Generate Samples Of Your Mac’s Fonts [OS X Tips]



Gotta alotta fonts installed on your Mac, but never know which you’d like to actually use in a document? Most apps show font previews on the formatting menu, but with Microsoft Word and some other apps many people turn off this feature because it massively increases start-up times. The solution is to create (and print off, if you wish) a font sample document that you can refer to whenever you want. This is very easily done on your Mac, as follows.

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Here’s another tip from Mac Kung Fu, which contains over 300 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for OS X. It’s available from Amazon as well as other bookstores, and also as an eBook for all eReaders.

If you’ve got a lot of fonts installed on the system, you may find it helpful to create a sample document displaying them all. Lots of professional designers rely on binders full of such printed examples.

An AppleScript will do the job. Start by opening the Font Book application, which is the Mac font manager (Finder->Applications->Font Book). Highlight any or all the fonts you want to include in the sample document. Then open Finder, hit Shift + Command + G , and type /Library/Scripts/Font Book. Then double-click Create Font Sample.scpt. This will open the script in AppleScript Editor, but don’t worry; all you need do is click the green Run button on the program’s toolbar. This will open a TextEdit document, and, slowly but surely, it will be filled with samples of each font you selected earlier. Once it’s finished, quit AppleScript Editor and then save and/or print the new TextEdit document as required.

UPDATE: With the help of Cult of Mac reader Deborah’s comment below, I’ve updated the script so that it pops-up a dialog box asking for a sentence or paragraph which it will then use to create the font sample document. The new script can be downloaded here and can be used in exactly the same way as described above–download it, open Font Book, double-click the new script, then click the Run button in AppleScript Editor.