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September 29, 1997

Shareware makes font management simple for Windows 95

If you use Windows TrueType fonts (and who among us doesn't?), the time eventually will come when you will want to use a font other than Times Roman and Arial. And when that time comes, you will want to look at your potential typefaces with something more powerful than the plain-text list of font names that pulls down in most Windows applications.

I recently needed to work with several hundred TrueType fonts for a project. I can now share some nifty tools to handle many font-management issues you might run into.

There are dozens of freeware and shareware programs that will merely catalog and print the TrueType fonts that are installed in your Windows\Fonts folder. The tricky part is to find programs that will do the same thing for fonts you haven't installed into Windows yet.

A good program should be able to catalog fonts that are located somewhere on your hard drive, on a network drive, or on a CD-ROM. It's much more convenient to keep collections of fonts in a separate location and install them into Windows only as needed. For one thing, scrolling through a drop-down box containing the names of hundreds of typefaces is my least favorite way to choose one for use in a document.

I evaluated four shareware font-management packages for this task:

FontFinder from Maverick Land & Cattle Co.,;

FontFinder 32 (no relation to the previous program) from Sunshine Software,;

Printer's Apprentice from Lose Your Mind Development, (This program also requires Visual Basic 4.0 run-time files, available from; and

TTFPlus from Watermark Software,

The winner, in my opinion, is a venerable standard: Printer's Apprentice. It's easily worth the $25 registration fee requested, and you get a 15-day free trial period.

When you're ready to move beyond Times Roman and Arial, one of the best bargains in truly professional fonts is the Bitstream 500 Font CD for Windows. This collection is exactly what it sounds like: 500 different typefaces, most of them useful for normal business correspondence (as opposed to novelty headline typefaces), in both TrueType and PostScript formats. The CD lists for a price of $49.95. Contact Bitstream at (800) 522-3668 or (617) 497-6222.

One of the slickest places to download many good freeware and shareware fonts is a Web site managed by the Freedom High Tech Fonts Centre. Here, you can preview and download fonts by many experienced and avant-garde designers. The site also links to the free Microsoft fonts I wrote about in my April 7 column: Verdana, Georgia, and other high-readability fonts now used in many Web pages. (See "Fine, free fonts and other treats are there for the taking," page 32.) The Fonts Centre site is at

If you really want to go nuts with free fonts, you can keep yourself busy for a long, long while by perusing the sites listed at This is Yahoo's index of Web sites with downloadable fonts or links to fonts. Have fun.

Brian Livingston is the co-author of several best-selling Windows books, including the most recent Windows 95 Secrets (IDG Books). Send comments to Unfortunately, he cannot answer individual questions.

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