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In the fast paced world of design, keeping your design tools current and compatible is important. That’s why our powerful single-user font manager Suitcase Fusion 3 is now fully compatible with the most current design applications in Adobe CS5.

Whether you spend all of your time laying out projects in InDesign, or creating custom drawings in Illustrator, Suitcase Fusion 3 will automatically activate fonts for your documents using a new set of plug-ins for CS5 applications.

Using Font Sense technology, the plug-ins accurately identify the exact font required for a document. This can be critical in workflows where accurate character spacing is very important to prevent text container overflow, and costly document reprints.

To take Suitcase Fusion 3 and the new plug-ins for a spin, download a free trial of Suitcase Fusion from the Extensis website.

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News is starting to trickle out about what fonts will be included with Adboce CS5.

There are a a few new font families:

  • Adobe Arabic (4 fonts)
  • Adobe Hebrew (4 fonts)
  • Adobe Fan Heiti Std (1 font, “Bold” weight)
  • Adobe Gothic Std (1 font, “Bold” weight)
  • Ryo Display PlusN (5 fonts)
  • Kozuka Gothic Pr6N (6 fonts)
  • Kozuka Mincho Pr6N (6 fonts)

Nicole Minoza recently described all of the new addtions, removals and how fonts will be packaged with each version of the CS5 package over at Typblography.

For complete details about all of the fonts that will be installed with each flavor or CS5, see this matrix.

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ten years of Adobe InDesign

It’s hard to believe that Adobe InDesign has been around for 10 years now. Born from the kernels of Aldus Pagemaker, InDesign has grown up to be a standard publishing application that designers around the world rely upon.

In celebration, Adobe has released a free PDF e-book that chronicles the first 10 years. As expected, the book is well-designed and written. Download your free copy from

We continue to develop font auto-activation plug-ins that work with InDesign for both our Suitcase Fusion 2 and Universal Type Server product lines. Download trial versions of either of these products from the Extensis website.

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I just became aware of what a momentous day this is- the 20th birthday of Adobe Photoshop- and decided the day could not go by unrecognized. After all, were it not for Photoshop it is very likely Extensis as a company would never have come to be. Our initial software offerings 15 years ago were plug-ins for Photoshop and QuarkXPress (PhotoTools and QX-Tools ring any bells?).

We are a very different company today, and yet we still build products for people who use Photoshop and Adobe apps everyday. So from all of us here at Extensis- a big “Happy Birthday to you”.

20-year-old Photoshop 1.0 box

20-year-old Photoshop 1.0 box

BTW- yes, this is a box shot from our archive. Located via Extensis Portfolio. So, I have to ask- how quickly could YOU find a 20-year-old image?

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Floating Previews in Universal Type ClientIf you are based in the Manchester or Belfast areas and are interested in learning more about font management, we’ll be hosting a font management best practices session at the Adobe® Creative Suite® 4 Roadshows, taking place in both cities over the next couple of weeks:

We hope to see you there.

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Suitcase Fusion 2 for WindowsI’m excited to see Suitcase Fusion 2 for Windows come out as the second new Extensis font management product since I joined the company back in April. After all, it was almost two years ago that I wrote about how and why “Windows font management has sucked” for my Adobe blog.

The main thing is that finally, the Windows version of Extensis’ flagship font management application has parity with the Mac version. That’s huge, and the list of features is as long as your arm. The one feature I still can’t get over is the tear-off previews (check it out here, or see the Quicktime version).

Now, if you want to get picky, there are a tiny handful of differences between the Mac and Windows versions of the application, mostly related to differences between the operating system capabilities themselves. There are a couple of things the Mac version has which are lacking on the Windows version (export fonts by dragging to the desktop, and instantly activate with over-rides by dragging fonts onto the Dock icon), and there are a couple of things the Windows version has that the Mac version does not yet have (auto-activation plug-ins for CS2 apps in addition to CS3 and 4, recognizes and previews .TTC fonts in the system fonts folder). But it really is the same application for two different platforms, with general overall feature parity.

I’ve occasionally heard complaints about the stability/reliability of (older versions of) Suitcase. I’ll say right now that I take quality very seriously, and I am not going to ship a product I expect to be embarrassed by. I feel very lucky in that the underlying code for the Suitcase Fusion 2 products is shared with the Universal Type Server product line. This code was written from scratch a couple of years ago, to be stable and scalable enough for a client/server environment. Now we’ve had two versions of Universal Type Server out the door, so that code is fairly mature… without being antique.

In other news, with Windows 7 just around the corner, you might be wondering what the chances are that the app will run properly on Windows 7? After all, font management hooks into the operating system at a pretty low level, and there is new font-related functionality in Windows 7.

Well, since Windows 7 isn’t shipping to end users yet, we don’t list it as a supported operating system. But we (okay, actually Clint—thanks, man!) did a lot of testing on Windows 7, including on the version that went GM and is supposed to ship. We did just as much testing on Windows 7 as on Vista, in fact! We didn’t find any issues specific to Windows 7 that were left un-fixed, either. So unless something quite surprising happens, we’ll add “Windows 7” to the list of supporting operating systems when it ships.

Anyway, I’ve been running Suitcase Fusion 2 for Windows on a day-to-day basis for weeks now on my laptop, and I’m very happy with it. I hope you enjoy it, too. You can try out the Windows or Mac version for free for up to 30 days, so why not give it a whirl?

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I recently got an email from a Suitcase Fusion 2 user who was having problems with fonts in PDF files when opened in Adobe Reader.

If the font is embedded into the PDF, then you shouldn’t need to activate it for use, Acrobat should take care of that for you.

On the other hand, if the PDF requires a font that is not embedded, using the Global Auto-activation feature in Suitcase Fusion 2 can help you quickly activate the necessary font. Using the global auto-activation feature, when an application needs a specific font, it asks for the font, as long as the font has been added to Suitcase Fusion 2, the font is immediately activated.

To add an application to the Global Auto-activation list:

  1. Choose Suitcase Fusion 2 > Preferences
  2. Enable the Auto-activate fonts for the following applications option
  3. Click the Add (+) button
  4. Navigate to the application and click Open
  5. Click OK to apply your new preferences.

Suitcase Fusion 2 global auto-activation preferences

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Extensis Font SenseFont auto-activation is the holy grail of font management. When it works properly, when any document is opened, the precise fonts used in that document’s creation are activated. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

There are many ways that font management companies like Extensis have been implementing auto-activation over the years. Automatic activation can depend heavily upon the operating system, or be controlled by external plug-ins that must be written for each design application.

In the case of Mac OS X, global auto-activation is controlled deeply by the operating system. If implemented properly by the software developer, an application can send a request to the font manager to activate a font. This is called global auto-activation. Typically the applications request fonts by the PostScript name. This works well if you only have one version of a font. But if you have multiple versions, such as a TrueType, PostScript and dFont versions, they may all have the same PostScript name. Thus, you may inadvertently get a different version than the font originally used in the document.

Plug-in activation can work in much the same way, but the font activation requests are sent directly from the plug-in to the font manager. Depending upon how the plug-in was developed, you may or may not get any better activation results than with global auto activation. If you use a non-professional font manager, you can never be sure how the plug-ins were developed.

With Extensis plug-ins, we have integrated a font matching technology called Font Sense. Through this technology, we are able to accurately identify a specific font, not only through its type, but also through its kerning metrics and other characteristics unique to each font. Think of Font Sense like a fingerprint for your fonts. When the plug-ins for Suitcase Fusion 2 or Universal Type Server make a font activation request, you can be sure that the correct font is always activated. We currently have plug-ins for the most commonly used design applications, including Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and QuarkXPress.

As an additional precaution to prevent inadvertent activation, we also integrated a new feature in Suitcase Fusion 2 that gives you the ability to limit which applications are able to globally request font activation. Basically, you create a list of applications that you consider OK to automatically activate fonts. So, while you’re working on an Adobe InDesign document, if you open another document in Microsoft Word, you can be sure that Word isn’t able to activate fonts that may conflict with those you’re currently using with your InDesign document.

So, if you haven’t tried plug-in based font auto-activation, I highly recommend that you download a demo of any of our font managers and check it out for yourself.

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Designer Jacob Nyland has spent some time playing around with type in Adobe Illustrator and I like the results.

Most of his type experimentations haven’t been fully fleshed out into fonts that you can use on your computer, so it will be a bit more difficult to use them. Yet, since most of them are display faces and look better when used at a very large size, you will likely want to cut, paste and kern each glyph yourself anyway.

Download the source Illustrator files from the Just My Type website.

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I spent my Wednesday in Seattle, and not just in Seattle but at the Adobe Campus in Seattle (which is just down the hill from the Fremont Troll). I was at the InDesign Master Class, a conference all about InDesign. I gave a talk about font management in the morning and a talk about asset management in the afternoon, and even got to give away a few Starbucks cards. (Well it WAS Seattle after all!)

I did get a chance to attend a session as well: Thomas Phinney spoke about interesting things you can do with type, and not just make neat things. It was GREAT! There are additional bits of information you can find (it was the InDesign Master Class session so we saw it in InDesign) in the info palette for type. Plus he showed us a few interesting things from Amy Papaelias who has done some fascinating experimenting with type and particularly glyphs and arranging them. If you click enter on that last link over on the right, it will take you to a page of examples of what I mean. One of them might be a bit NSFW since it encourages you to type bad words which automatically get substituted for other things (h-e-double-hockey-sticks turns into heck, for example) and it’s really interesting to see the sorts of things you can really push type to do. If you had told my on my first day as an Extensis employee that I would be excited to attend a talk that included the phrase “discretionary ligatures” I probably would have laughed and then asked you what language you were speaking. Now I am all kinds of interested!

If you ever get a chance to hear Thomas speak, you should absolutely not pass it up. He has some interesting things to say and as a type designer himself he has unique insight into what he’s talking about-plus it’s fun to hear someone say “We need a font for this, let’s use one of mine!” I give talks on keeping your fonts or your assets under control, Thomas will help you find ways to set them free.

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