Current Version:
0.80 (beta 2)
released 22 Dec 1999

Frequently Asked Questions

General
Are you going to introduce a registration fee for The Font Thing later on?
What language is The Font Thing written in?
Program Installation, Upgrading and Use
What's the best way of upgrading from an older version of The Font Thing to a newer version?
How do I make a given sentence or expression "stick" in the drop-down list of text samples, so that I don't have to re-type it all the time?
How can I see what the file name of a font is?
Can The Font Thing look inside ZIP files for fonts?
Do you plan to add support for Type 1 (Postscript) fonts?
Fonts and Windows
How many fonts is it reasonable to keep installed? Do they tie up significant amounts of memory or other resources?
Troubleshooting
My Windows Fonts folder shows an entry called "SerialNumber", but the file name is garbage, the size is zero, and I can't open it to see what it is. So what is it?
When I select the Appearance tab on the Options screen, I get a General Protection Fault along the lines of "TFT caused a general protection fault in module MACXW4.DRV at xxxx:xxxxxxxx".
When I try to create a new font collection, the program locks up. How can I fix this.
I'm using Windows NT, and the Installed page shows the error symbol () next to a lot of my fonts. What's the problem?

If you have a question that isn't answered here, send it to me at scef@ozemail.com.au.
 

General
Are you going to introduce a registration fee for The Font Thing later on?
No. The Font Thing will always be true freeware.
What language is The Font Thing written in?
Delphi 4, from Borland.
Program Installation, Upgrading and Use
What's the best way of upgrading from an older version of The Font Thing to a newer version?
Just install the newer version over the top of the older version. You don't need to uninstall the older version first. This method ensures that any options you have set are retained.
How do I make a given sentence or expression "stick" in the drop-down list of text samples, so that I don't have to re-type it all the time?
There are two ways of doing this.
The first is to right-click on the drop-down box on the Sample or Multiple pages, or on the large text box on the Sample page, and choose Add to Text Samples from the context menu. This command adds the current sample text to the saved text samples, and is available if the text shown isn't already in those saved text samples. It is an explicit action so you don't end up with all sorts of junk in the drop-down list.
The second method involves the Options screen, which lets you edit and delete existing text samples as well as add new ones. From the View menu choose Options, then select the Text Samples page. To add a new text sample, choose the Add button then type the required text into the large box at the bottom.
How can I see what the file name of a font is?
Drag the horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of the font list to the right, and you'll see one or two extra columns. The first extra column shows the font's file name. A second extra column shows the folder the font's file resides in if you're looking at the fonts in a collection or are browsing fonts including subfolders.
I'll also add the file name to the Font Info page in the next release of the program.
NB: You can resize parts of the window to suit your viewing preferences. Just drag the vertical line separating the left and right halves of the window, or the separator lines in the column headings (there are other window parts you can resize by dragging too). The window layout is saved when you exit the program, and restored the next time you start it up.
Can The Font Thing look inside ZIP files for fonts?
No. (Although I might add this feature some day if I run out of things to do!)
One workaround is to use something like ZipMagic from Mijenix, which lets you use zip files as though they were ordinary folders. I've tested this approach successfully, although things run a bit slower because of the extra work of unzipping and zipping everything.
Do you plan to add support for Type 1 (Postscript) fonts?
Yes. This will probably be included in the first major version after The Font Thing gets to general release.
Fonts and Windows
How many fonts is it reasonable to keep installed? Do they tie up significant amounts of memory or other resources?
My normal recommendation is that if you have up to about 200 fonts installed you shouldn't suffer from any major performance degradation, although I personally try to keep my installed fonts to around 100.
Installed (or loaded) fonts don't use significant resources individually, however there are some limits as well as other performance factors which mean you should try to keep them to reasonable numbers.
The resource limit for logical fonts in Windows 9x is usually said to be around 750 to 800. Specifics depends on how you've got your computer set up, and I have run a Windows 98 machine successfully with nearly 900 fonts installed (although I don't recommend this!).
However, many functions that potentially require fonts run through the list of installed (or loaded) fonts each time you use them, and the more fonts you have, the longer this will take. One example is the context (right-click) menu in Internet Explorer 5.0; another is the font selection drop-down in Microsoft Word. In extreme cases, these functions can take several seconds each time you use them, rather than being almost instant as they normally are.
Troubleshooting
My Windows Fonts folder shows an entry called "SerialNumber", but the file name is garbage, the size is zero, and I can't open it to see what it is. So what is it?
For starters, it isn't anything to do with The Font Thing! And versions of The Font Thing from 0.80 (beta 2) onwards will run quite happily even when this Registry corruption is present.
It seems to be triggered (on certain systems only) by having font smoothing turned on. Another symptom of this particular combination is that the phantom "SerialNumber" entry will return even if you delete it or use a tool like TweakUI to repair the Fonts folder. If you turn font smoothing off, this Fonts folder problem will not recur.
Many thanks to Jay Tomford for spotting this solution.
When I select the Appearance tab on the Options screen, I get a General Protection Fault along the lines of "TFT caused a general protection fault in module MACXW4.DRV at xxxx:xxxxxxxx".
The font viewing colour selection drop-downs on the Appearance tab seem to trigger a problem with at least some video drivers for graphics card using the ATI RAGE chipset. I'm currently investigating potential solutions (I want to keep the current drop-downs if possible), but in the meantime avoid the Appearance tab!
You should also check that you are using the latest approved drivers for your graphics card, and it is often worthwhile trying the generic drivers from the chipset manufacturer (i.e. ATI) in case they give a better result than the specific drivers from the graphics card manufacturer.
When I try to create a new font collection, the program locks up. How can I fix this.
This can happen if you have a very large number of fonts installed (say 800 or more). In this scenario, all other functions work including adding fonts to existing collections, but the New collection function can fail. (By the way, in extreme cases having very large numbers of fonts installed can cause Windows itself to malfunction. Click here for a bit more information.)
Since the other program functions work normally in this situation, the way to fix the problem is to reduce the number of installed fonts. Here's one way of doing this, which moves them elsewhere so you can still use them later:
Make (or identify) a folder somewhere on your system for keeping your uninstalled fonts in.
On the Installed page, select the fonts that you don't use frequently, then copy them to the folder from the previous step using the Copy to Folder command (it's on the context menu and the File menu).
Next, uninstall the rarely used fonts from the previous step using the Uninstall command (it's on the context menu, the File menu, and the main tool bar).
By default the fonts will be deleted to the Recycle Bin when you uninstall them. Hold down Shift when choosing the Uninstall command if you want to delete them permanently.
Restart your computer.
This probably isn't strictly necessary but is definitely a good thing to do at this stage, particularly if the number of installed fonts was high enough as to cause problems in Windows itself.
Once you've reduced your installed fonts down to a more reasonable number, you should be able to create new font collections again.
Many thanks to Dean Maynard of Stingray Web Design for his detective work here!
I'm using Windows NT, and the Installed page shows the error symbol () next to a lot of my fonts. What's the problem?
Normally the error symbol means that the font's file couldn't be found, or that it was unreadable. However the error symbol has also been reported with font files on NTFS partitions where the file creation date and file modification date were 1601.
Changing the file's modification date to a "reasonable" value will get rid of the error symbols in the font list. However if the file creation date is also 1601 you should change it too, since the font may still misbehave if it's left at 1601.
You can use the NT 4 Resource Kit's Touch program to change the file modification date. However you'll need another technique (or program) if you need to change the file creation date as well. Suitable programs include:
TouchPro (shareware) from JD Design
SetFileDate (freeware) from No-Nonsense Software (NB: You'll need to change the properties on your Fonts folder first since SetFileDate doesn't show read-only or system folders)
(PS: If you know of any other good programs for setting NT file dates, let me know so I can update this page!)
Many thanks to John Gray for figuring this one out.