When Adobe expanded its font-smoothing software Adobe Type Manager into ATM Deluxe in the mid-nineties, it introduced the concept of font management to the world of computers. This radically changed how users interact with their digital typefaces. Previously all fonts had to be installed into the system and were always active, available in any app. Font managers make it possible to activate fonts when needed, either separately or in handy sets, and deactivate them after you’re done. This speeds up your operating system and reduces the length of font menus, as only the ones you need are present. Font managers also allows previewing fonts, printing samples, scanning for duplicate fonts, resolving conflicts, and detecting missing screen or printer files for PostScript fonts.
Exactly one decade ago Linotype released the first version of FontExplorer. It was showered with praise, receiving unanimously glowing reviews. Since then the font manager has kept evolving and improving, and last week the latest version FontExplorer X Pro 5 was presented to the world. It introduces new features aimed at improving usability, compatibility and connectivity – each of which remove distractions from the creative workflow and keep designers doing what they do best: designing.
FontExplorer X Pro has always had an extensive feature set. The app has thrived by ensuring the most commonly used features are the most accessible. Version 5 helps customers go deeper within FontExplorer X Pro and get more from the app through a feature tour and stronger help resources. The tile view provides a new way to preview type that is a fun and practical alternative to the traditional line view type display. Visual enhancements in this latest release keep the app in concert with Mac OS X, providing users with an experience that is fresh, yet also familiar.
New usability features include:
- Welcome Tour The FontExplorer X Pro experience now starts with a welcome tour that provides an overview of the most important features and those that are new with version 5.
- Online Help New online help allows customers to access answers to common support questions at any time.
- Font Tile View Frequently requested by customers, the new Font Tile View provides font previews composed of limited character sets. These previews are particularly helpful for customers evaluating type based on one or two select characters (e.g. a designer looking for typefaces containing a capital A without a crossbar for a logo that needs a futuristic feel.) The larger, artistic showings also provide a fun, alternative way to browse type.
- State-of-the-art user interface FontExplorer X Pro 5 takes design queues from the appealing and minimalistic changes introduced by Apple with Mac OS X 10.10. New and clear icons, updated background colors, a reorganized toolbar, dark mode support and other changes throughout the app enhance FontExplorer X Pro 5’s usability and harmonize it with Mac OS X.
FontExplorer X Pro 5 supports the latest font standards and design applications to ensure coverage for the tools and resources designers use most.
New compatibility features include:
- Unicode® 7 Support Support for the Unicode 7 Standard which provides access to additional emoji characters as well as additional glyphs for written languages.
- WOFF 2 Support Support for version 2 of the Web Open Font Format (WOFF). WOFF 2 fonts can now be previewed and organized like any other font within FontExplorer X Pro 5. This is helpful for Web designers perusing their inventory of Web fonts for the right typeface for their next project.
- New Plug-Ins Updated plug-ins support auto-activation of fonts for the new QuarkXPress 2015 and the InDesign®, InCopy®, Illustrator® and Photoshop® applications. Auto-activation allows the application to activate a missing font when a document is opened. This saves the user the time of locating and activating the font file while allowing them to reduce the number of active fonts on their system.
- Cloud Fonts Adding to its previous ability to activate and deactivate fonts from Monotype’s SkyFonts™ solution, FontExplorer X Pro 5 can now do the same for fonts activated through the Adobe Typekit® desktop sync feature. This allows these “cloud fonts” to be previewed and organized. Additionally, users can deactivate these fonts (without uninstalling them) and easily reactivating them.
New connectivity allows users to go more places directly within FontExplorer X Pro. New font store integrations provide numerous font shopping options for customers that want to purchase and install type in FontExplorer X, thus preserving their creative workflow. Connection to the new FontExplorer X Server 2 product allows users to bring in the latest in font management functionality for design groups including features that enable collaboration and access control.
New connectivity features include:
- Store Integration Users can access the Fonts.com, Linotype.com, MyFonts.com, FontShop.com and Monotype Membership font stores directly within FontExplorer X Pro. Fonts can now be purchased from these stores, downloaded, installed and activated all without leaving FontExplorer X Pro, eliminating the break in workflow that occurs when customers need to exit the creative process to acquire type. Convenient controls allow font purchases to be automatically organized into sets or automatically activated if desired.
- FontExplorer X Server 2 connection FontExplorer X Pro 5 can connect to the new FontExplorer X Server 2 (available as a separate product) as a client. When connected to FontExplorer X Server 2, FontExplorer X Pro 5 users can enjoy the following new functionality:
· Single sign-on through support for the Kerberos™ authentication protocol
· Permissions controlled export of server fonts
· Hide stores, SkyFonts and Typekit fonts on a global, group or user basis
· Display server fonts in local sets
· Filter for deleted fonts in license view
· In-client notification of server updates
· Improved collect for output (packaging) with server fonts for InDesign and QuarkXPress
· Show detailed path for fonts in nested folders
· LDAP user counter in import list
FontExplorer X Pro 5 is available for the Mac® OS X platform from www.fontexplorer.com.