Review: FontXChange: Elegant & Simple Font Conversion

For years, I’ve been a fan of FontDoctor, from MorrisonSoft. If you had misbehaving fonts causing weird app behavior, slowdowns and glitches, it was (and still is) the app to have. Recently, MorrisonSoft has changed their name to FontGear Inc., but I’m happy to say that the quality of the software remains the same, as evidenced by FontXChange, a slick little app that allows you to easily translate your existing fonts into the type of fonts you need. FontXChange takes what could be a daunting task and reduces it to a few simple mouse clicks. It’s elegant and simple, the way Mac software ought to be.
If you’ve ever ventured beyond the confines of FontBook, the Mac OS X font manager, you know it’s a bit of a jungle out there. You have older PostScript fonts, you have modern TrueType fonts and you have Adobe’s one-size-fits-all OpenType fonts. You have fonts which are supposed to have screen-optimized versions but often don’t. You have fonts which are usable by one app but not another. It’s a giant headache and the more computers you have to deal with, the larger the headache becomes. What you need is something to turn whatever you have into whatever you need and basically, that’s what FontXChange does.

Usability of FontXChange

Simply drag a font into the main, specify whether it’s for Windows or Mac and then choose your desired font type, OpenType, TrueType or PostScript type 1. Hitting the “Convert Fonts” button makes a new font faster than you can say, “You mean it’s done?” In my informal testing, individual fonts converted in around 1-2 seconds. Now that’s fast.

It’s also incredibly easy to use. Left in its automatic mode, FontXChange will automatically select the proper type of font encoding for the job at hand. At the same time, it allows encoding to be set manually should you need that option. It offers batch processing, which doesn’t sound like a sexy feature….until you need a couple hundred fonts translated. Then it’s the greatest feature ever. It will even recreate missing screen fonts for your older PostScript fonts, which is really handy.

FontXChange is a joy to use. It does what you want and does it quickly, with zero drama. It’s list price of $99 may look pricey at first blush, but it’s actually less expensive than much of the competition and a mere pittance compared to the cost of re-purchasing your fonts in another format. It will also run on a variety of OSX versions from 10.3-10.5 which is a blessing for older machines.

It’s a really nice piece of software.