Font Menu Problems

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My fonts are not appearing correctly on the font menu or in documents

If your fonts are not appearing correctly in the font menu or in documents (“garbled” is a common term for this) then one of the best solutions is to clear your font cache. Depending upon your system and application programs, this may entail deleting multiple font cache files.

A font cache file is made up of files used by the operating system and certain applications to keep track of what fonts are installed. If the font cache gets corrupted a variety of problems can ensue, including fonts not appearing in the font list in an application, or wrong fonts (or missing fonts) in documents.

How do I clear the font cache?

The best approach is to delete the font cache file(s). It’s OK to delete these files, as they will automatically be restored once your system is restarted, or when you relaunch an application.

Windows
The Windows operating system has a font cache file that is located here:
C:\Windows\System32\FNTCACHE.DAT
Delete this file, and restart your system. A new FNTCACHE.DAT file will be created on startup.

Mac OS X
The Mac OS X operating system has numerous font cache files. The easiest way to automatically reset all the font cache files in Mac OS X 10.4 (“Tiger”) and later is to restart in Safe Mode (also known as a “Safe Boot”):
• Shut the computer off.
• Press the power button.
• Immediately after hearing the startup tone, hold down the SHIFT key.
• Release the SHIFT key after the Apple logo and spinning gear (progress indicator).
• Restart the computer without holding down any keys.
For older Mac OS X versions, or to manually remove the font cache files, they are found here:
• com.apple.ATS.System.fcache
• com.apple.ATSServer.FODB_System
• /Library/Caches/com.apple.ATS
• /Library/Caches/com.apple.ATS/501/Classic.fcache
• /Library/Caches/com.apple.ATS/501/Local.fcache
• /Library/Caches/com.apple.ATS/501/System.fcache
• /Library/Caches/com.apple.ATS/501/FondResourceCache
• /Library/Preferences folder: com.apple.ATS.plist
• /System/Library/Caches/com.apple.ATS.System.fcache
• /System/Library/Caches/fontTablesAnnex

Application Font Caches:
Mac Office
\Users\User_name\Library\Preferences\Microsoft – delete the “Office Font Cache (10)” or “Office Font Cache (11)” file.

Adobe Acrobat, Creative Suite
Search your computer for “adobefnt*.lst” file(s). Delete all these files. (note that this works on both Mac OS X and Windows systems)

Macintosh Font Utilities:
The following software programs can be helpful to clear the font cache:
FontNuke
Font Finagler
Smasher