Some reviews are misleading and some have silly complaints.
One complaint was that the app only works when it’s open. Well, yeah. Extensis Suitcase and FontXplorer work the same way - they are open in the background. So in order for it to be seamless, you would enable launch at startup in the System Prefs.
Another was a complaint that it is slow. For me, it’s had an immediate response, so maybe the user had other issues going on.
And yet another was that the interface is black & white. It is, but that isn’t an issue for me.
I had it up and running in seconds.
First, I should clarify that while it is free, it requires a subscription to “get more features”. These features are: super search (search based on font properties such as x-height, contrast, etc.); auto-activation (activates fonts automatically in Photoshop, Illustration, InDesign; advanced glyphs (view and copy all of the font glyphs on the specimen page… I’m not quite sure what this does); and multiple views (view in a grid). Unfortunately, a reminder to subscribe does pop up… but this only happened when I launched the program (so far). Subscriptions are $3/month or $29/year. Extensis Suitcase is $84/year and FontXplorer is $99. I have not yet subscribed… I still have 2 months left on my Suitcase subscription so I want to run that out.
If you have fonts in a Word document, Fontba.se
will not activate them automatically (neither with Extensis Suitcase). Haven’t tested this yet in Adobe apps. If you activate a font while Word is open, you will need to relaunch Word to make the font available. Same for Extensis Suitcase.
One thing I did notice is that Fontba.se
does not let you create folders within it. You can add folders from elsewhere on your drive. Reviews did say it works best when fonts are on the internal hard drive but I haven’t tested this either. Extensis Suitcase does let you make named folders… so for example, I make a folder for temp fonts on a brochure project. In Fontba.se
, I’d have to make that folder myself on my hard drive and then add it to Fontba.se
. For me, although I like the convenience of making folders within the app, this is not a dealbreaker.
I also see that Fontba.se
lets you activate or deactivate fonts. Extensis lets you do a temporary activation (fonts deactivate when you restart). I like this feature also, but again it is not a deal breaker.
So that’s my take so far.