Problems with Fonts

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This article covers some common font problems experienced by users of NeoOffice.


[edit] Missing Styles in Some Fonts

Sometimes users report problems they have encountered with fonts or character styles. Specifically, they are not able to apply bold or italic styles when using certain fonts. Before reporting an issue, check to make sure that the font in question actually has those styles. (For example, some versions of Courier, Lucida, or Helvetica do not.)
The Accessing Helvetica Oblique and Courier Oblique page in NeoWiki explains how to check fonts to see whether they contain the desired styles.

[edit] Problems Caused by Duplicate Fonts

Sometimes problems with fonts are due to duplicate copies of the fonts. Duplicate fonts can appear by installing new software or fonts or quite simply by updating Mac OS X (version 10.4.9 seems to have caused some font duplications). Other users have experienced apparently spontaneous duplication of fonts. You might also have differing versions or multiple copies of the same font installed in different places on your Mac, e.g., in the main /Library/Fonts folder and in your user's ~/Library/Fonts folder.

One common consequence of duplicate fonts is that non-Latin characters (e.g. Cyrillic, Hebrew, or Greek) may become jumbled or are replaced with hollow boxes.

In order to resolve these problems, you can use a Mac application called Font Book. To launch that application from the Finder, choose the Go menu, then the Applications sub-menu and double-click on Font On Mac OS X 10.4, a window opens which contains the following sections:

  • Collection: lists the font libraries in your computer (usually divided up by user, but also by groups that you or the program manager created).
  • Font: lists the installed fonts.
  • The third part is a preview area where you can display the font.

In the Font section, a black dot to the right of a font name indicates that you have duplicate copies of that font family installed. To resolve this problem, simply select the duplicated font, then go to the Edit menu and click on Resolve Duplicates. You can also select all the fonts (Cmd-A) and click on Resolve Duplicates.

If you continue to have problems after resolving duplicates, try one or both of the following:

  • Select one of the problematic fonts (make sure you have All Fonts selected in the left-hand column)
  • Under the Preview menu, choose Sample or Custom and check to see if the font is correct.
    • "Sample" provides a predefined sample of letters.
    • "Custom" lets you type in any desired text (including setting a different keyboard layout).
  • Repeat with the duplicates of the same font
  • Disable or delete any corrupted font files, leaving only one font activated for each style (Bold, Italic, Regular, etc.) in a given font family.
  • Select one of the problematic fonts (make sure you have All Fonts selected in the left hand column)
  • Under the Preview menu, choose Show Font Info
  • Look through the information provided to identify the location of the font (usually /Library/Fonts/Fontname or /Users/username/Library/Fonts/Fontname.
  • If you want the font available to all user accounts, deactivate any duplicates in your users folder. (Make sure first that the font in the /Library/Fonts/Fontname is not corrupt or problematic.
  • You may also need to pay attention to such details as Version, Manufacturer and Trademark, as many companies (e.g. Microsoft) produce or use a particular unique version of fonts such as Times New Roman.


  • The same application also allows you to see if the installed fonts have bold or italic faces.
  • Other third-party font managers can have the same effect, such as Suitcase or Corel Font Navigator.
  • Every major update to OSX (i.e. one that changes the version number at all) will automatically reenable all your disabled fonts, so in Font Book or equivalent app) it's worth setting up a new 'keep disabled' collection and adding to it all the fonts you want to keep disabled - then after you update OSX, you can simply select all the fonts in the 'keep disabled' collection and disable them all at once.

[edit] Problems when using Arabic and Indic script languages

NeoOffice, like all Mac applications (other than Mellel), requires fonts to have special AAT instructions (not usually found in "generic" fonts) in order to use the fonts when writing in scripts which need complex layout analysis (e.g. Arabic, Indic). If the font does not have AAT instructions (like most Windows TTF or OTF fonts), characters will not be shaped or connected, ligatures will not appear correctly, and glyphs will not be reordered.

Mac OS X includes Geeza Pro as its default AAT Arabic script font. The following AAT Arabic fonts are also available using an “Additional Fonts” package: Al-Bayan, Baghdad, DecoType Naskh, Kufi Standard GK, and Nadeem. (If you install Classic and the Arabic Language Kit for Classic, Amir, Asfhan, Kamran, Mashad, and NadeemP are also available.) Mac OS X fonts for Indic scripts are Devanagari MT, Gujarati MT, Gurmukhi, and InaiMathi (10.4 only). Third-party AAT fonts for other Indic scripts are also available.

See the Alternative Fonts article for sources of other fonts that have the AAT instructions required by these scripts.

[edit] Related Articles

Alternative Fonts
Problems with the Symbol font, Greek text, or bullets in Word documents
Accessing Helvetica Oblique and Courier Oblique
Troubleshooting Tips (duplicate fonts)

[edit] Related Threads at Trinity

Problems with Cyrillic characters

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