Every day, we talk to FontAgent users who have font collections of all sizes. Many users have tens of thousands of fonts, and there are some who have more than 100,000 fonts. So how many fonts is too many?
Perhaps some better questions to ask are:

  • Should I keep PostScript, TrueType and OpenType versions of the same font?
  • Should I import all my fonts into FontAgent?
  • Are all my fonts properly licensed?
  • How many duplicate fonts do I have?
  • If I have more than 50,000 fonts, should I consider going to therapy?

Should I manage PostScript, TrueType and OpenType versions of the same font?

You probably don’t need to manage every file format of your fonts. PostScript fonts fell out of favor more than a decade ago. Adobe converted its entire PostScript catalog to OpenType in 2002, and every major foundry started developing OpenType fonts by 2006.

TrueType fonts are actively supported by Microsoft, Apple and Unix operating systems. OpenType fonts are the newest file format and are portable across Mac and Windows, and in most cases contain TrueType font outlines anyway.

Confused? Here are some general rules to follow:

  • Check the integrity of the font files you keep by importing them into FontAgent.
  • Be sure you import all styles of a font (regular, italic, bold, etc.)
  • If you have OpenType versions of a font, import them. If you don’t have OpenType, import TrueType. If you only have PostScript versions, import them.
  • Don’t discard old font files; just put them in an archive folder in case someone sends you a document that requires them.

Should I import all my fonts into FontAgent?

A simple rule is that using fonts is easier when there are fewer fonts to sift through. By using FontAgent, you can:

  • Increase your productivity and streamline your workflow by simplifying font search, visualization, selection and activation
  • Simplify Font menus in applications by activating only fonts that are needed
  • Save system resources and increase system performance by reducing the number of active fonts

It makes sense, therefore, to initially import only those fonts that you really need into FontAgent. For example, if you have five different Helvetica font families from various foundries, import the one that is the most complete or that you like the most. But don’t worry; if you import duplicate fonts or fonts you don’t need, FontAgent has powerful sort and search capabilities that let you pinpoint and remove unneeded fonts quickly.

Are all my fonts properly licensed?

Fonts are software and are legally protected by the same copyright laws that protect application software. Using unlicensed fonts exposes you to potential legal action, so you should always be concerned about font licenses.

If you routinely add fonts to your collection without checking the terms of their licenses, you could easily have many unlicensed fonts. Use FontAgent’s right sidebar to inspect vendor and license information and then look on font vendor’s sites for licensing details. Be sure to check the license terms for “free” fonts as well. Those fonts often are free for personal use, but not for commercial use. Again, a quick visit to the vendor sites should provide the clarity you need.

How many duplicate fonts do I have?

The answer to this question depends on what you consider to be a duplicate font. In the strictest sense, fonts are duplicates if they are identical at the bit level, with the same file formats, outlines, version numbers and metadata. But use your best judgment when examining near-duplicates. Keep the versions that have the latest version numbers and most modern file formats, and archive the rest.

FontAgent detects duplicate files automatically so you don’t have to worry about font conflict issues that are common with other font managers.

If I have more than 50,000 fonts, should I consider going to therapy?

The medical profession has not identified font hoarding as an officially recognized mental disorder. But it is definitely a form of obsessive behavior and you should probably be sure your obsessive tendencies don’t carry over into the rest of your life. On a related note, it is generally accepted that if you have more than 20,000 fonts and do not use FontAgent that you should seek medical assistance.