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Type Management Software

Type management programs do several things. First and foremost, they allow you to organize your fonts into collections, or sets, that you can install in one fell swoop. You can create a set of fonts for a particular job, for example, or for a particular client. One font can belong to several sets.

Second, type management programs can pluck out duplicate fonts (which can befuddle the System) as well as weed out and often fix corrupted screen fonts.

Third, they can install (the word they usually use is activate) fonts as they're called for in the applications of files you open (assuming the application is compatible with this function--not all are). Open a file that uses Beppo Black? Bingo! Your font manager activates it automatically. This helps to keep your fonts menu from becoming overwhelming.

Although Adobe is not revamping ATM for Mac OS X, other font-management software--including DiamondSoft's Font Reserve, Alsoft's MasterJuggler Pro, and Extensis's Suitcase--are moving over to Apple's new operating system. And Mac OS X's Font Panel can group fonts together but doesn't let you activate fonts, as third-party font managers can.

Here's a summary of the most popular Mac font managers and what they do.

Extensis Suitcase (www.extensis.com; $99.95). Suitcase from Extensis is a suite of programs from various vendors, including Extensis's Suitcase (for installing and deinstalling font sets), Insider Software's FontAgent (see below), and Dubl-Click Software's MenuFonts (for WYSIWYG Font menus that list fonts in their true typefaces).

DiamondSoft Font Reserve (www.diamondsoft.com; $89.95). The Cadillac of font managers, Font Reserve from DiamondSoft creates a database of the fonts you have on hand, allowing you to search your font library by design style, manufacturer, format, or any other number of criteria, including those you invent yourself. The program holds your fonts in a "vault," protecting the originals against corruption and using copies of the fonts when you need them. It fixes corrupted fonts before allowing them into the vault. The program also has excellent preview functions, which makes it as good for finding the typefaces you want as for managing the fonts that generate them.

Adobe Type Manager Deluxe (www.adobe.com; $65). ATM Deluxe from Adobe combines the type rendering capabilities of ATM with a solid font management program that allows you to build, install, and uninstall sets of fonts. Every time you start the program, it peruses your entire font library to make sure everything is A-OK: All printer fonts have screen fonts (and vice versa), no fonts are corrupted, no fonts have identical names, and so on. Adobe is not revising ATM for Mac OS X, but the tool will still work in Mac OS 9 and earlier and in Mac OS X's Classic environment.

Alsoft MasterJuggler Pro (www.alsoft.com; $39.98). This solid, basic font manager can also manage other System resources, such as sounds. It culls fonts it suspects are damaged and can round up and make copies of fonts you want to send to a service bureau along with files for typesetting.

Insider Software FontAgent (www.theinside.com; $69.95). FontAgent from Insider Software scours your entire hard disk looking for printer and screen fonts, uprooting duplicates, finding PostScript printer fonts that lack screen fonts (and screen fonts with no corresponding printer fonts), sorting screen fonts by family (and putting them in a single folder if you like), and finding and fixing corrupted screen fonts. It's a great housekeeping aid.

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