FontExpert 2009 for Font Management

March 6, 2010

CorelDRAW X5 has now been on the market for a week and a half. For the most part, the new features have been popular with users. Yet there is one area where a weakness has been discovered and I’m going to explore the best solution to this problem in today’s post.

One of the utilities supplied with CorelDRAW for many versions now is Bitstream Font Navigator. When it was first added to CorelDRAW, it was the best font management tool available. Unfortunately it is of limited value to users on Windows 7 since the program has gotten minimal updates in the paste ten years. Let’s explore the reason it has gotten stale. It is Bitstream’s software, not Corel’s. Corel simply licenses it from Bitstream. Many years ago Bitstream decided to stop all development of Font Navigator. A few minor changes have been made at Corel’s bequest, but even these changes have left Font Navigator severely lacking in functionality. The biggest problem is that it cannot install any PostScript Type 1 fonts on Windows 7. I also had similar problems running Font Navigator on Windows Vista. That means the time has come for me to say: RIP Font Navigator.

Once users discover the flaws with Bitstream Font Navigator, they immediately ask if there is a good replacement. I’ve done some searching over the past few months and the best replacement I’ve found is FontExpert 2009. Rather than repeating information, I’m simply going to include a list of the key features supplied by the vendor.

***
  • View and Preview Fonts
    FontExpert 2009 displays the list of all installed typefaces and lets you explore folders and preview uninstalled fonts located on your compact disks or DVDs, local disks, removable disks or network drives. You can preview the font as a paragraph of text or as a detailed character map. It is easy to choose the desired font size, font style or color.
  • Assign Keywords, Ratings and Categories to Fonts
    Assign keywords, categories, ratings and captions in new Tags view.
  • Search in Database
    Search for fonts in the database by keywords, ratings and categories in new DB Search view.
  • Search for Fonts on Local Discs and Network Drives
    The program can search your local disks, CDs or DVDs, network drives for fonts, and put all fonts to a special list for your further work.
  • Search for Duplicates and Corrupted Fonts
    FontExpert automatically detects corrupted and incomplete fonts, and allows you to search for and manage duplicate fonts.
  • Manage Fonts
    It is easy to manage any typefaces that are shown in any view of the program. You can sort, filter, preview fonts, copy, move, delete font files, activate or deactivate fonts, add or link fonts to font groups (sets). The program can control fonts located in the Windows Fonts and Psfonts folder (used by Adobe Type Manager), so you do not need to remove fonts from standard folders as some font managers require.
  • Create Font Library
    FontExpert imports fonts and creates font library. You can keep your fonts organized in groups (sets), and activate or deactivate font sets. A group may include either the font file, or a link to a file located in any folder on your computer or network drive. It is easy to add fonts or links by drag-and-dropping from the Windows Explorer to the Groups view.
  • Print Fonts
    FontExpert 2009 can print selected fonts. It is easy to print character map, “water flow” or face name reports for selected fonts, either installed or uninstalled. You can customize and format page headers and footers as desired, for example, by adding the name of your company.
  • View Advanced Font Properties
    The program displays detailed information about the selected font, including type foundry or copyright, TrueType tables, number of kerning pairs in a font, Panose attributes, Windows font metrics and more.
  • Examine your System for Font Errors
    With the help of Detect Font Problems feature, it is easy to find errors in installed fonts and to optimize Windows by resolving typeface conflicts and by removing records about missing fonts.
  • Export Fonts to HTML Web Album
    FontExpert can create HTML Web Album from selected fonts. You can create GIF, JPG, PNG, TIFF, and BMP images of selected font faces. See the sample of HTML page created by FontExpert.
  • Automatic Activation of Missing Fonts
    FontExpert includes Missing Fonts Loader plug-in for Adobe InDesign CS2, CS3, and CS4.
  • Windows Shell Extensions
    The program adds Open, Print and Install Font custom menu commands to Windows Explorer context menu, and adds custom property page that displays detailed attributes of selected .ttf or .otf file. FontExpert adds font management capabilities to the shell so it is easy to activate or print any font in a folder you browse in Windows Explorer.
***

Look carefully at that list and you’ll see that FontExpert 2009 is a pretty impressive program. In my opinion it does everything that Bitstream Font Navigator can do and much more. Well, except for one feature and it has been the reason that I’ve always used Font Navigator. If you open a CorelDRAW file that is missing fonts, Font Navigator will install those fonts if they exist on your system. By my definition, that is a killer feature and it is one that is currently missing front FontExpert 2009.

You’ll notice that such a feature does exist for Adobe InDesign. So I asked the developers of FontExpert if something similar could be created for CorelDRAW. They are certainly interested in adding such a feature and I made sure they had contact information for the appropriate people at Corel. Don’t read more into my statement beyond what I said. There is no promise that they will be able to do this, it is simply something they would like to add.

Due to Bitstream Font Navigator not being able to fully function on Windows 7, I’ve moved to FontExpert 2009 even though it can’t automatically load missing fonts. My fingers are crossed that a solution can be developed for that all important feature. Even with the one missing feature, I think you’ll find FontExpert 2009 to be a great utility for keeping your fonts in order.

Post Discussion

13 Comments

  1. Pawel

    I’ve managed to get Bitstream Fontmanager to work fine in Windows 7 with Type 1 and all other fonts, it only needs a compatability tweak, but otherwise it’s does the job. I tried a couple of other fontmanagers including Font expert but it’s not as easy to use.

    Reply
  2. Foster D. Coburn III

    Pawel,

    Would you like the share the tweaks so that all of us can get BFN working in Windows 7?

    Reply
  3. Jim Felder

    Yes Pawel can you pleaes share your tweaks?

    Reply
  4. Ken W

    Does anyone have any idea if FontExpert 2009 might be able to be used with CorelDraw9 to allow use of Type 1 fonts on Windows 7?

    Reply
  5. Foster D. Coburn III

    Ken,

    FontExpert works great on Windows 7 and will manage TrueType, PostScript and OpenType fonts.

    The problem is that CorelDRAW 9 predates Windows 7 by ten years and it will not work properly on Windows 7. It isn’t an issue with fonts, it is that the software is too old for the operating system.

    Reply
  6. Ken W

    Foster, at this point CorelDraw 9 seems to be working well on Windows 7 Home Premium except for Type 1 font issues.

    All the problems I have observed are related to Type 1 Fonts.

    Do you think there is any chance FontExpert 2009 might allow CorelDraw 9 to access Type 1 fonts that have been stored in a directory other than the Windows Fonts directory?

    Reply
  7. Foster D. Coburn III

    Ken,

    You say that CorelDRAW 9 is working well on Windows 7, but doesn’t work with Type 1 fonts. That has absolutely nothing to do with a font manager. It tells me that CorelDRAW 9 is not working well on Windows 7.

    You have a choice. You can continue to use CorelDRAW 9, but you’ll need to go to an older operating system such as Windows XP. Or you can upgrade CorelDRAW to a newer version that was designed to be used on Windows 7. This may be the only problem you find now, but I can guarantee others will come up. This is just one of many reasons to upgrade.

    Reply
  8. Ken W

    Foster, I hate to be a pest, but I thought my Type 1 problems might have something to do with the fact that Windows 7 will not store the Type 1 .PFB files with the .PFM files in the Windows 7 Fonts directory.

    I was wondering if FontExpert might allow access to Fonts in another directory where both the .PFB and .PFM files are located, since, IMHO I theorize that might help the Draw 9 situation.

    Please excuse my questions, but I am a casual user of Draw and new to Windows 7, on a very new HP Laptop. My experience is that Draw 9 seems to be Rock Solid under Windows XP.

    My questions are based on posts I have seen, that seems to imply that even the newer versions of Draw are struggling with Type 1 Fonts on Windows 7.

    Are newer versions of Draw struggling with Type 1 Fonts, and does FontExpert 2009 provide a work-around for them?

    Thanks for your patience.

    Reply
  9. Foster D. Coburn III

    Ken,

    The problems you see with people complaining about Type 1 fonts and Windows 7 are not problems with CorelDRAW. They are problems with Bitstream Font Navigator. So for that issue, FontExpert provides a great solution.

    The problem you are having has nothing to do with font management, where the fonts are stored, etc. The problem is that you are trying to use software that won’t work properly on Windows 7.

    I will say it over and over again. CorelDRAW 9 is ten years old. It was not designed, nor is it supported on Windows 7. So if you want to use CorelDRAW on Windows 7, you really need to upgrade to CorelDRAW X5.

    I’m not trying to be harsh here, just giving you the reality of the situation.

    Reply
  10. Ken W

    Foster,
    Thanks for your patience.

    I guess that our short term answer will be to uninstall the Type 1 fonts on the Windows 7 Laptop, so that we will clearly be able to see the font issues in Draw files we work with on it.

    Eventually, an upgrade to a new version of Draw is the likely solution, but we want to delay that expense.

    I do want to correct some mis-information I posted earlier in this conversation. By using the command-line dir command, I was able to see that BOTH the PFM and PFB Files DO GET INSTALLED IN WindowsFonts by the GUI Font Install process. That fact destroyed my theory that missing PFB files were part of the Artistic Text Type 1 Font issues I was experiencing.

    Thanks for your assistance!

    Reply
  11. Anonymous

    I am using Corel Draw 4X, and now have a problem when I go to open files that opoened fine yesterday, are now missing certain fonts, even though the fonts are still in the fonts folder. These fonts open fine in Word Pad, but dont show up in Corel. You can see them in the preview window when you go to open the file, but on screen they dont appear, even in wire frame mode they are not there, but if you drag and select the blank area, it does say you have selected objects on muiltiple levels, but they are invisible???
    Any help would be great…

    Reply
  12. Foster D. Coburn III

    First, let’s get the product name correct. You have CorelDRAW X4 (not 4X). Often users also say “Corel” and that is the name of a company and not any product. The short answer is you most likely have WAY too many fonts installed and/or some of them have become corrupt. You may want to read another post at http://graphics-unleashed.unleash.com/2012/05/managing-your-fonts-can-speed-up.html talking about cleaning up your font list. Don’t worry that it mentions CorelDRAW X6, the problem is the same for all versions.

    Reply

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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