Helvetica Hell

I’m taking advantage of a rare lull in work to work on my font collection and get it organized — particularly in regards to Adobe phasing out support for Type 1 fonts.

Helvetica is becoming a thorn in my side. I’ve done some searching, but can’t really find a clear answer to the issue. Apple has a limited collection of Helvetica and Helvetica Neue in the System / Library / Fonts. From my research, it seems like you absolutely do not want to mess with the fonts in this folder. The first issue is that this is not a complete Helvetica or Helvetica Neue family, and I really need to have the complete families installed.

I have a very old version of Helvetica and Helvetica Neue families in the Library / Fonts folder. These are Type 1 fonts. Adobe apps can be a little buggy with these, especially with the versions of Helvetica / Helvetica Neue installed in the System / Library / Font folder, and Apple’s Font Book throws up conflict notices about these.

This really boils down to two questions.

First, what do / did you do to get the complete Helvetica / Helvetica Neue families in a non-Type 1 format. I was hoping they’d be available via Adobe’s CC fonts, but I don’t see it. I’m not inclined to use cheap / pirated / knockoff fonts. That makes it look like my only option is to spend $800 for a TrueType or OpenType version of the families. If this is what I have to do, it’s what I have to do. But there are a whole lot of other things I’d rather do with $800 than buy a new version of the font that I had to buy years ago. Any suggestions or do I just need to bit the bullet?

Second, assuming I buy the complete Helvetica / Helvetica Neue families in TrueType or OpenType, how does one handle the conflict between the non-complete families Apple installed in System / Library / Fonts and the complete families that I’d install? I tried to disable Apple’s version via Font Book, but that didn’t work. Any suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated.

Bonus question: It appears that there are a bunch of fonts that are not required system fonts that were installed by Apple or perhaps a third party. I can delete these fonts from Font Book, but it pops up a dialogue box asking for my password to delete. This makes me a little leery of deleting these fonts. Is this anything to be concerned about or should I delete them with reckless abandon? I suppose I could simply disable the fonts, but it seems deleting them is a cleaner option if they’re fonts I know I’ll never need.

Thanks in advance for any light you can shed on the situations.

Thought I’d start at this one - Adobe is not phasing out Type 1 fonts - it’s following the suit of technology that others have already phased out Type 1 fonts.

It’s simply a technology that doesn’t work with new technology, it’s not supported in modern mobiles and modern web browsers - hence it make no sense going forward to retain that ability and then people questioning why things don’t work when published online.

Bought them

No idea.

Back up your drive and keep them somewhere just in case.

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The way Apple manages fonts in Macs has turned into a real mess. I’ve never used a font management application, but I’m seriously thinking about buying one.

The Mac font folder is full of fonts I have no use for and there’s no way to remove them or segregate them off into some unseen place. Consequently, I’m finding myself having to scroll past endless fonts in all the Adobe apps. All the Noto fonts Apple includes are really driving me nuts. There’s no way to get rid of them and I likely spend several minutes each day just scrolling by the hated things.

It seems like every time I look, new mystery fonts show up in my font folder — none of which are useful to me. The whole thing is bordering on chaos.

You mentioned Helvetica Neue. For some unknown reason, I have 14 weights and italics of that family in my fonts folder, even though I’ve never purchased them and never used them. I have no idea where they came from. Like the older Helvetica fonts, that are also there, Apple won’t allow me to remove them.

I’ve never had any hesitation about removing Apple-installed fonts that it allows me to remove. I figure if they were critical system fonts, they’d be on the list that Apple doesn’t permit to be removed. Even after removing them, though, they seem to mysteriously reappear with the next system update, along with a few dozen other unwanted fonts.


@Smurf2, thanks for the input.

@Just-B, the frustrations you described are totally in keeping with my experience. I really don’t want all of the fonts in my system that I’ll never use. As I said in my original post, you can disable them, but I’d just as soon remove them altogether. My goal is to get the fonts down to just those that are required by the OS, the font families I use on an ongoing basis, and then able / disable special fonts on an as-needed basis.

Yes, why Apple can’t give control back to people re fonts is disgraceful and sloppy programming presumably. In System/Library/Fonts/Supplemental/ there are squillions of crappy, unneeded fonts that clog up my Adobe font menus. Is it safe to remove these? I would love to be free of all this crap.

From what I can tell, it’s best not to touch the System/Library/Fonts folder. I’d assume that applies to the Supplemental folder, too. Though you might try deactivating the fonts in this folder via Font Book.

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Point of clarification: I was talking about trying to deactivate the fonts in the Supplemental folder. I don’t think you can deactivate fonts in the System/Library/Fonts folder.

I’m sure that’s right Steve. Apple could be more helpful though. It’s a huge issue scrolling through hundreds of fonts hunting for the ones you want.

There’s an app called Font Menu Cleaner that may be of use.

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Thanks, I’ll check it out.

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