Just yesterday, out of sheer desperation, I called out for a font management solution for Windows. One that was fast, easy, and supported OpenType. Today, I found the solution, and to my surprise it’s the program I’ve been using all along!
Bitstream Font Navigator 5
I have used Bitstream Font Navigator 4.0 for ages. It’s worked flawlessly. The left pane shows all your fonts, or allows you to browse, the right pane shows installed fonts. You can drag and drop between the two panes. Bottom left holds font groups, and bottom right holds a preview. Fantastic. So much the more pain that Font Navigator 4 didn’t support OpenType.
I looked on Bitstreams website for updates, but the product had been discontinued. I thought that meant the end of using Font Navigator, so I started looking at other solutions. I tried Font Expert 2004 and Typograf, the latter which was the best of the choices. Neither was nowhere near Font Navigator.
While searching, however, I found that Corel had purchased Font Navigator from Bitstream, and to my joy had continued developing it! Only, it was part of their CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, and had been so since Bitstream sold it to them.
It is ironic, that the best font management solution on the Windows platform, ever, can only be obtained as a secondary sub-product of the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite. Such a product deserves a packshot and a price tag.
Fortunately, a trial download of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is available, and Font Navigator 5.0 build 118 is included. Even better, the version of Font Navigator 5 that comes along with this trial seems to have no limitations whatsoever. Once downloaded, Bitstream Font Navigator 5 resides in the “Utilities” section of the installer. On the downside, you have to open a free account at Corel, and download a whopping 186 mb trial version of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, only to get 700 K worth of font management. But it is worth it. So go. Go now!
Features of Font Navigator 5
Just to add further incentive to going through this hassle, Bitstream Font Navigator 5 sports the following features.
- Postscript Type 1 & 3, OpenType and TrueType support
- The ability to cycle through fonts for quick preview
- Drag & drop installation / uninstallation of fonts
- Ability to create font groups
- “Find-as-you-type” font list search
- No “Time-Out”—Software will work forever
So is this shebang free? Well, for all I can tell, it certainly seems so. For one, it is officially available in a trial download. Secondly, while the main applications of the trial are definately limited, Font Navigator seems to have no restrictions at all. Too good to be true? Let’s hope not.