The X–Font Debacle — Solved:)
by ©2003
Main Site

Last updated 28June03 (2 days after my hack here).
System and/or font anomolies to date:
ZERO! No problems whatsoever (as of September 9, 2003).

Please BACKUP your HardDrive, System, Font Folders and Data BEFORE even thinking about hacking your Panther Jaguar System 10 fonts — the following workflow is for advanced Mac users only who REQUIRE critical font control.

Alon seems to have solved [my] X–font confusion.
Fonts and OS X, Alon said:

  1. User's private fonts:
    (Harddrive> User> Library> Fonts)
    • You can add and remove these as you wish.
    • You can clean this folder out entirely.

  2. Fonts available to everyone on the system in every program:
    (Harddrive> Library> Fonts)
    • You can add and remove these as you wish.
    • You can clean this folder out entirely.

  3. Network fonts:
    (Network Harddrives> font folders)
    • You can add and remove these as you wish.
    • You can clean this folder out entirely.

    (Harddrive> System> Library> Fonts)

  5. Classic fonts:
    (Mac OS9 System Folder> Fonts)
    • Same as the old days.

Alon referred us to Apple's: Mac OS X: Font Locations and Their Purposes (Doc# 106417).


HOWEVER, Ann Shelbourne and Gary Smith site Apple's Mac OS X Font Handling and Management: Technology Brief (Doc# 75494) that states (Harddrive> System> Library> Fonts) can be replaced.

Gary Smith added:

I've replaced the (Harddrive> System> Library> Fonts) dFont versions of Courier, Helvetica, Times, Symbol and Zapf Dingbats with the PostScript equivalents on five Macs so far. It's working great! Only about 30 to go!

Further, Apple's Using and Managing Fonts in Mac OS X seems to offer more pieces of the puzzle.

And, Apple's Mac OS X: Issues After System Fonts Removed or Relocated (Doc# 25486) may offer help to troubleshoot a bad hack.

Note: Some users have reported ERROR "Document # Not Found" on above Apple links.
In which case:
      1. Note/copy the Document Number there (off Apple's error page).
      2. Click on "Knowledge Archive" link there.
      3. Type/paste the Document Number there onto the Search Apple Support page.
      4. Click on the search icon.
      5. The desired Knowledge Base Article should hit the link on Search Results page.


There seems to be three major choices for font management utilities for 10x:

Having tried Suitcase and Font Reserve, I prefer Suitcase for its simplistic interface.
Plus, Suitcase hasn't crashed yet, Font Reserve 3.1.1 Unexpectedly Quit on my workstation on a regular basis.

Of course, when Panther's (OS 10.3) FONT releases, things may change again....


Ann Shelbourne offers some sage font troubleshooting advice:

  • Have you cleaned out your AdobeFnt.lst files recently?
    Do a Search for "adobefnt" and delete all that you find — except for "AdobeFnt.db".
    (Don't worry, they will re-create themselves as needed).
  • Navarro Parker adds: Try running DeepSix, which was made specifically to remove AdobeFnt files.
  • Have you ruled out conflicts between System fonts and your other fonts?
  • Have you ran Cocktail?


I think I just nailed fonts under X.2.6.
Here's my own experience:

HD> System> Fonts folder:

I replaced Courier, Helvetica, Impact, Symbol, Times, ZapfDingbats dFonts with Adobe T1 fonts.

All other X-font folders have been purged leaving zero fonts there.
This gives me "System-only" fonts activated (sound familiar?).

Extensis Suitcase 10.2.2:

With only the System fonts activated:

• I open "Auto-Activated Fonts" preview window.

• I open each application and note what fonts Auto Activate.


• Word requires 11 additional fonts to load and lags until it activates all 11 fonts.
(I create a New Set and drag those 11 fonts to it).

• Explorer requires 6 additional fonts and lags until it activates all 6 fonts.
(I create another new set).

I permanently activate those two sets so I can open Word and Explorer without lags.

No other applications Auto Activated any non–System fonts when merely opening each application.
Some applications Auto Activated fonts when opening documents that contained de–activated fonts.
Missing and Duplicate warnings work as expected.


This is providing [me] a clear window into HOW my fonts are working under 10.2.


Thanks again to everyone who helped me get this, especially Alon, Ann and Gary.


G. Ballard,, is not in any way supported by or associated with Adobe Systems, Inc., Apple Computer, Inc. or any other company or author referenced on; unless specifically noted as a G. Ballard company.

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by: ©2003 G. BALLARD •
Note: G. BALLARD prefers a shredding if he is wrong or unclear.

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