NexusFont is a freeware font-management program for windows (there’s also a version for iphone): http://www.xiles.net/nexusfont/
I have been using NexusFont for several months now, and it has made working with fonts so easy, it’s hard to believe this was once an issue.
Please note: I am not affiliated in any way with this software or company, I’m just a happy user.
Being a designer, you need to have lots of fonts available, so you can find just the right one for your design. And in order to have “just the right one” always, we tend to collect heaps of them. After many years of working with typefaces, and making all sorts of mistakes, I have some important advice:
Warning: This is a raving review of a terrific font management tool
1. Saving your original system Fonts folder:
Installing new fonts in the Fonts folder in your Windows system is a bad idea (really, really, really bad idea!).
Some time in the future you may need to revert to your original system fonts. If you install other fonts in this folder, it will be really hard to know which ones you can safely remove, and which are the original fonts, necessary for your computer to function properly. It’s a guessing game you don’t want to play, trust me on that.
Also, installing lots of fonts can really burden the computer’s memory, and everything will become slow and sluggish. Think about it, every time you open Word (or Photoshop, or Outlook, or even Notepad), the computer loads up all its fonts. So instead of loading about 50 of them, it could load hundreds, or even thousands.
So, what I do now, is copy the folder in its entirety and save the copy as backup for emergencies.
2. Using a font management tool:
Basically, a font management tool allows you to install/uninstall (or load/unload) fonts temporarily, just for the time you wish to use them. This way, you do not burden the system.
Surprisingly, it’s not easy to find a good font management program.
A look into NexusFont
Here you see the program’s main window. I add folders to the left pane, and the program lists all my fonts from these folders, plus showing me some other stuff I’ll get to soon enough.
I can type in whatever text I wish, choose my preferred font size and color, and even the background color. There’s also a character map, properties information and example text in various sizes, for a quick view.
In the past, when using other font-managers, I just used them to install and uninstall my fonts, then viewed and chose the one I want to use in the program I was working in (Photoshop, InDesign, Word etc.). Now I use NexusFont for the selection process as well. The lines are well spaced so it’s pleasant to view my fonts here, there’s an anti-aliasing option, to see the fonts smoothly, and the ability to adjust the preview with my own text and in the right color and size are all very convenient.
There are some more advanced features, which are not mandatory but can be very useful. First off, you can tag your fonts with any tag word you want. Then you can narrow your search by tag (or by combining several tags).
In the fonts list you can see the tags for each font weight on the right (marked with a yellow tag icon).
In the images above you can see my tags menu right above the fonts list. There’s an option to search for a tag. I tagged mine with descriptive words. Now I can narrow my search, to see only fonts that are relevant for my current purpose. In this example, I’m viewing only fonts tagged as Handwriting or Decorations.
I can further narrow my search. To the left of each font in the list, there’s a little white dot. Clicking it will select that font. I can view only my selected fonts (left-most button in the tags menu).
Loading/unloading – Folders and Sets
Loading and Unloading (or Activating and Deactivating) is what makes font managers so great in my opinion. In NexusFont, all the fonts & weights you see in the list are temporarily loaded for use.
There are several way to control which fonts (and weights) are loaded. You can narrow by tags as we’ve just seen, you can narrow by folder – simply by clicking a folder in the left pane, or you can use Sets.
Sets are simply collections you create, of any font and weight you wish.
Example: I like to keep my fonts in folders sorted by vendor. But say I know I’m looking for a handwriting font, I have several from Google and several from Fonts2U, so I can choose to load all my English fonts folders, but then all these fonts I don’t really need are loaded to the system. Alternatively, I can create a set for Handwriting fonts, add them all to it, regardless of what folder they originally sit in, and load up only this set.
I have a confession to make: While making this review I dug deeper into the options, and realized I’ve not maximized the Sets option. Since publishing this post, I started creating sets based on projects – collecting the different fonts and weights for use in a specific project and that proved extremely convenient.
I’ve made a few more screenshots, to show you all the options in the menus.
The bottom line
NexusFont is wonderful even for just viewing and choosing your fonts. But it can be a powerful tool for efficiency as well. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
There are quite a few other features I have not gone over. If I missed anything you’d like to know, or got something wrong, please let me know.
Update: I’ve created a guide for using NexusFont, with further details. Check it out here:
Before I bid you farewell, there’s a third piece of advice: