Font Management 101

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It is no secret that desktop publishers tend to collect a lot of fonts . After all who can better appreciate the subtle differences between fonts than a desktop publisher ? The only downside to having a truly impressive collection of fonts is the amount of space that the collection takes up. Sure adding five or ten fonts to your computer won’t take up too much space. Try adding 50 or 100 fonts and computer performance will be a bit different. No one wants to suffer from poor system performance just to keep those fonts. And realistically, you probably don’t use all of them on a regular basis. You can save a lot of space by properly managing your fonts.


The basics of font management are pretty simple. Both Windows and Macintosh (Apple) systems have built-in font management tools you can use. These are good for taking a solid look at what you have on hand. It also allows you to see what fonts you have, identifying any duplicates, or ones you never use. Just keep a handy list of the useless fonts, or feel free to delete them as you go.

Storage for Future Use

If you download your fonts from sites or make them yourself, keeping a handy backup of your font is simple. Before you install the font packages just copy the file and save it to a backup location. You have several options for backup font locations.

A few fonts

If you only have a few fonts then you can use a USB flash drive or burn your stoned fonts to a CD.

A lot of fonts

If you have to manage a large number of fonts then you should move up to an external hard drive. This will give you considerable storage. One special note to Mac users, don’t use the same hard drive that you use for Time machine, or you will end up writing over the saved files when you back up.

Yes, you will have to install and uninstall as needed, but for fonts you only use once or twice a year that is a smart move.

What About Fonts You Already Own?

If you already own a font you want to store you are just going to have to take the files from your computer.

To access your font files:


My Computer -> System ->Fonts


Mac Hard Drive -> Search Bar -> Fonts

Just be aware that you should leave an empty copy of the file in place. This way the pathway is not uninstalled and you can just drop the files back in. Enjoy your space.

How to Access Built-in Font Management Tools

Just in case you don’t know how to get to your built-in font management tools, here is a handy guide.

Mac users (Version 10.3 and above)

Macintosh hard drive-System-Library-fonts: for system wide fonts

User-Library-Fonts: For fonts specific to one user

Windows Users

Control panel -> Fonts (XP)Control panel -> Search box (type font) -> Font folder (Vista)