Posted - 18 April 2003 : 18:30:56
| Problems we face
By default most applications install fonts into system fonts folder. It is usually subfolder named Fonts under your Windows directory (like C:\Windows\Fonts). This is not very efficient since over time this folder may grow quite large, containing hundreds and even thousands of fonts. Having that many fonts installed at the same time usually makes no sense -- it makes more difficult to find right fonts for a job and also it makes Windows somewhat slower to start up, especially older Windwos 9x flavours. Also, some Windows 9x flavours automatically reinstall all fonts that are in the system fonts folder each time Windows is restarted, so if you have uninstalled a font and not deleted the font file itself or moved it to a different location, it will be installed again, making it impossible to reduce font count.
Another dilemma is that Windows do not allow you to have unlimited number of fonts installed at the same time. At certain point you'll need to uninstall some fonts before you can install new ones.
To solve this problem, you can make a separate folder (like C:\Fonts) to keep your fonts in, leaving only fonts that came with Windows and applications in the system fonts folder (if you wish). All other fonts you install manually from font web sites or font disks you will then keep in your own fonts folder.
How to reduce installed font count
Lets first make a new fonts folder where we move all fonts you want to uninstall but not delete. In you favourite file manager make a new main folder for your fonts files, like C:\Fonts, D:\Fonts or something like this. We will use C:\Fonts as an example in this paper.
If you start Font Xplorer, by default it will display all loaded fonts. If folder browser is not vibile in Font Xplorer, you are in the right mode, otherwise choose View | Loaded Fonts command. Now all loaded fonts are displayed in Font Xplorer. These are fonts that are available to all programs.
For all management tasks, you'll first need to select one or more fonts in the list. To select multiple fonts, choose View | Checkboxes command, a small checkbox will be displayed for each font. By clicking the box you can select the font to be included in your next task. To unselect it, click the box again. Font | Select submenu also contains special commands to select or unselect many fonts at once.
If there are some fonts in the list that you are sure you never need, you can delete them off the disk completely with Font | Delete command. Please note that some programs may use special symbol fonts etc, if you delete any of these, the program may not work any more. So be careful with deleting.
As I said earlier, having thousands of fonts installed at the same time is a bit overkill if you have access to a font manager like Font Xplorer. Much better idea is to have them easily accessible, but not installed. Easily accessible means you can install them any time you need them. For example you may use one font only for certain graphics job. You don't need to have this font installed all the time, you can just install it when you start working with the job that requires the font, and later uninstall it again.
We will now move less used fonts to your custom fonts folder you made earlier (C:\Fonts). In Font Xplorer, select the fonts you don't use frequently, then choose Font | Move to | Browse and browse your fonts folder (C:\Fonts). After you press OK the fonts disappear from the list. At the moment they are not available to programs any more, but we know the folder where we keep them (C:\Fonts), so we can easily make them available later. You can continue moving fonts to your custom folder until the list only contains reasonable amount of fonts. Remember, you can select multiple fonts first and then choose action.
Making fonts available again
When you now try some of your graphics applications, you'll see that only the fonts listed in Font Xplorer list are available, all the other fonts you moved to your custom fonts folder are gone! Don't worry, I'll show you right now how you can get them back when you need them.
Lets take a look at the folder where you moved your fonts. One good thing about Font Xplorer is that it can show you all fonts in a disk folder as well, not only those that are installed. Choose View | Folder Browser so folder tree will be displayed on the left hand like in Windows Explorer. Now navigate to your custom fonts folder by expanding My Computer, select drive C and then select Fonts folder. As you can see, all your fonts you moved are listed here! Now if you need to use a font from this list, just select it, and choose Font | Install to install it it (in Install Font window select "leave where they are"). After that it is available to all programs again. And if you are done your work with the font, you can uninstall it using Font | Uninstall.
Grouping fonts and installing on demand
Grouping fonts further by job or style allows even more control over the fonts (like C:\Fonts\Handwriting, C:\Fonts\Symbols etc). You can browse fonts in your fonts folder using Font Xplorer, pick the right font for your job and then install the font. That resolves the problem keeping thousands of fonts installed all the time. Just keep them in folders and install/uninstall on demand.
Note: Making sobfolders is required when you have many fonts. Don't keep over about 500 fonts in one folder, otherwise you'll be unable to browse entire folder at once in Font Xplorer, especially if you have already large number of installed fonts.
See also Background section in Font Xplorer's help file. There are topics that discuss limitations and difference between loading and installing.