Windows

Download an extension to learn more about Windows XP fonts

If you're curious to learn more about the fonts on your Windows XP machine, there's a free and handy extension that will give you the scoop. It also helps you see which fonts are already on your machine.

The Fonts folder, located in the Control Panel, provides a number of features you can use to keep track of the fonts installed on your Windows XP system. For example, on the View menu, you'll find the List Fonts By Similarity command, which gives you a unique way to organize your fonts, and the Hide Variations command, which makes it easier to quickly discern available fonts by showing only one font from each family.

This blog post is also available in PDF format in a TechRepublic download.

If you want to add more features to the Fonts folder, you can download the newest version (2.30) of the Font properties extension from Microsoft's typography page.

After you download and install this extension, the number of tabs on each font's properties dialog box will jump from 2 to 11, with each tab providing all kinds of information about the font. The information contained on these 11 tabs includes very detailed descriptions of each font, links to the font vendors and font designers, legal information, such as ownership, copyright, trademark, license, and embedding permissions, as well as technical information about the font.

Note: This tip is for both Windows XP Home and Professional.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

48 comments
bproman
bproman

Thanks for the information and instructions which were easy to read and understand. Even easier to apply and load the information onto my machine. Thanks again.

bproman
bproman

Just read the article and apply the information. Viola, it works. I love it when it works.

wb8mwr
wb8mwr

It was too hard to identify the actual download link. Author was addressing topic and then said to add additional... and that was a link. Impression was this was info beyond the basic topic. Why not just mark page with an "INSTAL NOW" or "DOWNLOAD" button? .... Also, thread listings were almost all the same. Person on dial up MUST read all of them! That takes a lot of time.

seanferd
seanferd

If you want to add more features to the Fonts folder, you can download the newest version (2.30) of the Font properties extension from Microsoft?s typography page. Maybe it's just me, but I find that a link with the name of the item in the link text is sort of obvious. It is a widely used convention on the internet, so be on the lookout for such links. Hover the mouse over the link, and the browser status bar tells you what the actual link is - http://www.microsoft.com/typography/TrueTypeProperty21.mspx - which is also fairly indicative as to what is at the other end of the link. "INSTALL NOW" or "DOWNLOAD" would tend to indicate that the file is hosted at this site, which it isn't, and may even have legal ramifications. ".... Also, thread listings were almost all the same. Person on dial up MUST read all of them! That takes a lot of time." Yeah, a lot of people, when using the response box at the bottom of the article, don't change the default title. I see you didn't either. ;) You don't have to read all of them, but to make it easier on a dial-up connection, or just for ease of viewing, you can click on the "Print/View All Posts" link, which will load all comments at once. It's in the light grey divider below the article or any individual comment. I hope this info makes things a little easier on you.

joeblotnik49
joeblotnik49

Or you could use WordPerfect (I still use WP8, about 6 years old) which shows you the font as you run the cursor over it's name....

john3347
john3347

I use "Rockford" font, which does not come standard with any OS that I've used, as my standard day-to-day document font. I have had more than one night school (continuing education) instructor compliment the readability of my papers written in that font. I install this as a step in setting up a new computer, then, as time permits, I uninstall a large number of fonts and save them in a folder I create in "My Documents". I also have 5000 or so additional fonts in this same folder that I install a few of and play with on occasion. I normally do not keep more than 100 or so fonts installed. (and most of these are never used) I only use about a dozen fonts for 99% of my work.

ArnieD
ArnieD

I have a computer that was installed a few years ago. How can I get the Rockford font you mention? How can I install fonts (other than those in the XP software) on my computer? I'd LOVE to get a reply.

john3347
john3347

Arnie, I suppose Giggle would work, but personally I loath Giggle. Just enter the search word "fonts" into whatever search engine you prefer and you will have a dozen or so sites that offer thousands of free fonts that you will be able to download. Just avoid the paid ones unless they have a certain font that you require for some special need. You download them, either individually or as a group and save them to a file. I create a file named -- guess what? -- "Fonts". You can drag them individually to the "fonts" folder in "Windows" as you wish to install them. You can also drag unused installed fonts to this newly created folder to save a few seconds boot time if you wish. I placed this "Fonts" folder under "MY Documents", but you can place it almost anywhere you wish.

Lovs2look
Lovs2look

Just google Rockford font and take your pick of sites that have this font available for download. Then download the font to your PC (most times it will be zipped) unzip it to your PC somewhere, then open the fonts folder on your PC and choose install font...point it to where you unzipped Rockford and voila! the font is now on your system.

ginmemphis
ginmemphis

Curiousity isn't very useful. I'm more interested in using fonts, not learning properties/history. Does anyone know of a program that will display/print a sample of all installed fonts at once? I have programs that display samples, but they print each one separately. For comparison it would be helpful to see all at once.

core5fedora
core5fedora

As with most anything, the bigger-picture of your interests will determine whether this tool might benefit you. If You're a Web Developer, then this could be your best friend for determining PRECISELY what different font-families look like, as you preview them-- with NO NEED TO INSTALL a specialized desktop application-- the server is responsive-- its fast to load, and the basic html concept WORKS IN ANY BROWSER i've tried. What's more, any app which can render html should be able to take advantage of it (i.e. your local server, or IDE setup, maybe?) Although it is designed to work as a "Mozilla Sidebar" (i.e. Opera Panel, Firefox Add-on Sidebar, etc.), since it's plain HTML, you can load it in Internet Explorer too-- and still benefit from its key feature: type in some text, select from the "common fonts", and proceed to tweak to your delight-- comparing browsers, etc., till you feel confident about your selection. (well, that's how i do it. hee hee! i might have used it once or twice... hhehe) The root site hosting it is "NoviceNotes.Net", but the direct link is: http://novicenotes.net/wp-content/special/commonfonts.php (the guy has styled the thing rather poorly, but it does what it was designed to do , very well, i think) It appears to be based on the mscorefonts redistributable package (mscorewebfonts (sp?) a MicroSoft, BION, contribution to standards in typography for the web "back in th' day", and most people still follow that list today! after all, that core set of TTF's has been available for Linux for many years [unsure of mac-- better ask Eimma Pea See-- for confirm. if you check sourceforge for mscorefonts, i reckon you'll be pleased )

plandok
plandok

Word will show you samples of each font when you select the font name from the tool bar. Draw up a sample sheet and highlight all the words/letter. Then select the font you want and apply. Print. You may have to check a setting in the Setup/Options to allow the samples to show.

im4nra
im4nra

I have successfully used http://members.ozemail.com.au/~scef/tft.html to view and manage my fonts in XP I don't know if it will work with Vista. I like it because you can view single fonts or multiples, you can type he text you want to use to display, and change the size of the display.

jd
jd

Works on Vista, using compatibility mode, but only on True Type fonts.

stephen_r1937
stephen_r1937

I would like to know where to download this extension. You describe it and provide a way to talk about it. I don't really want to talk about it, I want to install it.

n2iph
n2iph

This is written as if the Font Extensions utility only works with XP, but on Typography download page on Microsoft's site it states XP or later. I installed on a Vista machine and it works fine.

js
js

How do I figure out what version I need?

eileens_uk
eileens_uk

It would've been good if he had explained where/how to get the extension downloaded.

imsoscareed
imsoscareed

He did. Use the hyperlink that is embedded in the article. it says "Microsoft?s typography page" and is colored blue.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I don't really pay much attention to fonts, but it is very important feature for many. What fonts have you acquired lately? Do you have a preferred source for finding fonts?

library assistant
library assistant

I keep only the fonts that come with XP installed. Anything else, I put in a folder on an external drive. If I need them, I install them then uninstall them when I'm done. The application I use fonts in mostly is Paint Shop Pro from Corel, and with that program, I don't have to install the font to use it. I just open the font (double click and the preview comes up), and minimize it. When I then click on the text tool, the font will show up in the dropdown of available fonts. I wish other programs did that too. There are many places to get free TTF fonts. My favorite is a yahoo group called fontpacks. There isn't a lot of mail; every so often the list owner will send out a link to a zip file of free fonts he has collected. I am going to get a font manager as soon as I decide which one; I had a shareware one that quit working. I just need something that will allow me to see the preview of all the fonts I have (which is now over 18,000 - some are probably duplicates which is another reason I want a font manager). I keep my fonts in a folder with subfolders that are labeled alphabetically by name. I keep some specialty fonts (such as dings, ornamental, handwriting), and those I purchased, in separate folders.

heavener
heavener

If you want to use a font for a specific project (say as a graphic in Photoshop) is double click the font to display it (from anywhere). As long as it's displayed (any version of Windows), it's in memory and available for use. Close the font window and it stops being available and takes no more memory. That way, you can keep to the basics and still use those once in a lifetime fonts, without bloating the system. It may no longer be true that Windows will "stop" working when it reaches 5000 fonts in the Fonts folder, due to not having anymore handles, but each font loaded at boot-up (i.e. in the Fonts folder) eats up memory and slows everything down. Of course, if you DO USE a specialty font this way, remember to open it up again whenever you need to edit the data file. Otherwise, you'll get the missing font error.

ginmemphis
ginmemphis

Lists of Microsoft fonts supplied with windows & applications are at www.microsoft.com/typography/fonts/ I wouldn't delete any default fonts, though. You might have problems with documents from other people. If you have a gazillion fonts (give or take a zillion) delete odd ones you've installed and never used.

Histrion2
Histrion2

Can anyone point me towards a list of the "basic" fonts that come with the various versions of Windows and M$ Office? Is there such a list on Wikipedia or something? I'd like to know which fonts I should be sure *not* to delete from my Fonts folder.

seanferd
seanferd

but I've been known to go looking for odd fonts, just for kicks. Way back, I found a Vorlon (Babylon 5) font. I've never found a screen font that I would prefer for daily use over default installed fonts, however.

tony
tony

I recall some years ago maybe WIN3.1 O/S era, that a ruse to speedier Startup was to place fonts seldom or never used into a folder. This cut down the time that the font registration is used up at startup. The fonts in the folder still available for use for specific purposes, design,graphics etc. It may well be that this will not apply with MS XP. Any ideas please ?

Slayer_
Slayer_

And never again, there is no performance hit between 1 font and 10million fonts, except for maybe file system degredation.

Lovs2look
Lovs2look

And my start up times are pretty good. I also have 2GB of RAM, so that probably helps. I certainly do not use all these fonts everyday, but I might want to one day...

seanferd
seanferd

Generally, with XP era or later systems, the suggestion is just "don't install buckets of fonts". Don't quote me here, but something like 130 installed fonts and above may start to have an effect on the system. I'm sure that this depends on other factors like installed memory. Don't remember where I saw that number, and it may have absolutely no bearing on reality. :)

btljooz
btljooz

Hey, TR, where did the option go to NAME OUR OWN TITLE?!? end rant. Msg EDITED to CUSTOMIZE my title. ;) I have over 6000 fonts that I've collected through the years. (M$ advises that one only installs 2000 fonts on any one machine for 'stabilization of the OS'.) It's REALLY NICE to have a font that can dress up a message I'm trying to convey when I do a 'sign' and/or work with graphics. All I have to do is pull out my backup CD, find what I want, install it and USE it. If I want to keep it, I do. If not, then I delete it after I have no more use for it. NP :p

kermad1
kermad1

How can I change th fonts on my HP Photosmart printer?

deepsand
deepsand

Post that question in the Questions forum. Here, no one's going to see it.

guy.vago
guy.vago

I would like to know the last time a font was accessed by a program so i can delete unused fonts.

iamschatz
iamschatz

What advantage is there to know more about "fonts" and who really cares?

TBBrick
TBBrick

would have any interest in that. The rest of us, well...

timmartin370
timmartin370

Would like to know if this art. applies to Vista too.

Realvdude
Realvdude

MS page says XP or later. There is also a older version for 9x up to XP.

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