free system updates, so get with it!

  • You have administrative access to your Mac: he general assumption is that you’re in charge. (If you’re uncomfortable with, or confused by the very idea of “administrative access,” Appendix D: Users and Accounts can ease your mind.)

  • You know how to use Font Book: You’re familiar with its concepts and capabilities, including: font validation, resolving duplicates, disabling and enabling fonts, collections, and user-defined libraries. (You don’t have to know all this—but when, for instance, I discuss problems with user-defined libraries, I don’t describe how to create, edit, or remove them.)