Suitcase 10 for Macintosh is this year’s upgrade to the ever-popular font manager. This version was initially released for Mac OS 8.1 to 9.1, with a Mac OS X version due to follow in September, after this review was written. So far, there’s been no mention of a Windows version, which remains at version 9.0, released in October 2000. However, the separate Suitcase Server 10 has been updated. This can run on Mac OS 8.6 to 9.1 and Windows NT 4 or 2000 (with an NTFS volume required for font storage).
Extensis is hoping to boost its market share on OS X because Adobe has decided not to develop its ATM Deluxe font manager for OS X. Extensis claims that font management can be confusing in OS X, as there are four possible locations where they can reside (plus the OS 9.1 Classic environment). Suitcase 10 for OS X can solve the location problems while offering the same functions as the Classic version.
As ever, Suitcase 10 lets you organize fonts into Suitcase Sets that are stored separately from your System Fonts folder, so they don’t slow down operations when not in use. Whole sets, or individual fonts within sets, can be activated or deactivated at any time. You get a choice of permanent activation or temporary activation until the next computer restart.
New features include Auto Activation, which turns font access on when a document that contains them is opened; Activate on Demand, which lets you temporarily open fonts and resolves conflicts; Collect for Output, which copies any selected printer and screen fonts to an output folder; activation from the Mac OS control strip; contextual menus; and improved conflict handling that reports problems on a font suitcase basis and allows problems to be solved with one click.
Adobe Multiple Master fonts are now supported.
The user interface puts all important items into a single window, with controls to preview fonts (in three styles), view sets and their contents, add or delete fonts from sets and move them from one set to another, and activate or deactivate them.
Suitcase automatically adds the SuitcaseXT into the QuarkXPress XTensions folder, so when a document is opened, any missing fonts are activated automatically. A new plug-in for Adobe Illustrator can be downloaded from Extensis’ Web site.
Suitcase Server is simple to install and set up, and can serve mixed networks of Macs and Windows PCs. It runs in the background and requires TCP/IP networking (rather than AppleTalk). Five licences for Suitcase are supplied – duplicated copies are rejected on start-up. You can add existing Suitcase 9.01 or 10 copies if you have them. The Server Administrator control is used to create Server Sets of fonts and to enter the serial numbers of Suitcase copies that can access them, with optional password protection. Then you activate the synchronization control on
each workstation copy of Suitcase and set it to poll the server regularly and download any font sets that the user has subscribed to. You can also synchronize manually for an instant update if needed.
Suitcase 10 is a virtual must-have if, like many designers, you have hundreds of fonts but don’t use them constantly. The Suitcase Server is convenient for collaborative working.