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Garbled Font Fix: Corrupt Font Cache

GarbledFonts-Corrupt.gif

This post includes a fix for one source of garbled fonts in Mac OS X. For other fixes check out our special Garbled Fonts Troubleshooting Guide.

The Problem: Safari, Entourage or other applications show unfamiliar characters overlapping each other. If you're seeing garbled text similar to our example above, it is most likely caused by a corrupt font cache file.

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The Fix: The best fix for this type of font problem is to clear all your font cache files and restart your Mac. There are various programs that you can use to easily delete font caches. Three are profiled below. If you are looking for a quick fix, FontNuke is free and covers everything but QuarkXPress 6.

FontNuke (Free - requires Mac OS X 10.4)
Mac OS X Font Cache: Yes
Adobe temp font files: Yes
QuarkXPress 6.x font cache: No
Microsoft Office font cache: Yes

Font Finagler ($10 Shareware)
Mac OS X Font Cache: Yes
Adobe temp font files: No
QuarkXPress 6.x font cache: No
Microsoft Office font cache: No

Smasher from Insider Software ($49.95)
Mac OS X Font Cache: Yes (works in demo version)
Adobe temp font files: Yes
QuarkXPress 6.x font cache: Yes
Microsoft Office font cache: Yes

More details: Corrupt Font Cache

Font caches have become a real headache for Mac OS X users. When fonts are activated they are cached for use. Some of these font caches are handled by the OS and some of these font caches are handled by the applications themselves. In either case it is very easy for individual cache files to become corrupt, causing this common display annoyance.

If you are experiencing problems in a specific appliation (Microsoft Entourage for example), you'll want a tool that clears the font caches for that application as well as the general Mac OS X font caches.

Additional Corrupt Font Cache Resources:

CreativeTechs Tip: The Fix for Garbled Text in Entourage Email!

CreativeTechs Tip: Fix Garbled Fonts in Safari, Explorer or Mail.

Font Geek: Dealing with Jumbled Fonts in Your Browser and E-mail Programs.

Adobe TechNote: How to rebuild a corrupt font cache on a Macintosh.

Source: Special thanks for the valuable contributions from an excellent article by Benjamin Levisay on the Font Geek website.

Comments

FontNuke 1.0.7 now supports removal of QuarkXPress font cache files.

http://homepage.mac.com/jpietry/apps/fontnuke/

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