In any Operating System, all fonts are alphabetically arranged in a single folder. Even if we take the case of particular software like MS Word or Photoshop, we can see that they too display available fonts tidily. If that is the scenario, what is the necessity to discover how to organize fonts?
Fonts at Your Fingertips
While it is true that the system has a built-in arrangement to store all your fonts, it takes time to scroll down to a specific font. What about the situation when you don’t remember the name of the font?
I Have Never Felt the Need to Organize My Fonts
It is a fact that normal word processing or simple tasks like composing an email don’t require the use of any particular font. That is not the case with businesses that have a common code to take care of branding and also maintaining certain levels of professionalism in communication. Think about vocations like graphic designing or calligraphy that require thousands of fonts.
Let Us Organize Our Fonts
Before jumping into the actual strategy, let us get an idea about how font names relate to their style. Unless you are very familiar with a font, you won’t be able to recall how it looks by merely seeing its name. There are font families that have fonts of similar design grouped. However, the name of fonts falling under a family may not correspond to their appearance.
This is a technique I used a decade ago when IT was not so advanced. I used two methods simultaneously to find a font as soon as the need arose.
i. A separate folder: Different folders were created for various programs. A font for using in a word processor may not be of use in designing software and vice versa. This means that the font will go into two folders on the system. The first is the default folder of the OS. All programs access fonts from this folder. The second one was created by the user to keep a copy of the font that is already stored in the system folder.
ii. Font name in the same style: Create a word processing file in your personal folder that contains copies of fonts for a particular program. As you download new fonts, type the name of the font on that page at the appropriate place. The font’s name should be entered in its alphabetical position. Now select the name and format it to have the same style attribute. Use bigger font sizes to be able to recognize the pattern quickly.
How to Organize Fonts Using A Font Organizer
There are thousands of fonts in a family. A user can have tens of thousands of fonts in his or her system, and the numbers will keep increasing as new fonts become available. This necessitated automated programs able to organize fonts systematically for easy recall by the user. Many programs are available online that will organize all the fonts on your computer and future downloads in a good structure.
What is the Font Management Program?
These cool software run in the background of your system and can be activated in a fraction of a second. This prevents all the fonts from running in the background- this is one of the reasons that slow down your computer. A good font manager will prevent all the fonts from being active at the same time and ‘turns on’ only those fonts required by the user. They automatically activate all the fonts when you open a document or a program. The moment you close the program, the font, too, gets shuts down.
Selecting a Suitable Font Management Software
Three types of font managers are available online:
i. For Windows.
ii. For mac.
iii. For Windows and mac.
Ensure that you have found a manager that is compatible with your OS. You can search online using suitable keywords to find several websites that provide font organizing services. Shortlist a few after carefully inspecting user reviews of each. Now you can compare the pricing and features to make a decision. Make sure that future updates are free. It is always a good idea to consult with professionals before choosing an appropriate font manager.
How to Organize Fonts Using a Font Manager
Each font manager typically has different menus and methods for organizing fonts. Let us have a look at some common attributes. You will learn the nuances of operating a particular program by using it a few times.
i. Begin by creating a new folder within the program. Some apps call it ‘library.’ So, if you see the menu ‘library,’ understand that it refers to a folder within the software.
ii. The main menu will have a tab called ‘new library.’ Click it to create a new folder.
iii. Give a suitable name to the library, which you can easily recognize in the future when you want to pick a particular font.
iv. Create more libraries to cater to the different font families that are already installed on your computer.
v. Every time you download a new font, add it to the library that corresponds to its family or style.
Tip: Instead of adding new fonts to the default system folder, save them in the font manager library.
Downloading a New Font
We saw that downloading a new font requires the user to add it to the corresponding library of the font manager too. Advanced options in upgrades of many font managers have the facility to automatically add the new font to a suitable library. This feature has a problem. If a font belongs to a family that doesn’t have a matching library with the font manager, it will be moved to an existing library.
This may not be a good choice for easy recall in the future. Experienced users always have their settings changed to ‘ask before creating a new library.’
Activating this function will enable the user to add the new font to an existing library of his or her choice.
Some programs may not have a library that suits the features of the new font. You can always create a library and give it a name that will easily sync with your methods of recollection.
Naming Your Libraries
This needs a little effort from your part to learn about text types to know how to organize fonts. If you can easily recognize font classifications and their characteristics, it will be pretty much easy for you to allot a suitable library to keep the font in. Most font managers have built-in features to perform this function. However, typography is sometimes confusing, and the program may save the new font in a different library than the one you would have manually selected.
Spend some time to learn the basics of font families and it will stand you in good stead for all future projects as well.
Examples of Font Types
We can start the learning process immediately by looking at a few common categories of fonts.
ix. Sans Serif.
Many font managers allow you to create subfolders inside a library to further classify your fonts. The important thing is that you should be able to access a particular font immediately when the need arises.
Practical Tips for Using Font Managers
We are using a font manager with a single purpose- the effective recall of fonts as and when required. We have seen above that creating custom folders or libraries is the best way to do this. Those tips for cleverly structuring folders and subfolders can be taken to the next level by manual cataloging.
Of course, there are traditional font families. That doesn’t restrain you from giving your favorite pet names to replace a generic font name. It is entirely your choice to increase efficiency.
Additional Features to Look for in a Font Manager
Before selecting a good font manager, you can compare it with similar programs. Here are a few additional features that will come in handy:
i. Activating missing fonts automatically.
ii. Shell extensions for windows.
iii. Scan the computer for font errors.
iv. Export your installed fonts to an HTML web album.
Now let us have a close look at how to organize fonts on the cloud.
Using Cloud Storage to Free Computer Space
There are a lot of free cloud storage facilities available like Dropbox and Google Drive to store files online. It is very easy to adopt the same file structuring that we learned above, to store our fonts in a suitable cloud program. It has the below advantages:
i. Even if you don’t have access to your personal computer, you can access your fonts from anywhere.
ii. A lot of space can be freed on your system.
You can choose a good cloud storage app and give it a trial run to understand user-friendliness before finalizing it.