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The New Font Control Panel in Windows 7

In Windows 7, a new Font Control Panel gives you a way to view and manage your fonts. To view fonts in the Control Panel, select ‘Control Panel’ from the ‘Start’ menu, then select ‘Appearance and Personalization’ and then ‘Fonts’. (Shortcut: press the Windows key, type ‘fonts’ and press Enter.)

Here is the default view in the Font Control Panel:

Control Panel - Appearance and Personalization - Fonts

Showing and Hiding Fonts

In the screenshot above, there are some fonts which appear grayed-out. Based on your keyboard settings, Windows 7 hides fonts it thinks you won't need. Your keyboard settings determine the languages you use to input text. For example, Thai fonts will only be shown if you have a Thai keyboard installed. To manually show/hide fonts, click the ‘show/hide’ button. This button will appear next to ‘organize’ anytime you have a font selected.

Some applications will display all of your fonts in the font menu, even if the fonts are labelled as hidden in the control panel. If you are using an application, such as WordPad, which hides fonts and you open a document which uses fonts that are hidden, the fonts will automatically become available. Hiding a font may remove it from the font menu, but it will still be available for rendering text.

To adjust whether fonts are automatically hidden, click on ‘Font settings’ in the left column of the control panel. This will bring up the following dialog:

Control Panel - Fonts - Settings

If you uncheck the box ‘Hide fonts based on language settings’, all fonts will show. When the box is checked, fonts will be hidden if an appropriate keyboard is not available.

Font Families

Individual fonts appear differently from font families. A font family contains several individual fonts (such as regular, italic, bold and bold italic). Cambria, the font on the right, is a font family.

Font Icons

If you double-click on a font family icon, the Font family details screen will appear:

Font Icons

Font Details view

The font details view is shown below. To get to the font details view, choose ‘Details’ from the drop-down menu in the upper right of the Font Control Panel. In the font details view you can see a variety of attributes for each font installed. Most of the information displayed comes from metadata within the font files. In some cases, metadata may not be available.

Font Icons

The ‘Show/hide’ column tells whether a font will be visible in application font menus (Note: not all applications honor this setting).

The ‘Designed for’ column lists the primary writing script for which the font was designed. A font designed for Japanese may contain Latin characters, but it will only be listed as designed for Japanese if that is the primary intent of the font.

Fonts which ship with Microsoft products will have an entry listed in the ‘Category’ column. Fonts are classified in one of four categories: Display, Text, Informal, or Symbol/Pictograph.

The ‘Font embeddability’ column displays information on embedding permissions set within the font file. This determines whether and how a font may be embedded in a document.

Last updated 21 October 2009.


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