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.