Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of FontNuke?It's really no secret. FontNuke has 2 primary functions. First, FontNuke does nothing more than remove font cache files. Its as simple as that. Remove a bunch of cache files, literally. Second, FontNuke forces a system reboot, to guarantee proper font cache file recreation after the font cache files have been removed.
What is a 'font cache' file?We can break this down into two parts, 'font' and 'cache'.
I think we all know what a 'font' is, and if not...well, you probably have no business with FontNuke. But here's a quoted definition of font from wikipedia.com:
"In typography, a typeface consists of a coordinated set of glyphs designed with stylistic unity. A typeface usually comprises an alphabet of letters, numerals, and punctuation marks; it may also include ideograms and symbols, or consist entirely of them, for example, mathematical or map-making symbols. The term typeface is often conflated with font, a term which, historically, had a number of distinct meanings before the advent of desktop publishing; these terms are now effectively synonymous when discussing digital typography. A helpful and still valid distinction between font and typeface is a font's status as a discreet commodity with legal restrictions, while typeface designates a visual appearance or style not immediately reducible to any one foundry's production or proprietary control. (...)"
A cache file is defined by wikipedia.com as the following:
"(...) A simple definition of Cache would be: A temporary storage area where frequently accessed data can be stored for rapid access. (...)"
Basically, a temporary file used to (theoretically) improve the performance of fonts.
What 'font cache' file(s) are removed?
- /Library/Caches/com.apple.ATS/* (System)
- files that contain 'font cache' from ~/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/ (MSOffice)
- ~/Library/Caches/com.microsoft.browserfont.cache (MSOffice)
- ~/Library/Caches/Tasman Browser.cache (MSOffice)
- files that contain "ATSServer" from /var/tmp
- AdobeFnt.lst files on the startup disk (AdobeFnt*lst, *.lst) (System/Adobe)
- /Library/Fonts/font-cache* (System)
- /Applications/QuarkXPress 6.x/jaws/* (Quark)
- ~/Library/Preferences/Quark/QuarkXPress 7.0/jaws/* (Quark)
- files that end with ".ps" from any subdirectory of ~/Library/Preferences/Quark/
- ~/Library/Caches/Adobe (Adobe general cache)
What are some problems caused by bad 'font cache' files?
- Fonts which have been added to the system or activated with 3rd party software, do not show up in application font lists
- When multiple styles for a similar font family are active, the font displays as a different style then is selected (e.g.; Garamond-Bold is selected but displaying as Garamond-Italic)
- Text is garbled or random characters are inserted
- Text disappears entirely
- Applications stall or quit immediately after launch
- Fonts look correct on screen, but when printed:
- convert to Courier or other random fonts
- do not print at all, an error may be generated or nothing happens at all
- ...many, many more. (I will update this list as I remember/encounter scenarios.)
Why do I need to remove font cache files? Why is it a problem? What causes font cache problems?Ahh yes. The burning question indeed. I know not the sole answer, however I can provide a list of my observations and conclusions. I have deconstructed many fonts in an effort to determine the driving force behind OS X and the font related scenarios that are common for many publishing and creative users, yet still I have encountered intermittent results, making a source to the problem, almost entirely unidentifiable.
- Type 1 fonts using a common suitcase of merged styles
- Different styles of the same family contain identical and/or incomplete FOND information
- ...much more. (I have a great deal of information, yet to sort out and validate. My intermittent results with various tests complicate greatly what should produce a rather simple summary.)