I’m happy to announce that today we launched a major revision to our single-user Windows font manager. Suitcase Fusion 2 is a very large leap forward in font management on Windows, and now has feature parity with its Macintosh counterpart.
“This is a truly huge leap in font management functionality, architecture, and user experience for Windows users,” said Thomas Phinney, Senior Product Manager Font Solutions at Extensis. “Suitcase Fusion 2 is the most modern, stable and reliable font manager available.”
Some of the new features in the Windows version of Suitcase Fusion 2 include:
- Unparalleled font previewing
- Highly configurable plug-in based auto-activation for the latest creative professional applications
- Modern technology
- Portable built-in font vault
- Font searching, tagging and classification options
- System font management
Suitcase Fusion 2 is based on Universal Type Server, which allow users to search, activate and browse fonts much faster than before. “To my delight, Fusion 2 has done a remarkable job in stability, speed and usability,” said James Dempsey, Macworld magazine.
This version includes plug-in based auto-activation for the latest professional creative applications: Adobe Illustrator® and InDesign® CS2, CS3 and CS4, as well as QuarkXPress® 7 and 8. The plug-ins utilize Font Sense technology to ensure that the right fonts are chosen for auto-activation.
The Windows version of Suitcase Fusion 2 is available immediately at an estimated retail price of US $99.95. Upgrade pricing for Suitcase for Windows versions 9 and 11, as well as for standalone Font Reserve 2.6 is available at an estimated retail price of US $49.98.
April 28th, 2009 by Jim Kidwell
We know that everyone likes to be introduced to software in different ways. Some like to install software and play with it themselves, while others prefer to see a product demonstration. A while back we started a series of online webcasts that show how our products can be used in a variety of installations. I’ve given a number of them on the Portfolio product line, and we’ve also had a number of very well attended webcasts for Suitcase Fusion 2 and Universal Type Server.
This next week, our product marketing manager, Cindy Valladares will be giving our next webcast about Server-based font management. If you’re interested in viewing the live webcast, here are the details:
What: Server-based workgroup font management with Universal Type Server
When: Tuesday, May 5th, 11:00 a.m. PST, 2:00 p.m. EST
Register: click here to register for the webcast.
If you won’t be able to attend, you can also view many of our past webcasts on-demand from the Extensis website. This webcast will also be available as a recording after it occurs.
February 23rd, 2009 by Jim Kidwell
Font 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.
February 2nd, 2009 by Jim Kidwell
When you’re in a high-speed production environment, you need to know that everyone has access to and is using the same, licensed fonts for their projects.
To meet this need you’ll need a centralized font repository that provides fonts to users when they need them. You can’t rely upon each person in the production process to obtain and install fonts required for the job.
Some font management solutions require users to manually synchronize their local fonts with a remote server, and give the user the option to reject changes to their local font collection. This type of solution is flawed in that it doesn’t automatically ensure that every user in a workgroup has exactly what they need to get the job done.
Other solutions allow users to “share” fonts with other machines. This type of system totally disregards the need for a centralized repository, and makes it very easy to violate the terms of your font license agreements (which could get you and your company into a lot of trouble). It becomes increasingly impossible for administrators to know who has which fonts, and continues to place the responsibility for staying up-to-date on each user in the production process. So, this type of solution is of little help.
A professional font manager allows users to seamlessly stay in sync with their workgroup, while also allowing users the flexibility to disconnect from the server and still activate and deactivate fonts.
With Universal Type Server, each user belongs to a workgroup, and has access to the same fonts as all other users in that workgroup. Based on each user’s specific needs, fonts are downloaded (replicated) to each user’s machine from the server when the user needs them. Font replication is configured for each user by a simple Font Replication Mode.
For users who need to have access to all fonts whenever and wherever they are at all times, the All replication mode is best. This mode downloads all fonts to which the user has access directly to the user’s machine. These fonts are then available whether the user is connected to the server or not. So, if the Art Director wants to browse through all of the company’s fonts while she’s visiting a client away from the font server, she can easily do so.
For users who might not have a large amount of hard disk space to store fonts, the On-Demand replication mode only downloads fonts as required. When the user previews, activates or collects fonts, the selected fonts are immediately downloaded to the client machine. When the fonts are no longer required, they are automatically removed and are not stored on the user’s machine. This mode has the added benefit of minimizing the impact on font licensing, since when the font is no longer on the user’s machine, it is no longer considered to be in use, and doesn’t consume a font license.
And finally, for users who may not need all fonts on their machine, but want to minimize network traffic, the On-Demand Local Cache mode first downloads fonts when they are requested, and then keeps a copy on the client machine from that point forward.
In addition to controlling what is stored on each user’s machine, with Universal Type Server you can also control when each user account synchronizes with the server – from almost instantaneously to very infrequently. Type Server only downloads changes to the workgroup, so if only a few fonts are added, the entire workgroup need not be downloaded again. This helps you control the impact that font synchronization has on network traffic, while keeping everyone in sync.
Clearly, having the flexibility to determine when and how fonts are replicated is a benefit beyond the simple user-determined copying of other font servers. For more information, and to learn more about Universal Type Server, download a free demo and try it out for 30 days.
Interested in Suitcase Fusion 2 and font management? Why not stop by one either the New York or Los Angeles Apple stores for a personal demo?
At 6:00 p.m. today we’ll have a demonstration in the New York Apple Store at 103 Prince Street in SOHO.
And, tomorrow in the Los Angeles area we’ll have a Suitcase Fusion demo in the Apple Store at 1248 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica.
Stop by and say hello, won’t you?
Our newest single-user font manager, Suitcase Fusion 2 was recently reviewed in the journal of all things Quark, X-ray magazine. It’s a fairly in-depth review that covers many of the new and improved features in Suitcase Fusion 2, including Floating Previews, Font Sense, the font auto-activation XTension, as well as the integration of Suitcase Fusion 2 into the design process.
So, if you’re still wondering if you should check out a demo of Suitcase Fusion 2, read this article and I’m sure that you’ll be convinced to give it a try.
Thanks to all of you who visited the Extensis booth and saw our numerous presentations at Create Chaos 2008 in Orlando two weeks ago. In case there were any sessions that you missed, the organizers have put up a number of the session hand-outs on the event site here.
In case you missed one of the Extensis-sponsored sessions, here are the handouts that were included in our sessions.
- Maintaining Control and Compliance in a Font Intensive Workflow session included our Case for Enterprise Font Management white paper (PDF).
- Our early morning Font Management Best Practices in Mac OS X session includes our Font Management Best Practices Guide (PDF).
- The Digital Asset Management Best Practices session included our Managing Your Creative Assets Best Practices Guide (PDF).
- The Suitcase Fusion 2 Preview session didn’t include any handouts, but covered all of the material that’s now included on the Suitcase Fusion 2 pages of our site. Be sure to check out the many videos, and download the product yourself to test it out yourself, free for 30 days.
Once again, thanks for visiting our booth, and we look forward to seeing you at a future event.
Shellie has been providing a weekly video wrap-up of everything creative for years now. Her weekly video-casts are an interesting way to see new products as well as find out about what’s going on in the creative, design and software world. This week’s video features the release of Suitcase Fusion 2 prominently! Check it out:
For more creative news, be sure to check back with Shellie every week.
Today we released the newest version of our single-user font manager for Mac OS X, Suitcase Fusion 2. This release contains a whole slew of new features that we’re sure that you’ll find helpful and fun to use.
The following are the most prominent new features in Suitcase Fusion 2.
- Built for Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard)
- Based on the Universal Type Client code base.
- The Suitcase Fusion Core™ keeps fonts active even when the Suitcase Fusion 2 is not running.
- Auto-activation plug-in installation is now a breeze with the Plug-in install options built into Suitcase Fusion 2.
- To ensure a trouble-free workflow, the auto-activation plug-ins contain new features, including the ability to create document sets as well as check document fonts.
- Selective global auto-activation allows you to select which applications to have Suitcase Fusion 2 automatically activate fonts.
- Updated auto-activation plug-ins now include an XTension for QuarkXPress 8 and plug-ins for Adobe InDesign and Illustrator CS4.
- Improved search options allow you to quickly locate fonts using very granular font information.
- Smart Sets dynamically filter and display fonts based on your own custom settings.
- Font libraries allow you to organize fonts the way that you want.
- A portable Font Vault allows you to quickly backup your entire font collection, easily switch to an entirely different database, and even move your Font Vault to another drive.
System font management
- Improved system font management features help you avoid font conflicts and other problems with system fonts.
- Easy identification helps you disable unnecessary fonts in your system folders.
- Enhanced font preview options, including automatic encoding detection for most Roman and non-Roman languages.
- Floating previews allow you to preview fonts as transparent document overlays.
- Easily customized previews allow you to quickly display preview text as you want it.
- Glyph View Window allows you to inspect the glyphs of a selected font and compare them to any other font in Suitcase Fusion 2.
Font corruption checking and repair
- Enhanced font corruption detection and repair.
For more info, check out the Extensis website:
Font management is about several things. The fun part is experimenting with your type. But the other part- the part behind the scenes- is the practical part: having the font you need- the RIGHT font you need- delivered for you.
Auto-activation plug-ins are the key to the operation. They work in the background to ‘call-up’ a precise font and activate it when you open a document in, say, Adobe InDesign CS4, or QuarkXPress 8. The plug-ins for Suitcase Fusion 2 are all-new (clearly- CS4 just come out…yesterday). But beyond the new compatibility, the auto-activation plug-ins have some really great productivity options built in to them:
- Create a ‘document set’ in Suitcase Fusion of all active faces in your document directly from within InDesign, Illustrator, or QuarkXPress
- ‘Pick best match’ – If you don’t have the exact font to auto-activate, Fusion 2 will find the best fit and activate it for you. Or you can do it manually- your choice.
- Activate the entire font family – Make all the other weights/styles in the family available for use.
- Activate only the single type face – if you prefer to only activate the precise faces used in your doc.