Too many fonts?

Question: Microsoft Word has all kinds of fonts, which is great. If you want to “Change the Icon Font” under “Display/Appearances” in the Control Panel, a lot of fonts are available with variations such as “Western”, “Mac”, “Turkish”, “Greek”. Do I need all these font variations or can I delete some of them? And if I can delete them, how do I do it?

Answer: Fonts are like dust bunnies. They seem to replicate themselves in dark corners of a hard drive. Unwanted fonts can be hard to keep off a hard drive.

Every application that’s installed seems to want to add its own set. Thankfully, there’s a fairly simple way to manage fonts under Windows 95/98/ME.

But first, let me deal with the issue of variants of the same font.

Changing from “Arial (Greek)” to “Arial (Cyrillic)” will produce little if any change in the way the font is displayed. It’s more about the extended characters available in the alphabet specified in brackets. It’s safe for English speakers to stick to the “(Western)” variations of the fonts.

According to a Microsoft spokesperson, each variation of the font “Arial”, for example, is directly integrated with the font file. In Windows 95/98, this is specified as a .TTF file. So “Arial (Greek)” cannot be removed without removing the complete Arial font file from the system.

The “Marlette” font is the only true system font needed by Windows 98. Removing the other fonts from your computer will leave you with no font choice in any applications installed.

So, while it is possible to remove all of the choices of system fonts, it is not recommended that you do.

If for some reason you need to remove a specific font file, here’s how under Windows 95/98/Me and XP.

Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel (in XP, depending on how you have it set up, you may be able to just go to Start, then Control Panel). Double-click the Fonts folder. Click the font you want to remove. To select more than one font at a time, press down and hold the CTRL key while you click each font. Once you’ve highlighted each file you want to delete, go to the File menu and click Delete. When you are asked, “Are you sure you want to delete these fonts?“, click Yes. To prevent a font from loading without removing it from the hard disk, move the font from the Fonts folder into another folder. If you need to use it, you can always move it back. You can use Windows Explorer to drag the font from the Fonts folder into another folder.) You can also use this method for troubleshooting purposes.

This will not completely uninstall the font, as registry information is not deleted (the registry is the database where Windows keeps track of everything). It will prevent the font from loading, though.

For more information on moving files, click Start, then click Help and type fonts in the box under the Index tab.

By the way, TrueType fonts have a .ttf extension. Many days ago, Windows 3.1 and Windows for Workgroups 3.11 created a pointer file with a .fot extension. In Windows 3.1 and Windows for Workgroups 3.11, .fot files can be removed from the Control Panel without affecting the .ttf files. Windows 95/98/Me/XP does not create a .fot pointer file. It uses only the .ttf file.

If you delete a .ttf file, you can get it back by reinstalling the program that put it there in the first place.

Finally, removing unneeded fonts will also help your machine boot up faster and free up space on a hard drive.

If you would like a program that helps you manage your fonts better, I’ll give you a couple of choices.
You can try a free one called The Font Thing or, if you want a commercial program that handles fonts quite well, try this one.