Printing font samples from Font Book

Editor’s Note: The following article, which covers both Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and 10.5 Leopard, is adapted from Sharon Zardetto’s Take Control of Fonts in Leopard, a 227-page ebook that explains font locations, load order, Font Book, different installation methods, how to deal with duplicate fonts, and more. It is available for $15 from TidBits Publishing.

There are many ways you can preview your fonts in Leopard or Snow Leopard: with Quick Look in the Finder, for instance, or with one of Font Book’s choices (choose Sample, Repertoire, or Custom from FontBook’s Preview menu). But sometimes nothing beats printed versions of fonts so you can peruse your fonts the way most people will see them: on paper.

Font Book provides three different types of font-sample printouts (as seen in “Font Book’s Printed Samples” below):

  • Waterfall: This traditional font-sample option prints lines of alphanumerics in ever-increasing size. You can choose to include font details (family name, kind, and so on) for each font, and specify which font sizes you’d like included.
  • Repertoire: Be careful with this one, since it prints a grid of every glyph (character shape) in a font, and some fonts have thousands! You can set the glyph size.
  • Catalog: This prints a sample of letters and numbers in a font. You can set the font size and choose to group typefaces under the font family’s name.

Font Book’s Printed Samples: From top to bottom, the samples are Waterfall, Repertoire, and Catalog.

Printing a sample is straightforward:

  1. In Font Book, select the fonts you want printed. You must select them in the Font list; if you want to print an entire library or collection, click on its name in the Collection list, and then click in the Font list and choose Edit -> Select All (Command-A).
  2. Choose File -> Print (Command-P). If the Print dialog is collapsed, expand it to its full size by clicking the expansion arrow to the right of your printer’s name.
  3. With Font Book selected in the Print Options pop-up menu (it’s not labeled—it’s the one in the middle of the divider line just beneath the standard choices for paper size and orientation), choose a report style from the Report Type pop-up menu.
  4. Set options for the report type you’ve chosen (font or glyph size, for instance).

Since the Print dialog includes a document preview, you can flip through the pages to see what you’re getting. Be sure to check the number of pages noted below the preview, in case it’s ready to print more than you expect.

For more control over what pages finally print (Dump that page with a single line of information! Get rid of those two fonts whose familiarity has bred great contempt!), use the PDF button in the Print dialog to open a PDF in Preview before printing, and use Preview’s capabilities of deleting and reorganizing pages in a PDF document before you print it.

[Sharon Zardetto has been writing about the Macintosh professionally since 1984, with nearly a thousand articles in Macintosh magazines and over 20 books to her name, including Take Control of Fonts in Leopard from TidBits Publishing. Sharon is currently working on a Snow Leopard edition.]

This story, "Printing font samples from Font Book" was originally published by Book Excerpt.

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