I recently heard from a longtime reader about fonts. It is certainly a topic we’ve discussed on many occasions and overall they have their font library in good control. I’ll include their message to many first and then my answer. Note that I’ve made very minor edits to their message to clean up the formatting.

I recall reading somewhere that after 400 fonts are installed (into the Windows/Fonts folder), we tend to see a significant drop off in system performance.
Does that # include those fonts that are installed as shortcuts (the actual fonts reside elsewhere)?

If we run Bitstream Font Navigator (again or periodically, i.e. the second pass to the Master Folder for our Company “moved”) to Find Fonts, is it best to, first, delete our previous or “old font catalog”? Even if we only have / have had, only one version of CorelDRAW on our computer system?

Recently, we have had issues w/ CorelDRAW users needing our IT Dept. to clean out or edit their “registry” of old paths to fonts … due to Windows locking up / CorelDRAW crashing … (too many fonts installed) and I wondered whether the “old shortcuts” need to be deleted out of the Control Panel (Windows) Fonts folder or if it could be something else (that we may be doing, incorrectly)!

The “400 fonts” limit goes back many versions of Windows. There is no hard limit in the last few releases of Windows (definitely Windows 7 and higher) though each font does use resources. I probably have around 1000 installed on my desktop computer with no issues. It is always a good idea to have a smaller number installed. It is certainly better to have fonts installed as shortcuts, but they still use resources.

Having references to fonts that don’t exist is problematic. If they are “uninstalled” it should take out the bad reference and they wouldn’t work anyways so hopefully that solves it.

I run Bitstream Font Navigator on first install (or after deleting catalog) three times. First pass, I only point at Windows / Fonts folder. Second pass I point at only the master folder where I store all fonts. Third pass (optional) I point at a drive letter to catch any other fonts that aren’t stored in the main folders.

Unless there is a bad font (could have always been bad or file could have gotten corrupt), it shouldn’t cause Windows or CorelDRAW to crash. It can be difficult to find a corrupt font file so you can simply try uninstalling blocks of fonts to find when the problem goes away. After enough tests, you can narrow it down to the bad font.

For those who want more information on font management, I highly recommend you get a copy of the Fonts, Font Management, Typography and OpenType Success Kit. Not only do you get detailed information on using and managing fonts, you’ll also get 500 fonts!

Photo credit: nima hatami

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