FontExplorer X 1.0.1

Full-featured font-management application

Linotype joined the font management fray from a different perspective than Extensis and Insider Software: Instead of selling an application to help wrangle your fonts into submission, it gives FontExplorer X 1.0.1 away for free and includes an easy way to purchase fonts from inside the program. Even though Linotype doesn’t charge for FontExplorer X, it’s still a full-featured, professional font-management application.

Font Explorer X supports auto-activation in many applications, including Illustrator and InDesign CS and CS2. It offers the flexible font-organization capabilities you expect in products you pay for, such as font groups and subgroups, smart font lists, and font previews, and it also includes a system font group that lets you deactivate system fonts when necessary.

With Font Explorer X, Linotype hopes that you’ll use the built-in shopping cart to purchase new fonts. If you need to purchase a new font for a project, you can use FontExplorer X to find, pay for, and download the font. The first time you use the shopping cart, it helps you set up a Linotype account to manage your credit card and transaction information. After that, purchasing new fonts only takes a few mouse clicks.

Despite the feature set FontExplorer X offers, it does have a few limitations. First, there’s no network or group collaboration support. Second, there’s no Windows version, although one is in development. Finally, if Linotype doesn’t see a suitable return on its investment, it could drop the product sometime down the road.

Despite these limitations, FontExplorer X is a capable font manager and a nice alternative for designers who either can’t afford competing products or who work in agencies that won’t spring for another product.—Jeff Gamet

FROM Linotype

HOT Great price; includes font shopping cart
NOT No Windows version; no network support