I'm looking for ways to manage my fonts on 10.9

Just now to fix a hang in Dreamweaver CC, I used Font Book (v5.0) File --> Restore Standard Fonts... That fixed the hang, but now the font menus in all my apps are cluttered with at least 60+ fonts, most of which I will NEVER use.

I understand there are some fonts required by MacOS -- fair enough, these can't be disabled in Font Book.

Some apps have additional requirements, and these are not always clearly documented. Dreamweaver seems to need Tahoma and Verdana, maybe others.

Beyond those required by the system and my installed apps, I only need a small set of "generic" fonts, e.g. Times, Helvetica, Courier, Comic Sans, maybe a few more. (I'm a minimalist, get over it.)

Font Book preferences offers "Automatic font activation", which is described as follows: "Activate fonts on your Mac whenever they’re needed by an app, even if you haven’t installed the fonts using Font Book."

This implies that I can start with no apps active, use Font Book to deactivate ALL fonts --excepting the required ones it won't deactivate-- and make a trip through (launch) all my apps. Once that's done, I should be able to look in Font Book to see what's been activated -- in sum, all the fonts required by all my apps. Correct? Is this a safe, reliable procedure?

(Yeah, I know, some apps have private font repositories and clog up font menus using those, but that's a separate annoyance.)

What is the safest procedure to deactivate fonts to declutter font menus?


1 Answer 1


Yes, automatic font activation should be perfect for this scenario. Disable all the fonts you can then open all your apps. Apps that require certain fonts will activate the fonts that you need.

Note that you should also try some documents including PDFs as they may use additional fonts that the app itself will not ask to be activated.

  • Thanks, looked good, but: Didn't work. DW failed to provoke automatic activation of Verdana and Tahoma; would not launch until I manually activated them. Then the DW hang reappeared under similar conditions. Could DW be running old font code that doesn't support auto-activation? Then, of course, DW should have been able to tell me what additional font(s) it needed. But didn't. <heavy sigh> Further suggestions?
    – hen3ry
    Apr 17, 2014 at 0:22

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