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Is there a way in Font Book to identify which (non-system) fonts are currently activated and required by Applications AND vice-versa which can be safely disabled (or removed from /Font folders?

Looking to significantly reduce the Font options in dropdown menu for FCPX and other Apps.

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MacOS comes with fonts installed in two locations:

/System/Library/Fonts

/Library/Fonts

The fonts in the /System location cannot be disabled**, and are required for the 'safe' rendering of all text that the interface needs.

The fonts in /Library/Fonts can all be disabled in Font Book. This location is also where some applications install fonts that they use. (Though well-behaved apps will store fonts that they need inside their bundle, so they are always available, but not shown in the font menu.)

It is possible to open a document that requires some font which is not currently enabled. Some apps may give you a warning of that fact.

** Catalina introduced a 'Supplementary' folder to the /System fonts folder, some of whose fonts can be disabled.

There are third-party font managers which offer greater degree of control and 'auto-activation', where fonts can be enabled when requested.

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  • If I were to group fonts in /Library/Fonts into folders (for easy group activation) would that cause the system any headaches? Currently they're all sitting loose at top level in that folder.
    – alexh
    Sep 23 '20 at 23:58
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    OS is fine with fonts in subfolders, but note that OS updates might then add duplicates to the original location. You can create "Collections" of fonts in Font Book, which you can enable or disable in one go, which may be a better way.
    – benwiggy
    Sep 24 '20 at 6:53
  • In Font Book, does the Computer collection in the sidebar = the essential /System fonts and the User collection show fonts that can be disabled?
    – alexh
    Sep 26 '20 at 4:34
  • The 'Computer' Collection is those in /Library/Fonts. The 'User' collection is those stored in <user>/Library/Fonts, which is another location for adding fonts only accessible to that user. A quick test reveals that FontBook won't disable some of the Computer fonts, but one solution is to create a /Library/Fonts (disabled) folder, and move anything you don't want to that.
    – benwiggy
    Sep 26 '20 at 8:21

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