The main idea behind FontBase is font activation/deactivation. The usual behavior when you are using fonts without a font manager, is that they are basically copied into your system fonts folder and stay there forever, even if used once. After some time, you'll have a whole lot of fonts in your system fonts folder, and this will lead to overall system performance drops and long app loading times.
With FontBase instead, you can simply add fonts to it, and activate/deactivate them when you really need to use them in your design projects or apps. They stay deactivated all the time and are not using any of your system's resources. You can also use the FontBase auto-activation feature, so when a font is missing in your design document, it will be automatically activated.
We use a single-step straightforward installer, so you don't need to make hard choices and click a lot of buttons during installation. Simply run the installer and when FontBase finishes installation it will launch automatically. The default installation path for Mac is in the
Apps directory and for Windows it's
C:/Users/USERNAME/AppData/Local/Programs/FontBase. All the local user data is saved at
~/Library/Application Support/FontBase on Mac and
C:/Users/USERNAME/AppData/Roaming/FontBase on Windows. If you want to reset FontBase to its default state, you can simply delete the directory with the local data. Please note, that you will lose all your collections and settings if you do so.
On the first launch, FontBase will be empty and have no fonts in it. The app will suggest you add your system fonts or drag and drop a folder with fonts, to start using them. When you add any fonts to the app, by default, they are copied to the FontBase root folder, which is by default located at
/Users/USERNAME/FontBase on Mac, and
C:/Users/USERNAME/FontBase on Windows. So, if you want to add any fonts to the app, you can simply copy them to this folder, too. When you add your system fonts, as the app suggests at the first startup, they will be also simply copied into that folder, so when you install new fonts manually, they will not be displayed in FontBase. To enable this feature, you need to use the Watched folders setting, which is described further below.
After you have added some fonts, you already can search for fonts, explore the specimen page, organize your fonts into collections, apply different styles, and much more. When you need to use some fonts in other apps, you simply need to enable them, by clicking on the grey circle near a font's name. When the circle becomes green, the font is ready to use in any of your apps.
All the fonts are added to FontBase in an inactive state. To activate a font, you need to click on the circle at the left side of the font's name. Most of the apps (Photoshop, Sketch and other) should recognize the activation immediately and display the newly activated fonts in the font list right after the activation. If your app for some reason does not display the activated font immediately, try relaunching it.
All the fonts activated in FontBase are active until FontBase is open. When you close the app, all the fonts are deactivated: this way you can easily deactivate all the fonts you have used during your work. When you launch FontBase the next time, all the fonts, that were active before you closed the app, will be re-activated again and you can start using them.
To create a collection, you need to click the New collection field, below the collections list, type a name, and press
Enter. A new empty collection will be added and displayed immediately, ordered alphabetically.
To add fonts to a collection, select some fonts on the right font preview panel, and start dragging them. The collections, where any fonts can be added, will be highlighted with green color. Position your mouse over a collection, and stop dragging, when you are ready to add the fonts: they will be added to the collection under your mouse immediately after you drop them.
To remove fonts from a collection, select some fonts, when inside a collection, and start dragging them. A panel with a trash can icon will appear on the right side of the font preview panel. Simply drag the fonts over that panel and drop them. They will be removed from the current collection immediately.