Font Pharos (1998) Column Text

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Font and typography related text, extracted from the various 1998 issues of "Woody's Office Watch", may be found below. The Font Pharos Reference page, linked above, may be used to more precisely locate matters of comment contained within the material below. Material produced for the column in 1999 may be found at Font Pharos column text for 1999.


17 June 1998 Vol 3 No 25

We're obliged to the WOWsers who've been keeping us informed on matters arising from the introduction of an important new currency symbol - the Euro. As part of economic rationalization in the European Community, a new currency has been created called the Euro. At the moment, this new currency is only a tradable commodity but in the years to come it will become legal tender (with notes and coins) in many European countries.
There's a need to enter the new Euro symbol, which is not supported by the current fonts and codepages in Windows 95 and NT 4. Microsoft has now released updates for Windows 95 and NT4 that will give you new fonts and code settings to handle the new symbol. You can get these from (for Windows 95) or (for Windows NT 4).
Note that if you have already downloaded the replacement fonts that include the Euro symbol - you must remove those fonts before installing the above updates (which include the correct fonts). Windows 3.x users will need to find a third-party solution to meet their Euro symbol needs - Microsoft says they'll not supply an update. Windows CE 2.1 and above support the Euro symbol.Windows 98 and the long awaited NT 5 already include Euro symbol support - so no extra action is required to update the operating system. All Microsoft Office 97 users will need to update the Tahoma font - get the new font from (you'll need to be registered on the MS Office web site to get this file).
Comic Sans is a popular font - especially for web pages. A new version of both the Comic Sans and Monotype fonts is available from -- where you'll find other interesting free fonts from Microsoft.
Other Euro symbol related questions are answered at which has links to other related sites.
And if you just can't get enough of the Euro font, check out where you'll find EuroMatch from Match Fonts. A font with the Euro symbol in various styles and weights.

23 June 1998 Vol 3 No 26

One of the extended WOPR Team is Peter McDonell - he does WOPR support in Australia. Peter is also an enthusiast for collecting, managing and making fonts. He's kindly given us this tip on a nifty little utility and hope he'll be encouraged by your response to make regular contributions to WOW on fonts.

"Now which typefaces (or fonts) must I have loaded to see my latest masterpiece (news letter, brochure or whatever) in all of its originally created glory?

I try to avoid having more than a couple of hundred fonts active at any given time and achieve this through the use of Ares Fontminder - a program since purchased, and I believe killed off, by Adobe - but that's another story. The trouble is, clearing fonts from the active list will probably leave my document displaying chunks of Courier which plays havoc with my nice three column layout! In the past I had to cursor around the odd pieces of text in the document trying to display the names of the now absent fonts - then find and re-load them until all was back to normal.

No more. Raymond Mercier from Cambridge in the UK has produced a great little utility called Fontlist (now version 2.51) I had not run across until a recent survey of files associated with the Compuserve Word forum.

In Raymond's own words it is an independent Windows program which runs on Win 95 or Win NT and it applies to Word for Windows documents, Version 7 or 8 (Word 97), with the extension *.doc; Word template files, with the extension *.dot; and WordPad files, with the extension *.wri.

It is designed to produce for a document: 1) a list of the names of all the fonts together with those characteristics of the font that are included in the file; 2) a list of the names of fonts which were embedded in the document, that is fonts that are embedded according to the Word menu "Tools-Options-Save-Embed TrueType Fonts"; and 3) in the case of version 7, the embedded fonts may also be downloaded to the hard disk using a file name assigned by the user.

If a font is not embedded and is not available on your computer, FontList will tell you which font has been used as a substitute. I can open Fontlist, drop my file in question into it, and like magic there appears a list to ensure I have all fonts loaded for proper viewing of the aforesaid masterpiece.This is great for the various mysterious documents that are sent to me with a bewildering array of fonts - Fontlist lets me see what I'm dealing with. The Find and Replace commands in Word will let me find or permanently substitute fonts in a document.

FontList v2.51 is only out in the last few days. We've not been advised of a 'official' web site, so you can download the file from us at FontList is free, but if you use and like the program I'm sure the author would appreciate a 'Thank You' note to his email address. "

If you'd like to have Peter as a regular fonts correspondant in WOW, write to and we'll pass your thoughts along to him.We hope that a public outcry will encourage him to share his vast knowledge of the 'font impaired' regularly.

1 July 1998 Vol 3 No 27

After last weeks font section from Peter McDonell, the populi well and truly vox'd <g>. Peter has relented to the wish of readers and will contribute a regular column on font and typography matters. This is especially gratifying since Peter (like all other WOW contributors) does this work for free.

Pharos means lighthouse - guiding light- one of the seven wonders of the world - see the Oxford Dictionary at or All your messages of encouragement, questions etc have been
passed onto Peter McDonell. As befits his new position as a WOW columnist, he has a special email address for your future questions.

Shedding some light on the mysterious world of fonts. Comments or questions? Seek out Peter McDonell, 'The Font Pharos' direct

Many thanks for the messages asking for more on the subject of fonts and typefaces. Perhaps I can start by answering a few of the specific queries.

How do I learn more about fonts?

Surprise, surprise but there is a lot of good material on the Microsoft Typography site at Monotype have a Fonts 101 page at

What fonts should be left in the Windows/Fonts directory (whoops, I mean folder)?

Personally I hate cluttering up the Windows\Fonts directory with fonts (!?!) but will always leave the basics in that directory, and load others from a \fonts\<various sorts> set of directories elsewhere, using a font management utility - and more on that subject later. The basics as I see it are marlett.ttf (do NOT move from Windows\Fonts, as this is a key system font), Arial, Times New Roman, Courier, Wingdings and probably Verdana or any others you have set up as your default browser fonts. Don't delete Tahoma.ttf as this is a form of system font for the Office utilities. Most Microsoft products when loaded will dump fonts into the Windows\Fonts folder whether you like it or not. Checkout for all the current and updated (Euro currency symbols etc.) freebies. As self installing executable files it is simple to put them in their place!

8 July 1998 Vol 3 No 28

A number of questions have come up on the subject of managing fonts.

Over the years I have looked at a number of utilities and my present font management (for both TrueType and Type 1 fonts) is handled by Ares Fontminder v 3.05. I guess this is in part through inertia as I have purchased registered copies of a number of other later utilities to handle a similar function. Fontminder was sold to Adobe some time back and is not now supported, as far as I know, although my lurking on the Compuserve DTP Forum indicates there are a lot of fontaholics still using it. I carried Fontminder across from my DOS\Win3.1x time and is still works well in Windows 95.

What then are the alternatives? Given that most users would like to load and unload fonts without the unload process actually deleting the font from the hard drive, we look for something which will load our chosen fonts from elsewhere on our hard drive, without actually copying them to the windows\fonts directory. It is also nice to be able to load a group of fonts, perhaps identified as a set for a particular project, in one go.

Bitstream have a product called Font Navigator (now v 3.0.1) which looks quite like Fontminder, not surprising as I understand it was developed for Bitstream, after the Adobe/Ares takeover, by the people who originally developed Fontminder. See it at Maybe I should also start using this!

In addition to the Bitstream font manager the latest version of Adobe Type Manager (Adobe Type Manager Deluxe v 4.0) has its own approach to building font sets, including both TrueType and Type 1 fonts. You will need a version of ATM active on your system if you use Type 1 fonts, even if you don't use the font management capabilities of ATM 4.0. Personally I haven't found the ATM Deluxe font management capabilities as user friendly as Fontminder or Font Navigator. Check out ATM Deluxe at

I will touch on the subject of utilities for pre-viewing fonts, both TrueType and Type 1, before they are actually loaded in Windows, in one of my next articles.

In my first column I mentioned Fontlist - a free utility to display the fonts used in a document. Since this program does not have a home on the web, Eileen Wharmby kindly made it available from the WOPR web site. But neither myself, Woody or Peter are the makers of the program and all support questions should be directed to the maker, Raymond Mercier (see Fontlist docs for contact details)

One WOW reader found a problem in the setup and Mr Mercier was very quick to release a fix. The latest release, FontList v2.52 is available from the 'Essential Software Updates' page

15 July 1998 Vol 3 No 29

My earlier remarks about marlett.ttf (the Windows 95/98 system font) have raised a couple of queries. I have been told it can't be found (viewed) in the Windows\Fonts folder. Even though I have "show all files" turned on in Windows Explorer, and I have unchecked the "Hide registered file extensions etc", I can't see it either. But if you search on the Windows\Fonts folder, looking for marlett.ttf, it will appear, and its properties show that it is marked as a hidden file. Curiously a file search for marlett.ttf which starts at either "My Computer" or even the C:\ Drive also fails to find it. Now how do they do that? It makes you wonder what other files are so well hidden that you can't find them unless you know precisely which folder to look in. I might add that this behaviour seems limited to Windows 95 (maybe even my Windows 95 PC - running 4.00.950 B) for I can readily see the file in the Windows\Fonts folder in my Windows 98 machine. Is this an appropriate time to say "Go figger"?

Talking about things that are hard to see - this leads me to mention the use of dingbat or wingding type symbol fonts. We have all seen them used to produce everything from smiley faces to celebrity pictures, but how do you match a character within such a font to your keyboard? Or even how do you find the character image you want within the typeface itself? The obvious utility to use is Windows Character Map - you did load it didn't you? (Check in Programs\Accessories) Trouble is, this utility is limited in its character viewing size, even when you hover over a character and hold your mouse button down to get an enlargement. There's a nice piece of Freeware called Symbol Selector (v 1.5) to be found at The RKS Software Store, go to This utility will allow you to enlarge the size of characters being viewed, will show the keyboard stroke required or allow you to copy/paste the character into your word processor, and as a bonus it will also allow you to save the character to the clipboard as a windows metafile. When pasted this can be treated as a picture; re-sized, moved about, cropped etc. Pretty neat!

Oh, by the way, if you are dingbat deprived there are more than enough symbol fonts for most needs to be found at The Dingbat Pages Isn't it amazing what some font creators have done with the dingbat concept?

22 July 1998 Vol 3 No 30

Sometimes the obvious can be overlooked, so apologies to those to whom the following is not news. The Office 97 CD does contain, in the Valupack folder, reference to the additional fonts provided by Microsoft on that CD-ROM. Go to the Valupack folder and double-click on the Valupk8.hlp file to reveal all the extra goodies, including instructions on accessing and loading some 151 extra fonts to be found in the Valupack\Msfonts folder.

While I'm on the subject of "extra" fonts, this section is for those of you who feel deprived if you have less than a thousand or so typefaces to choose from. A quick check of my own system reveals about 2,200 fonts with about a 2/3 to 1/3 weighting in favour of TrueType over Type 1. That's just how it falls and doesn't suggest that TrueType are actually better than Type 1 (a good subject for a future column, given the way this can become an emotional issue). I suppose I have, over the years, culled the typefaces I have from at least five or six times that many, and I'm sure I have retained many that are simply dross and haven't been eliminated through inertia.

The long and rambling point is how few and far between are fonts created with originality and flair. Look-alikes to those "original" typefaces, only available by purchase, are many - but I encourage you to consider shelling out the few dollars asked by those creative souls who enrich the field by producing fonts you haven't seen before.

Aside from the main Adobe collection, viewable at keep an eye on the Adobe specials each month at

Recently I purchased both Adobe Minion and Adobe Jenson on special, where otherwise I may not have been tempted. Todd Dever's Cool Fonts on Line is well worth a visit. I have used "Freak" a few times on weird invitations. Todd includes, buried under the "More" button, a few words of advice to those of you who feel the urge to create your own fonts. Another of my favourites is "Treefrog", a novelty face to be found at Brian Willson's Type Quarry (Three Islands Press) Picture it's use in a descriptive dinner party menu. It works well. And, off topic, don't miss Brian's Bird Report and Moon Page.

Finally a location with a wealth of reading - Daniel Will-Harris's Typofile at Daniel has Choice Faces from 1997, new faces for 1998, a system to find the most appropriate typeface for your job, and lots more.

29 July 1998 Vol 3 No 31

First some clarification on an earlier article. I mentioned that I have over 2,000 (carefully selected <g>) fonts on my system. Some readers have assumed that I had all these fonts actually loaded and ready for use. Not so - I rarely if ever have more than 300 fonts active at any one time, hence my earlier comments about using a font manager. I don't know what is the critical number of fonts before your system falls in a heap, and candidly I haven't the time or the inclination to keep loading font upon font just to find out. I've heard comments that 1,000 is OK and I've hard that 700 or so can bring your system down. If anyone wishes they can email me with the number of fonts they have succeeded in loading before their system went tatas and I may mention it in a future column - but I'd also be interested to know why it's important to have 700 or 1,000 fonts loaded <g>. Oh, and another resource for the font deprived may be found at the Scriptorium. Go to I have purchased a number of their fonts over the years and note that Dave Nalle and his team have done a lot to upgrade this site over the last year.

Now for something old, something new (at least to me)...

One of my oldest font utilities is Printers Apprentice (currently version 6.54 with a beta in future development). Go to I first registered, and wrote an article, mentioning this utility, in 1993 and it has been good to see it mature over the intervening years. I have used PA in the past to print and catalogue my fonts, assist me to identify fonts to be trashed, and to view and print uninstalled TrueType faces. PA also includes the ability to print keyboard layouts for dingbat fonts, showing the ANSI extended character set for characters not accessible from the normal keyboard keys. Bryan Kinkel is at present hard at work on the beta of version 7.0 which, amongst other things, further improves the user friendliness of the screen layout. It also introduces a function enabling the loading and unloading of TrueType font groups.

My newest font utility discovery is called Typograf and may be found at It's not often I register a utility as quickly as I have with this product. Go look for yourselves, it has too much for me to go into detail. Everything you wanted to know about your fonts, installed or uninstalled, TrueType or Type 1. And that last point is the point. I know of very few utilities which can be used to view and print Type 1 fonts before they have been installed, but this product seems to do it very well. The only other utilities I am aware of to have this functionality are Phillip Crews' ThumbsPlus (now version 3.30) at , which is really an excellent graphics viewer/utility as well, MyFonts version 2.1 at , and an oldie but goodie, FontMonster 3.5. The latter was the first utility I found to print Type 1 fonts, but appears to no longer be supported. It is at the archive as A question for our readers - let me know your favourite method for viewing and printing uninstalled Type 1 fonts and I'll pass it on for the benefit of all. Contact me at

5 August 1998 Vol 3 No 32

During the week a reader raised an interesting query on an item I had not come across before. The reader wondered why the MS LineDraw font will not show up in the list of fonts in Word 97, while it does in Excel and Access. A little research using the July 98 edition of the TechNet CD series revealed two articles on the subject - PSS ID Numbers: Q179422 and Q163059.

The first article identifies that in Microsoft Word 97, if you open a document from an earlier version of Word or from another word processing program that uses the MS LineDraw Font, you cannot use this font to draw lines or boxes. The reason given is that The MS LineDraw font is included in earlier versions of Microsoft Word, MS-DOS, and Microsoft Windows 3.0, and is not intended as a drawing tool. Microsoft say that this font is intended for importing documents that contain line drawings from MS-DOS based programs, such as WordPerfect. Word 97 identifies the MS LineDraw font as a symbol font, and interprets text in the MS LineDraw font as a series of symbols. So they say!

It seems that the Courier New font contains the exact same character set as MS LineDraw. Word 97 should map the MS LineDraw font to Courier New; however, because there are several versions of the Courier New font, Word may or may not map it correctly. The Courier New version 2.0 font should allow the correct mapping of the MS LineDraw font.

Your alternate options to access line draw characters include using Word's drawing toolbar to achieve your desired effect, or to click Symbol on the Insert menu, and then click (normal text) in the Font list and change the Subset to Box Drawing. Cute - I'd never tried that one before!

The second article mentioned above describes a number of true type fonts, available in earlier versions of Word for Windows, which by design are no longer available in Word 97. Those fonts are - Arial CE, Arial Cyr, Arial Greek, Bookshelf Symbol 1, Bookshelf Symbol 2, Courier New CE, Courier New Cyr, Courier Greek, MS LineDraw, Times New Roman CE, Times New Roman Cyr and Times New Roman Greek. The article goes on to describe the following vector fonts, also available in earlier versions of Word for Windows, which are no longer available in Word 97. They are Modern, Roman and Script. Screen fonts not available in Microsoft Word 97 for Windows, or earlier versions of Word for Windows, include - Fixedsys, MS Sans Serif, MS Serif, Small Fonts, System and Terminal.

If you really want to use Bookshelf Symbol 1 and Bookshelf Symbol 2 fonts then the second article goes into much detail about how to force the process. It looks like too much bother to me. International font sets that are available in Word 7.0 are not automatically available in Word 97, which makes available only the fonts that are determined by the language and keyboard setting in Windows 95.

On a lighter note I previously mentioned a series of fonts created by one of the crafty people, Todd Dever of Cool Fonts fame. I note that Todd is releasing a CD containing all his creations and if you want to get in early before he puts a price on it, send him an email at Tell him I sent you - and negotiate!

12 August 1998 Vol 3 No 34

The question of how to create your own font, or add a character or logo to an existing font, arises from time to time. Over the years I have looked at, and used, a number of commercial products including FontMonger (from the now non operating Ares stable) and Fontographer. Fontographer was an Altsys product and is now part of the Macromedia stable. Trouble is, Fontographer is a $300 plus product and your task may not warrant that sort of expenditure, and this is not to say that Fontographer isn't worth every penny of the commercial price. I suspect Fontographer has been the utility used to produce more fonts than any of its competitors. It has been around for a long time and is regarded as a "Rolls Royce" product. So, is there a shareware alternative? Yes, and it was brought to my attention by one of our diligent readers, after I had told him that I'd come across one once but had lost the locating reference. He did the search and passed on to me the following reference Dave Emmett has created a shareware, US$25, font creation utility called "Softy" which I've been playing with for the last few days.

"Softy" does not pretend to be Fontographer, but it does work, and it does allow you to create your own font, or insert characters (logos or whatever) into an existing font. Softy is dead easy to install, just locate the two files somewhere convenient on your hard drive and setup your own shortcut to find it again. If you have never used such a font utility before, make sure you first copy and save a practice font to work with. You wouldn't want to trash your only copy of Times Roman would you? When a character is opened for editing there is such a sense of power in dragging the control points about that you may finish up saving something you shouldn't have! Do persevere with the "Help" contained in the program as there is quite a bit available, but not necessarily obvious. In addition to the program help, Dave has also included a lot of helpful material on his web site, including some step by step instructions for including a scanned logo into a font. You may find some difficulty in working out how to identify the keystroke to a character but the information is there. Best to start by opening an existing font (or even better, a copy of one), as your first project. You can then delete a character you are unlikely to use and put your new creation in that spot.

Softy is a classic illustration of the benefits of shareware. Try it before you buy, but if you intend to keep it and keep using it please pay the small amount of money asked to register it - this will doubtless encourage Dave to attend to items on his enhancement wishlist.

For those of you who are ever seeking new font resources, go visit The Font Empire at Just another 1,000 or so typefaces to add to your collection. A web site called "True Type Resource" makes the claim "If it's not listed, it ain't on the net" and then notes it has 1134 (when I looked) links to other locations - a bold claim but maybe true! But don't blame me for the next 1,000 hours you spend verifying the claim.

Last week I mentioned Todd Dever's Cool Fonts CD - a great collection of original fonts . I've now arranged with Todd that all WOW readers can get a USD$30 discount off his normal retail price - just make sure you mention Woody's Office Watch at the time you order.

19 August 1998 Vol 3 No 35

A question asked from time to time - is there any quick & easy way to make a print-out of all the fonts installed on your PC?

Yes. Check out the FontSampleGenerator macro to be found in which came with Office95. Do a file search for if you are now running Office 97, but it will probably still be on your system. It will generate a document containing a sample of all your installed fonts, at a point size of your choosing. You can then send this to your printer. Open in Word and follow the instructions (a "Run Sample Macros" toolbar item will appear) - and yes it does still work in Word97. Oh and if you have Macro Virus Protection turned on in the Tools\Options\General section in Word 97 you will be asked if you want to "Enable Macros". The whole exercise will be a bit pointless if you don't, so assume that this piece of Microsoft wizardry is safe to use. Curiously the file which comes with Office 97 doesn't include the FontSampleGenerator macro. I wonder why?

A more full blooded approach to making a fast check of what fonts are on your system (installed or not - TrueType or Type 1), and across all folders may be made with Phillip Crews' ThumbsPlus (now version 3.30) at , which I briefly mentioned in WOW 3:31. To quote from the Help Introduction in ThumbsPlus: it " a graphic file viewer, locator and organizer that simplifies the process of finding and maintaining graphics, clip-art files, fonts and animations. It displays a small image (thumbnail) of each file. " (and lots more). I have found ThumbsPlus to be a fast way to check out all of the fonts in a folder (or your entire drive) through its ability to quickly create a thumbnail image using the font itself. A double click on the image brings up a window showing the full character set and a user selectable phrase, like the quick brown fox's activities. Print options include a selection of size and number of columns and additional text for a page of thumb nail images in the font . Well worth a look!

Finally, I have been asked - Do you have a newsgroup where font information could be posted or where one could read other WOW users postings on the subject. Quite apart from the various font related newsgroups, if you haven't visited the WOPR Lounge and sampled the gems of wisdom to found there, go to There's a mountain of knowledge to be tapped in this area.

Peter McDonell, the Font Pharos is busy preparing for his 60th birthday early next week! We invite everyone who enjoys his weekly font column to send their birthday best wishes for this special milestone to him direct .

Aside from his work on this column, Peter draws on his extensive business and legal knowledge to provide invaluable advice and counsel to Woody's Office Watch's editor which helps keeps WOW on track and viable. Thanks a lot Peter -- happy 60th from Woody, Peter and all WOWsers.

26 August 1998 Vol 3 No 36

Fontlist, Raymond Mercier's beaut utility to identify which fonts grace your Word documents, was previously mentioned in WOW 3.26 (as my first foray into comments in this august journal). His version 2.6 is now available. It may be found at

I had a question put to me about difficulties which arise with fonts available, and used, on a Mac and not on a PC and how to overcome this situation. I'm not sure if this is the answer, but in the absence of anything else - look for a file called I found it at but had a number of alternative locations to try when I searched with AltaVista. This file purports to establish, on your PC, a desktop theme which resembles a Mac (no comment on why you would want to do this). My view inside the macdsk21 zipped archive showed that there were indeed a number of fonts which, I guess, are from the Mac environment. These fonts have been bundled with various cursors, bitmaps and so on and appear to be capable of being loaded as a comprehensive "theme" in Win95. There would be no reason why you couldn't
just extract the fonts and use them without worrying about the rest of the archive. The theme author, it appears, is from Spain.

As to a matter of mechanics, I note that my quick method of viewing a font which has been included in a Zip file is to open the zipped archive with WinZip, thus disclosing the included files, select the ttf file, then hit on the WinZip "View" Button. My viewer in WinZip has been configured to
use Fmvapp.exe from FMView 2.0 and to display immediately (Uncheck the Options\Configuration\Miscellaneous box which says "Prompt when View button is pushed"). a right mouse click escapes from the view. FMView is, in my view, indispensable as a viewer of many different file types including TrueType fonts, on the right mouse button in Explorer. To find it go to Dieter Prifling's site at

Finally, a question was asked about an announcement from Microsoft and Adobe, some time back, that they were merging TrueType and Type 1 into something called OpenType - and what has happened since then. The Microsoft Typography pages have an OpenType initiative FAQ available for perusal at Best I could see is that we will hear more about Open Type" later this year". Adobe have a section on OpenType at but nothing I could see on real timing for this emerging technology.

Maybe one of our readers has the inside story on when we will see OpenType "in the wild"? Right now it's probably all happening behind the scenes.

2 September 1998 Vol 3 No 37

First I must say "Thank you" to the many readers who took the time to send personal messages to me on my 60th birthday. I think I have replied to each of those nice wishes, but if I have overlooked anyone please accept this as my thanks. I came across a cartoon from Randy Glasbergen, which says more about how to grow old gracefully than anything I could compose - see it at

Following my mention of TrueType fonts and the Mac last week it is appropriate to mention a couple of utilities which can convert fonts between the Mac format and the way they are used on the PC. Refont is a font utility that allows you to use Mac type 1 and TrueType fonts on IBM PC machines with Windows and ATM. With Refont you can convert Mac format Type 1 outlines to IBM format type 1 outlines (PFB); convert Mac format TrueType outlines to IBM format TrueType outlines (TTF) and convert Postscript AFM files to Windows compatible PFM files. Home page for this utility is at

Another utility in this area is TTConverter. The following description of its function also clarifies the difference between the way fonts are handled in the two systems. Because TrueType fonts are self-contained and portable, the only thing preventing the easy interchange of fonts between the Mac and Windows is how the fonts are stored. The Mac stores its TrueType fonts as 'sfnt' resources, along with the 'FOND' resource that all Mac font families must have, and Windows stores its TrueType fonts in .TTF files (files with a .TTF extension). Except for the location, the actual font data is usually completely compatible. TTConverter is designed to move this font data between the 'sfnt' resources and .TTF files so it is possible to use TrueType fonts created in one operating system with the other. TTConverter may be found at

I have also been asked a question about the availability of the Euro symbol for the new European currency. Microsoft have posted a FAQ on the subject at In addition both Microsoft and Adobe have updated fonts available respectively at and Peter gave the Euro Symbol matter a comprehensive roundup back in WOW #3.25.

Finally, a reader pointed out that I hadn't mentioned the use of Corel Draw in creating fonts. Given that some of the older versions of Corel Draw are pretty cheap, I'll quote an answer given by John Martz (in his FAQ on his Robotic attack Font site) about using Corel Draw. "Q: How do you make your fonts?" "A: Long story short: Most of the time I hand-draw the alphabets, I scan them into the computer, tidy the bitmaps up (maybe with PhotoShop, but usually just with Paint Shop Pro). Then I convert the bitmaps to vector graphics with CorelTrace (usually however, I manually trace the bitmap), and assemble and create the font using CorelDraw's TrueType export filter. (I use CorelDraw because of it's superior drawing tools to that of an actual font editor). Then I adjust the font's kerning and other details using Fontographer. Voila. Instant font." He makes it sound easy doesn't he? John's neat collection of fonts are to be found at I don't want to be seen to be sexist but I really like the font he has called "Girls are Weird".

9 September 1998 Vol 3 No 38

A number of readers have asked for an explanation of the difference between TrueType fonts and Type 1 fonts. Well rather than try to re-invent the wheel, I have the kind permission of one Thomas Phinney to refer you to his definitive work on the subject. Thomas has written a treatise entitled "TrueType and PostScript Type 1 - What's the Difference?" It exists in two parts and may be found at and at

I note that the host site which carries this work is, in part, authored by Sean Cavanaugh. Sean is the author of a book I purchased some time ago called "Digital Type Design Guide" - The page designer's guide to working with type. An excellent read which came with a CD including some 200 fonts. See for details, and more on a further font CD with even more fonts onboard. Sean's site also contains sage words on writing, style and typography. Go to

If you have an idea about a font you have once seen, but now have difficulty finding it, you may benefit from a visit to Southern Software, Inc's 40,000 font data base which may be found at I had mixed success with it but did turn up a number of alternative (similar) named fonts when it did work for me. Another specialist search service is at where World Wide Fonts claim to be able to provide fonts, resources and systems for over 350 languages. If you are looking for a foreign language font this would be a great place to start. Listed are languages I did not know existed, but then maybe that's just the sheltered life I've led. Examples may also be viewed on line.

One of our readers was good enough to provide some detail on a font related bug which will affect certain users. It concerns what originally appeared to be a bug in HP's PCL6 printer driver, which afflicts people using Word 97 (8.0) with certain TrueType fonts and printing to an HP or similar printer using PCL6. It seems that what happens is you get mis-spacing of some characters within a line so that, for instance, em- and en-dashes will overlay the character to the right of them, making it look 'struck out', apostrophes and quotes are mis-spaced and left floating, and other quite visible and acceptable printing errors occur.

Specifically (I am told), the problem only manifests itself in the following circumstances:

* you are using Word 97 (8.0), --not Word 95 or earlier;

* you are using multi-language TrueType fonts of the type supplied by HP on the installation disks for its printers. --Single-language fonts of the type (mostly Monotype) supplied with Windows and in Microsoft Fontpacks, don't exhibit the problem;

* you are using PCL6. PS and PCL5e don't exhibit the problem;

* you have installed ATM 4.0 and have it turned on.

OK, so that's a definitive list but it may well affect some of our readers. Thanks to some very persistent detective work by one of HP's PCL whizzes, it seems to be a problem with Adobe Type Manager. Adobe has acknowledged the problem and provided an ATM.INI switch to solve the problem.

The solution is to place the line
in the [Settings] section of your ATM.INI file.

If you have been worrying about this aberrant behaviour give thanks to the generosity of the WOW reader who shared this gem with us all.

I often get requests for information that has already been mentioned in my column, so I've put together a compilation of snippets from the Font Pharos on my own web site . This is in addition to the complete WOW archive available from .

15 September 1998 Vol 3 No 39

One of our readers did raise questions about copyright, and the use of fonts, after the last mention of a source for Mac like fonts. While I have done some research on the subject, the material is too voluminous, and perhaps legally technical, for any detail to be canvassed in this column. For those interested in closer study of this issue the following reference may assist. Frequently Asked Questions About Fonts" to be found in The comp.fonts FAQ
(Version 2.1.4.) Copyright (C) 1992-95 by Norman Walsh, and particularly the section "Are Fonts copyrightable?" at

A further treatise on the subject "Protection For Typeface Designs: A Copyright Proposal - Terrence J. Carroll - Santa Clara Computer and High Technology Law Journal Vol. 10, No. 1 (1994) Copyright (c) 1994 by Terrence J. Carroll may be found at I will not attempt to put my own interpretation on such a deep subject.

Last week I mentioned a source for foreign language fonts, and since then I have also come across the following, described as "The Foreign Language Font Archive for Windows" Your One-Stop Cyber-Resource for Foreign Language Typefaces and Keyboard Utilities. Go to I suspect their server may be a bit "on and off", but I did find some interesting stuff there.

Finally, a reader asked "How can I change the default Times New Roman font to one of my choice?" While many may be well aware of the answer, we all have had to learn as we go, and I don't mind basic questions. In Microsoft Word, go to the menu item Format | Font and choose the default you wish to use, then click on the "Default" button at the foot of the dialogue box. You will see this changes the font and point size for all future documents based on the "Normal" template. The result of your endeavour may also be checked by choosing Format | Style for more detail on the Normal style current defaults.

24 September 1998 Vol 3 No 41

TypeCon 98 Draws Top Typographical Professionals - The Society of Typographic Aficionados (SOTA) is sponsoring TypeCon 98, October 30 to November 1, at the Westborough Marriott in Westborough, Massachusetts. In addition to the principal speaker, Matthew Carter (cofounder of Bitstream
and principal of Carter & Cone Type), TypeCon 98 has drawn more than twenty top professionals from throughout the world of type, and more are expected to sign on in the coming weeks. TypeCon is designed to be a friendly, intimate, affordable weekend for a few hundred type lovers of all sorts (type and graphic designers, large and small publishers, people who want to make their business and personal documents look better, and aficionados of
typography and the bookmaking arts). The press release on this gathering may be found at It's just a
little too far from Sydney, Australia to Massachusetts for me to make it, but I wish them every success. I would be interested to hear, after the event, from any of our readers who do make it to this convention.

Readers will recall the contribution to an understanding of the differences between TrueType and Type 1 fonts, written by Thomas Phinney and referred to in WOW #3.38. Our typography buffs will also appreciate the "All Good Things Typography" pages at which includes Thomas W. Phinney contributing a discussion entitled "A Brief History of Type" He prefaces his remarks with the comment - "It is difficult to cover all the developments and movements of typography in a short space. My separation of evolving technologies from the development of typefaces is an artificial one---designs and the technology used to create them are not truly separable---but perhaps it is conceptually useful." Thomas then goes on under the general heading "Type Technology---The Four Revolutions" and provides a most interesting and informative paper.

In WOW 3:31 I briefly mentioned MyFonts v 2.1 as a handy utility to view both installed and uninstalled fonts, be they TrueType or Type 1. MyFonts version 3.0 has recently been released and may be found at The program appears to have matured somewhat, and the interface (and online help) seems clearer than version 2.1 I was pleased to see that my earlier registration was still valid. This program is also worth a look by anyone interested in the ability to group and load and unload fonts using a "FontPack" type of approach.

Further Font Pharos comments will be limited while I attend to the most important matter in my life at present, my youngest son's serious illness.

8 October 1998 Vol 3 No 43

I was recently asked by a solicitor friend (that's lawyer for you readers in the US) for an 'Old English' font to dress up the cover sheet of a will. It just so happened that the folk at the Scriptorium site have just released such a beast. They describe the rationale for their font of the month as follows: "Authentic antique calligraphy from England wouldn't do, customers wanted the fake, fancied-up black letter style you find on a sign for 'Ye Olde Booke Shoppe'. So, we decided that after more than a hundred years of use in signs and titles maybe the style had some legitimacy in its own right.
Accordingly, we went through our references and found some nice samples assembled by Frank Atkinson from the work of another turn-of-the-century Chicago sign painter. We used these as the basis for our new Collins Old English font." Find it at

Another utility I've been watching for some time is FontLister, now up to version 2.2.6, with frequent revisions having been published over the past few months. I find that encouraging as a sign of willingness to fine tune a product. FontLister gives a quick and good view of your installed TrueType fonts, an ability to find and view uninstalled TrueType fonts (but the viewing is not so convenient as with the installed fonts) and I had some difficulty in using it to check out Type 1 fonts. Installed Type 1 fonts may be found and inspected by choosing to view "Screen" fonts rather than "Installed" fonts and I couldn't see how to view uninstalled Type 1 fonts at all. It's still worth a look at by going to It's shareware and just US$5. There is also a freeware font viewer called Font Selector (v 1-26) at the same site. It's neat and I've added it to my string of useful utilities. It provides a quick way to blow up an individual character to 144 points for closer examination.

I am currently assessing a number of font creating utilities from the Pyrus\FontLab stable. Their products range from the basic SigMaker (at US$29-95) which adds signatures or other black and white graphics to TrueType fonts, through to FontLab Composer their specialised "big font" product at US$799. My first "look" was at SigMaker, a neat and wizard driven utility with the single minded purpose of putting a signature or other graphic into an existing font. SigMaker may be found at Please make sure you are using a font, as the host for your new character, which is commercially sound. My first effort in using this utility brought me unstuck when I used an almost character free font and this suspect font host suddenly became my (quite unreadable) system font. The problem was solved by deleting the suspect font from my system and the default MS Sanserif system font returned, to my enormous relief. Such hiccups aside, and I did get some valued email suggestions from the folk at Pyrus after the event, the utility does effectively do what is claimed. (Trish - your signature font is ready!) A very helpful seven step guide through the use of SigMaker may also be found on the Pyrus site, and a ScreenCam demo is also available for download. In a few short minutes your bitmap signature scan, or whatever alternative graphic you wish, is part of an existing TrueType font and ready for use. Well done Pyrus\FontLab!

I was asked a while ago about the prospect of updating the Font Printing macro which came with Word 95. Our VBA Valet, Claude Almer, has used this task as his current VBA teaching\learning project so go direct to the VBA Valet in this issue of WOW for the result. If you are not a student of VBA programming simply open the sample and hit the "Font Sample" button. The other buttons are there to show the VBA students what not to do. They don't influence the printed outcome. Thanks Claude.

21 October 1998 Vol 3 No 46

Font viewing utilities abound. I recently looked at a Freeware utility called Font Character Locator 1.0.0 The promo notes suggest that if you are having trouble viewing fonts and finding that special 'wingding' character then this may be for you. It's 32-bit (for Windows 95, 98 or NT) and may be found at It suffers from a viewing window which cannot be enlarged as can, say, the Symbol Selector mentioned in my column in WOW Vol No 29 Go to for a link to that comment. RKS Software have moved its location on their site but Symbol Selector is still available by going to Do take the time to also visit the RKS Software Online Store, it's the least you can do for these folk who have made Symbol Selector available as freeware.

The MyFonts people have released a simple utility which may be used to change the name within a font, that is to say the name which displays in your application font selection list, not simply the file name. If this is a task you have wondered about go to and read all about Font Namer v 2.1. While on the subject of MyFonts (which is now up to version 3.1) I note that one of its utility functions is to enable you to compare two different fonts on a character by character basis. The compare function has two font panels. Each panel will display all 256 characters in a font and the two panels are synchronized to scroll as one when you move the scroll bar back and forth. The comparisons may also be made by an automatic scanning process. TrueType and Type 1, both installed and uninstalled can be viewed. As a further incentive to register MyFonts, or perhaps as a rewards for those who have
registered, the MyFonts folk have available for download several taskbar font viewing "widgets" called FontList and FontGrid. Each does just one thing - the first shows what your installed fonts look like. The second shows what your uninstalled (TrueType) fonts look like in both a grid and sample style, allowing a one click deletion of the rubbish we all download just to check them out. Both hide in the corner of the taskbar when not being used. FontGrid is now one of my standard must have utilities, it's so quick. Go to

Don't forget there is also a font viewing capability with WOPR FastFonts – quickly assign formatted fonts from a list of available fonts and view a sample of the fonts in their actual typefaces - in Woody's WOPR at , and the Enhanced Font List utility on Woody's web site at the VBA Power Tools page at

Following my comments on the Pyrus\FontLab utility SigMaker mentioned in my last column I have spent some time looking at FontLab's "Type Tool" utility. Type Tool is well featured product which may be used to create new digital fonts, or to modify an existing font. Type Tool is equipped with powerful, but quite user friendly, tools to work with font outlines. It can import and export both TrueType and PostScript Type 1 formats as well as individual characters in EPS (Adobe Illustrator) format. It has lots of menus, and property panels to set parameters and font metrics (character widths, spacing and kerning) can all be handled either manually or automatically. To put this utility in perspective vis a vis its FontLab stablemates, it is less expensive than ScanFont or FontLab, and it has not the functionality of the more expensive products as regards global handling of character changes or the ability to trace bitmapped or pre drawn characters. What it does, it does well at, what seems to me to be, a very competitive price. A trial version with five free exports is at

Finally a resource well worth putting into your favourite or bookmark index. Chris MacGregor maintains an linked index to the home pages of type foundries and distributors. To be included on his page foundries must maintain a respect for the work of the type designer. Go to He also includes a link to the IFTI newsletter, a free electronic newsletter covering type foundries and type design. This bi-weekly newsletter brings you news of ITFI site updates, new typeface releases and exclusive interviews and reviews.

4 November 1998 Vol 3 No 48

Our friends at the Scriptorium house of fonts and wonderful art packages have kindly extended to our WOW readers a special offer, which will only be open for about a week after you read this - so get in quickly. Dave Nalle and his folk at Scriptorium have taken about 25% off a collection of 30 of their fonts, specially selected to give a sampling of text, display, calligraphic and decorative fonts with an emphasis on practical and versatile fonts to meet a wide range of needs. All fonts are in both Postscript and True Type format for either Windows or Macintosh, and the package also includes shareware and demo samples of additional fonts and graphic arts resources. Go to to check this one out. The page may say that the offer closed on October 31st, but Dave has agreed to extend that until 11th November 1998 for WOW readers.

An interesting approach to the development of web graphics by incorporating fonts specially designed for use, and conversion into, web GIF and JPEG images may be found at A free shape block example of this approach can be downloaded from this site.

I was recently chasing up some dingbat fonts and found that an earlier URL for one of the great dingbat resources had died. expired, become kaput! After some further searching I found a new URL for the Dingbat Pages at

My next examination of products from the Pyrus\FontLab stable of font creation utilities has been to look at ScanFont 3.0, next up the line from the TypeTool utility mentioned in my last column. A demo of ScanFont is available from In terms of functionality ScanFont adds bitmap importing facilities, a bitmap editor and an autotracing capability. This will enable you to start with a graphic, dingbat or logo image, or even a full suite of typeface characters as images on paper and use the extensive capability of ScanFont to create a full typeface. Direct TWAIN support has also been added for scanners. Parameters for the autotracing operation may be set at a number of levels to generate loose to tight curves as related to the original bitmap image. The original bitmap image may be viewed, or not, in a layer of its own so that the vector created by autotracing can be seen and further edited if required. Naturally full vector editing tools are available including layers to show gridlines, guidelines and hinting (created automatically). Font metrics ads kerning controls are also well dealt with in the ScanFont package. ScanFont is a serious tool for the font creating enthusiast and is available from for US$199.00

Finally a reader mentioned that there were TTF fonts in his Fonts directory which Word97 won't let him use. He instanced Bookshelf Symbol 1 and Bookshelf Symbol 2, and asked how can he make these fonts available to Word97. My investigation revealed some oddities, and possibly a bug, in Word.

First it is true that the Word font drop down list (and Insert Symbol list box) does not display the Bookshelf Symbol 1 and 2 fonts, even though they are loaded. Bookshelf Symbol 3, 4 and 5 fonts do display. Curious! But by Microsoft design - see Microsoft Knowledge base article Q163059, also mentioned in my earlier column in WOW 3:32. See The latter three fonts also display in the Insert Symbol list box. How then to use Bookshelf Symbol 1 or 2 in Word? I used a workaround that has had some success in previous curious situations. I opened Wordpad, which is not afraid to show all five of the Bookshelf Symbol fonts. Select Bookshelf Symbol 1 and type some characters. Then select what has been typed and copy\paste it into Word 97. Voila - you have Bookshelf Symbol 1 available, for the moment, in Word and visible in the font selection dropdown list. Choose another font and BS1 disappears not to be found again. If you want some more BS1 (what a good acronym for Bookshelf symbol!) select some of the earlier BS1 text and copy it, and the font selection of BS1, to a new location and carry on. An interesting experiment - and a warning. While conducting this experiment something I did while in the Format\Font dialogue box locked my system solid and lost, on reboot, some work in progress. If you want to conduct such tests make sure all other material on your system has been saved.

11 November 1998 Vol 3 No 49

One of our astute readers (Mike from Atlanta, who describes himself as Proud WOW subscriber) has passed on to me a neat way to make quick use of a TrueType font which is on your system (in a folder other than the \windows\font folder) but not actually installed. When he needs a font from that folder he just opens the folder, does a double click on the file to preview it, and keeps the preview window open. He then fires up Word 97 and the font appears in the font list ready to be selected. A caution - It is better that the font preview is open before the program. The font is there as long as the preview window is open. If you close the font preview window before printing the Word document you will find that the temporary font stops working and reverts to something else.

Dave Nalle and the folk at Scriptorium are running a contest which involves searching out some of the obscure quotes used as type samples on their site and identifying the sources and authors of the quotes. The person who gets the most right out of ten selected quotes will get a Decorative Initials CD as their prize. There are also prizes for two runners up. To see all the rules and find the samples, go to While you are at the Scriptorium site take a look at their range of monospaced fonts. I am often asked for ideas on different fonts, useful for printing columns of figures (which line up), and a number of choices are to be found at

If you were wondering if you have the latest versions of Microsoft's base fonts, and you have installed the SR2 update, ponder no longer. SR2 (probably) does install the updated MS Typography fonts which include the Euro symbol. In any event you can check this by using the Insert\Symbol choice in Word while your font selection rests on Times New Roman, Arial, Courier New or Tahoma. Then choose (normal text) in the font box and subset "Currency Symbols". The Euro symbol should then be an available choice. If it is not go to the Microsoft Typography site to get the latest versions of the fonts mentioned. Go to It's worth visiting this Microsoft area from time to time as I have just discovered that the font formerly known as is now available and known as Andale Mono. How's that for an irrelevant piece of information.

And another site for the font deprived. is a site with heaps of the more unusual font creations about - not everybody's cup of tea, but their presentation makes it fairly easy to make your choices.

25 November 1998 Vol 3 No 50

Raymond Mercier's excellent utility Fontlist 3.0 (new update) is now available in the WOPR essential files area - go to Http:// Fontlist 3.0 runs on Win 95 or Win NT and is designed to produce a list of the names of all the fonts which were used in any of the following files - WinWord 6,7 or 8 (Word97), WinWord templates, RTF for Word, MacWord 5, 6 and Wordpad. It also gives a list of embedded fonts. Provision is made for downloading embedded TrueType fonts from version 6 or 7 Word documents. Raymond has included in his help file some excellent comment on the technicalities of font embedding - "A button marked "Embedded fonts..." shows whether fonts have been embedded in the Word file. This corresponds to the Word menu "Tools-Options-Save-Embed TrueType Fonts". Not every font can be or will be embedded." etc.

For more information on whether a font is capable of being embedded go to and get the Microsoft Font properties extension, version 2. One of the tabs on the Properties box (Right mouse click on a TrueType font file in Explorer and go to Properties) gives the following description of possible embedding settings.

Installable embedding allowed - fonts may be embedded in documents and permanently installed on the remote system.
Editable embedding allowed - fonts may be embedded in documents, but must only be installed temporarily on the remote system.
Print & Preview embedding allowed - fonts may be embedded in documents, but must only be installed temporarily on the remote system. Documents can only be opened read-only.
Restricted licence embedding. No Embedding allowed - font may not be embedded in document.
If embedding is allowed it is accessed by using the Word menu item "Tools-Options-Save-Embed TrueType Fonts".

Having just quoted from the Embedding section of a TrueType Font Properties "box" you may be interested to know that the above text was captured and pasted direct from the screen. "So what!" you may say, I copy and paste regularly from one application to another on my PC. OK, so try it on a dialogue box where the text is not amenable to being selected and copied and you will appreciate a new utility I recently investigated. Pavel Senatorov's utility "Kleptomania" has, to my knowledge, found a new niche use, as it can capture text in menus, dialog boxes, message boxes, status lines, lists and trees, application areas and most anywhere else. It is a version 1.0 product which deserves to be supported, as it has a particularly valuable use in a fresh new area. At its heart, Kleptomania is described as applying Direct Klepting technology, on the base of an optical character recognition (OCR) engine. It appears that it detects characters in the raster image and defines their precise properties: location, font face, style and size. For more information, and to follow the development of this interesting new utility, go to

I have been asked whether there is key code for the Euro symbol that could be added to Word's AutoCorrect dialog. There are two easy insert alternatives for any symbol found initially through the Insert | Symbol dialogue box. As well as enabling the direct insertion of a character this dialogue box also has buttons for "AutoCorrect..." and "Shortcut Key...". While it's easy to overlook such extra functions, a quick check will show just how easy it is to set up a shortcut function, such as Alt-E, to place the Euro symbol in your document. I personally think it's easier to use such a shortcut rather than try to define an AutoCorrect entry. Or have I trespassed onto some sacred ground by my commitment of Alt-E for the purpose?

The last of the Pyrus\FontLab stable of font creation utilities I have looked at is FontLab 3.0. This is a full featured big brother to the FontLab font tools I have mentioned in earlier columns (TypeTool and ScanFont). FontLab is not the product to use if you plan to scan and trace pre-drawn fonts, use ScanFont, but do consider this utility if you need to work with Multiple Master Fonts or need the cutting edge in editing (including a technique called vector painting), hinting and exporting. Included in FontLab are a series of transformation filters which can be applied to a single character, a range or special set of characters or the whole font. Characters may be shifted, mirrored, scaled, rotated, slanted as well as converted from TrueType to Type 1 or vice versa. Filters are available to make bold, create drop shadows or 3D extrusions, create outline fonts, gradient fills and more. It is difficult to do such a complete program justice in a few short sentences. FontLab comes with a 370 plus page manual which not only provides detailed instruction on program capabilities, it also is a valuable work of reference on the larger technical subject of font creation generally. A comparison table of the various font editors from the FontLab stable may be found at FontLab is a US$399 product and appears to me to be appropriately priced for the functionality it provides. A downloadable demo (limited in that it does not export) may be found at the Pyrus site.

4 December 1998 Vol 3 No 51

Our editor Peter Deegan is often pressing me to cover ideas on which typefaces work with which other type faces. While I have read quite a bit on this topic, from time to time, in the DTP Forum on Compuserve, the most succinct answer is to point you to an excellent essay on the subject (complete
with many suggestions) produced by Daniel Will-Harris. Go to for all the info. While you are at this site move across to the Typofile section. I quite enjoyed viewing the New Faces for 98, and was quite taken by the presentation of Bickham Script, a delightfully elegant script font suitable for the most formal of invitations. For the range of 98 faces go to

While on the subject of Script fonts I note that Adobe has a specially priced package called "Essential Scripts" priced at $49-99. It contains 9 varying script fonts suitable for all manner of "cards" including (count off the days!) Christmas cards, Holiday seasons cards and so on. Go to for info.

A recent question posed the problem of displaying fractions - "How can I make Word convert all fractions in the same format as it does 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1/8, 3/8, etc.? It wasn't an issue in Word 6, but the newer versions convert some fractions to a different format (which I can't duplicate manually)."

On my original Word 97 (SR-2) setup only the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 converted automatically, but I was able to use the AutoCorrect... button in the Word 97 Insert\Symbol box (normal text) - [Number Forms] area to create the 1/8 etc. fractions. If you have a need for more abstract fractions (say 13/27) you could take the time to create the desired appearance by superscripting the 13 and subscripting the 27 leaving the "/" unformatted. Then select the whole fraction and choose Tools\AutoCorrect, and fill the "Replace:" box with the raw 13/27, making sure that you have also chosen Formatted text. It works, but a bit tedious if you have many to do! I'm open to suggestions of easier ways? [Ed: Equation Editor ?]

A question posed some time ago in the WOPR lounge (and maybe also answered there, as I lost track of it) is worth a mention here, as it's relevant to the production of those greeting cards I mentioned above. "Is there a way to have transparent fonts in either Word or PowerPoint? I want to use a picture background, put a textbox over it with the letters revealing the picture underneath." It's just a matter of choosing the right formatting for the text box. Insert the clip art, draw a text box over it and place the text. Then right click on the edge of the text box to bring up the "Format Text Box" dialogue box. Under Colours and Lines - Fill - Colour choose "No Fill" and under Line - Colour also choose "No Fill". That's it, the text will float over the picture. If it doesn't, right click on the text box boundary and check that in the "Order" the text is at the front. That's the answer for Word 97 - as to PowerPoint, I confess I haven't tried it. But then aren't all of the Microsoft Office products consistent in the way they do things now?

9 December 1998 Vol 3 No 52

In my experience there is little that can match the way a bad font can trash your system. At the same time as I was writing this column (using Outlook Express) I was playing around with several font utilities. All of a sudden the font display in the utility (which will remain nameless as I feel the problem was font related, not utility related) dropped from showing a valid font, and turned into a blocky bitmapped representation of the characters. I have to feel sure this has happened to most fontaholics. Anyway I killed the application and found that the Outlook Express page I am now working on was blank. Oops, there goes most of this weeks column. Hoping against hope I clicked on "save" on the blank page anyway, re-booted (that's about five times today) and.... someone up there likes me as the text miraculously reappeared. There's some sort of moral in this story, but I'll leave it to the readers to decide what that is!

My thanks to all those who took the time to e-mail me after the piece on fractions. I suspected my solution was the kludgeish way to go and my thanks to James M., Dennis H., Bob M., Kim J., Mike McC., Eliot G., and Bruce A. for comment and a series of solutions, macros etc. I haven't had the opportunity to properly assess what has been sent to me so will save further comment for a later column. (Contributors names abbreviated to protect the innocent.) I am gratified to know for sure that at least seven people read my meandering.

Until a couple of years ago one Norman Walsh was the compiler of a FAQ on fonts called (not unusually) "Frequently Asked Questions About Fonts" - The comp.fonts FAQ, Version 2.1.5., last dated on August 14, 1996. It seems that the task of maintaining this compendious work was unable to be continued for reasons of which I am unaware. Nevertheless we should feel indebted for the work which persists at There is much to read and I have visited and read some parts on a number of occasions. The vast bulk of this work is not dated through lack of further input since 1996. On my machine the table of contents runs to some seven screen "page downs". Anyone serious about font history and development will gain from visiting this work.

Peter Theill from Denmark has produced a font viewing utility I have been watching for some time. It is now up to Version 3.3 and has to be one of the best $5 utilities you could buy. It allows viewing of both installed and uninstalled TrueType fonts, and the bit I really like is the way it will open an ANSI Character box which can be re-sized to "very large". Go to for more information. I note that this utility will allow fonts to be compared (help to weed out duplicates with different names) and gives several alternatives for printed samples.

In last weeks column I missed the point of a correspondent who asked about transparent fonts. Thanks to both Glenda McK. and Brian W. for bringing this to my attention. I have grabbed Brian's lucid explanation and include it below for the benefit of all. I now see that what was wanted was a way to use a font which then showed the clipart as its 'colour' or 'texture'. Brian went on with the following step by step solutions.
Using WordArt is the answer.
1) Select the text style you want
2) Enter the required text and font information and hit OK
3) Open up a 'fill-colour' drop-down menu (from the drawing toolbar, etc.)
4) Select 'Fill effects...' (bottom item)
5) Choose the 'Picture' tab
6) Open your chosen clipart file via the 'Select Picture' button
7) Hit OK and there you have it - text using clipart as its colour!

The preview part of the dialogue box has real limitations as a file viewer. To assist your clipart choice, but (off topic) the best viewer I have found for a fast review of a folder full of graphics files is ACDSee (Version 2.3) to be found at I love it!

For real level of overkill on applying a texture to a font outline it's worth a look at FontFX at I bought FontFX some time back but have yet to come to grips with the enormous range things it can do. It is described as "a program that turns ordinary text into a three dimensional object. You can apply various colors, textures and lighting effects to that three dimensional text, creating eye-catching effects, or use various forms of animation to make your text come alive on the screen. It's easy to use [I'm still learning - Font Pharos] incredibly powerful and really, really affordable!" The makers say "Take your favorite font, feed it some performance-enhancing drugs (totally legal, of course) and watch the crowd go wild!"

16 December 1998 Vol 3 No 53

If it wasn't for customers I'd have so much spare time to dig into matters for the column... but, apologies to those who have been hanging by the fingernails for some of the solutions (macros) solving the uneven fraction matter. Hopefully next time, just keep a good grip in the meantime.

A number of readers have asked why some fonts show up in Word's Insert Symbol routine while others do not. As I read the details of those fonts which show up on my system, all are marked internally as Symbol fonts with the exception of Tahoma, which is probably hard coded into the routine.
Tahoma is the "system" font for Word's menu systems and if lost or deleted from your system will cause strange things to happen. So, if a font must be marked as a Symbol font to be visible in Word, how then to accomplish this for a font not presently visible. To achieve this I experimented with two font creation programs previously discussed in this column (look for the details in the FontPharos archives at ). My attempts to use Softy to mark an existing font as a Symbol font were not successful, despite marking the character set as "Symbol" the font refused to take the symbol information. I'll ask the Softy developer Dave Emmett about this one. In the mean time I opened my test font in FontLab's TypeTool, made some minor name changes, suitably marked the box "Font has Symbol encoding", and saved the font information to a new TrueType file. Lo and behold the amended font was now visible in the Word "Insert Symbol" dialogue box. But then do you really want to use the dialogue box in Word to choose a symbol when the individual characters are so hard to see? Unfortunately the Word dialogue box suffers the same problem as the Character Map utility in not being able to be enlarged, and the tiny magnifier which appears when the mouse button is held down doesn't really help much.

A solution to the Character Map size problem may be found in a neat little piece of freeware\donationware produced by a chap in Indonesia called Sony Arianto Kurniawan. Sony has created ExtendedCharacterMap (v 1.30) which adds a decent level of magnification to your view of Symbol fonts and,
should you really like the product, Sony would be delighted if someone would send him a notebook computer in recognition of his efforts (or any donation, as he gives details of his account with Bank Central Asia in Indonesia). To find this utility go to

30 December 1998 Vol 3 No 54

Happy holidays and may the fontaholics amongst you not overdose on glyphs in 1999. But for those who want to try...

The dingbat enthusiasts amongst you will find some remarkable specimens at LISTEMAGERENS FONTARKIV 1998 located at I am indebted to Chris Pirillo's excellent Lockergnome newsletter (a regular WOW supporter) for this reference.

Kleptomania, previously mentioned in this column as a fresh new utility to capture "hard to get at" screen shots, has been updated. It has now an added system tray interface, support for capturing of adjacent touching characters, is stable on dithered backgrounds, is faster and Windows NT is officially supported. Kleptomania 1.1 also has an uninstall which also works for uninstalling previous versions of Kleptomania. Go to

Microsoft have released an additional package of Euro enable fonts at Before you can download the package More Euro Enabled Fonts for Microsoft Office, you need to download and install the euro products update for your Windows operating system. Go to the Microsoft Windows Euro Product Update Site and download the euro currency support for Windows 95. Windows 98 has support for the euro and does not need any special product updates. The More Euro Enabled Fonts for Microsoft Office adds euro support to the following additional fonts. Arial Black, Arial Narrow, Book Antiqua, Bookman Old Style, Century Gothic, Comic Sans MS, Garamond, Haettenschweiler, Impact, Monotype Corsiva, Trebuchet MS and Verdana.

I have looked at many good, excellent and so so font related utilities during the past year, and have written of many of these in this column. Many have been discarded and some have become an integral part of my ongoing daily activities in the search for font management and control. The archives may be found at Without boring you with a complete review (all over again) I suggest that those late to this column go back to my archives and re-examine the following.
Raymond Mercier's FontList, to identify and list fonts used in a Word document, Bitstream's Font Navigator for font management (for those of you who haven't got the now defunct FontMinder), Typograf to tell you everything you wanted to know about your fonts, installed or uninstalled, TrueType or Type 1, MyFonts for a similar ability as well as the ability to group and load and unload fonts using a "FontPack" type of approach, the Scriptorium site for its range of typefaces (writ large), the FontLab range of font creating utilities - great value, Peter Theill's FontLister for fast font viewing (and great value) and finally Symbol Selector for its ability to save and copy a font character as a Windows Metafile.

Web references to all the above may be found by diligent search of the WOW archives.

Happy New Year for 1999

The text from my column in the 1999 season will be found at Font Pharos column text for 1999