• Price: 61 . 35

  • Company: Extensis

  • Pros: Excellent font management tools that help you find what you need.

  • Cons: No support for older versions of Mac OS X, InDesign, Illustrator or QuarkXPress.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

Fusion 2 has dozens of other helpful features: you can view fonts by family, drag-copy fonts to the desktop, create new sets by dragging font folders onto the application's window or Dock icon, temporarily add fonts by dragging them onto the Dock icon, categorize and search for fonts by dozens of criteria, and more.

Although you can tell Suitcase to access font files on your hard drive, the safer approach is to let it copy all your fonts into its Font Vault, where only one copy of each font can exist. Besides eliminating duplicates, this also avoids any confusion caused by users moving font files around in the Finder. Fonts are checked for basic corruption as you add them to Suitcase, but Extensis also includes the FontDoctor utility from Morrison SoftDesign. Extensis strongly recommends that you use FontDoctor to clean up your font collection before importing fonts into Suitcase.

I had some difficulty adding fonts that Suitcase flagged as corrupt, or fonts that were missing printer font files. Although Suitcase gave me a choice of either "Don't Add" or "Add In-Place" (which keeps the fonts outside the vault, but still lets you activate them), the second option didn't work for me. The fonts were then listed as being in the vault, so there was no easy way to determine which ones were considered damaged. I hope Extensis fixes that problem, because it makes it impossible to deal with damaged fonts.

In order to upgrade from Fusion 1 to Fusion 2, you'll need to be running Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard). However, Fusion 2 doesn't include plug-ins for some older programs, such as Adobe Creative Suite 2 or QuarkXPress 6, so upgrading means losing your plug-in capabilities in those application versions, if you're still using them. Conversely, if you use Adobe Creative Suite 4 or QuarkXPress 8, you must upgrade to Fusion 2 if you want to use its auto-activation plug-ins--the previous version of Fusion doesn't have plug-ins for those newer apps. This can be confusing or inconvenient for some users.

If you don't need to share a font library across a workgroup and you're looking for a font management utility, Fusion 2 has plenty of unique features to get excited about. It adds and activates fonts in a snap and you can preview your fonts on your actual layout. Its Glyph View palette helps you explore your fonts, and Smart Sets make it easy to organize fonts by any criteria you like.