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CS4 Font Installation

When you install the Creative Suite, or any stand alone CS application (such as InDesign), a collection of Adobe fonts is also installed on your system. Prior to CS3, you may have noticed that there are certain fonts that only appear in the font menus of your Adobe applications. This is because in previous versions of the Creative Suite, the fonts were installed in a non-default directory. Here is the system location for that directory on both platforms:

Mac OS X: /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Fonts

Windows XP/Vista: :\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Fonts

Before CS3, in order to use these fonts in any non-Adobe applications, such as Microsoft Word or–dare I say–QuarkXPress, you had to move them into a default font directory on your system. Or if you use a font management application such as Suitcase Fusion, Suitcase For Windows, or Linotype Font Explorer, you had to place the fonts into your managed database, or point the font manager to the directory listed above.

Starting with CS3, the fonts were installed in the default directory for both platforms:

Mac OS X: /Library/Fonts

Windows XP/Vista: :\Windows\Fonts

This install location gives every user account access to the fonts, and allows each user to work with them in any application. It is not necessary to move the fonts manually as with previous versions of the Suite.

Fonts are software, and therefore evolve just like your applications do. As they are updated, new versions are made available. These updates can include better spacing, kerning, and even design. Most of the fonts installed with CS4 are newer versions of fonts installed by CS3. If the installer locates old versions of these fonts in the default directory, it uninstalls them and places them in a new directory:

Mac OS X: /Library/Application Support/Adobe/SavedFonts/current

Windows XP/Vista: :\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\SavedFonts\current

Inside the Saved Fonts directory is a Read Me.html file which lists the saved fonts, and the version numbers of the new and old font files. If the updated fonts are different enough to significantly alter a layout that you already have in production, you can re-install the older fonts by deleting the new font files from the default system font directory, and moving the old files back into that directory. Because they are named the same, they cannot co-exist in the same location.

Ted LoCascio
Ted Locasio is a professional graphic designer and an expert in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, InDesign, Illustrator, and QuarkXPress. He served as senior designer at KW Media and the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) for several years, and has created layouts and designs for many successful software training books, videos, and magazines. He is the author of InDesign CS2 at Your Fingertips, The InDesign Effects Book, and Combining Images with Photoshop Elements. He has contributed articles to Photoshop User magazine, InDesign magazine, and has taught at PhotoshopWorld. Ted is also the video author of InDesign CS2 Essential Training, Font Management, Illustrator CS2 Creative Techniques, and Creative Suite 2 Integration: Print Project Workflow--all available at He also teaches a Digital Graphics course at St. Petersburg College, in Seminole FL.
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29 Comments on “CS4 Font Installation

  1. And of course, what’s still missing in CS4 is a way to NOT install all those extra fonts in the first place. You know, in case you already own a font library and use it via a 3rd party font manager and don’t want extra font conflict opportunities to be involuntarily generated for you by Adobe’s wretched install process. It’s ever so much fun to go around from machine to machine cleaning up after each Adobe install. (mutter mutter, grumble, snarl)

    Also, I could swear that CS3 installs to /Library/Fonts too? It seems to me that CS2 was the last one to use the Application Support/Adobe folder, but then again that may be because that’s when we switched from regular license to volume licensing.

  2. I agree to heavyboots! I don’t want those fonts to clutter up my fonts menu – I want to be in control of what font is being activated … (though some of these fonts are really useable and a welcome little extra with the Suite!)

    So now the new location for the Adobe fonts to be installed to makes it just more difficult to remove them, because you have to differentiate between Adobe fonts and originally installed system fonts, which to uninstall may even damage the system.

    At least I’m happy to know about the issue before upgrading to and installing CS4, so I can take care of this. Thanks again (as for many other articles) for this information!

  3. I agree. They need to give you the option to not install them. Or better yet, just toss them in a folder on the install disk in some kind of “goodies” folder and let me install the ones I want manually.

  4. The place where new fonts are installed without asking the user is one thing. Not to rename those new font versions is another thing. Why not “Myriad Pro 3.1”, “Myriad Pro 3.2”? Visible font version numbering is a must.

  5. Before I install major applications I label the fonts inside the /Library/Fonts with my favourite label colour yellow. Then when the install is over, maybe it is Office 2008, I label the new white ones with, let’s say purple. And so on.

    Of course that does not help a lot with overwritten fonts. But if you know your fonts well you will instantly see if one of the fonts you often use is suddenly labelled white.

  6. In addition to Finder labels, I also always add a Finder comment with info where each font came from, etc. Then you can view the Fonts folder as a list, enable the Comment column and you can search it or sort it that way if necessary.

    Additionally, you can enable the Version column as well. Although, as it seems, in Leopard the font version is obviously only visible as long as the font is active in Fontbook. Version info for disabled fonts is not available. Hard to tell if it?s a bug or a ?feature? but it better be the former?

    As for the installation folders, CS3 also installs fonts to /Library/Fonts/ by default. On the other hand, putting fonts manually into /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Fonts/ still works, of course. And if you want to use your good old PostScript Helvetica or HelveticaNeue in Leopard without messing up with the System files, it?s definitely a pretty good home for them. This way they will be available along Apple?s versions ? albeit in Adobe apps only ? without ever conflicting with them.

  7. Prior to CS4, […] the fonts were installed in a non-default directory.

    That’s not right. As some already mentioned, CS3 installs the fonts in /Library/Fonts (on Mac) and \Windows\Fonts (on Windows).

    What is new in CS4 is the procedure that updates the fonts, saving the old versions in the location you’ve mentioned.

  8. I stand corrected! The font directory actually changed with CS3 and the updating procedure is now new with CS4. Fonts were installed in the non-default directory prior to CS3.

    That clarified, I do agree that you should get to choose whether or not you’d like the fonts installed with the applications, and where. While the fonts are excellent (most of them Open Type), managing them would be much easier if they were installed manually, by choice.

  9. And if you want to use your good old PostScript Helvetica or HelveticaNeue in Leopard […]. This way they will be available along Apple?s versions ? albeit in Adobe apps only ? without ever conflicting with them.

    Last time I checked this was true for Illustrator and Photoshop, which can display both Apple’s and Adobe’s Helvetica along side each other on the font menu, but it wasn’t so for InDesign. Apple’s Helvetica is TrueType format, whereas Adobe’s is (Postscript) Type 1. Despite the fact that both version have the same Postscript name* (which is used by most Adobe apps to reference the font), both Illustrator and Photoshop are able to distinguish the two font families because they have different font formats. However, in InDesign you’re only able to see and use one of the families at a time, even if they’re both installed and working in Illustrator and Photoshop.

    *yes, TrueType fonts may have a Postscript name too

  10. I stand corrected! The font directory actually changed with CS3

    It might be worth editing the main article because not everyone bothers to read the comments.

  11. I sympathize with those who’d wish for the option to install manually. Unfortunately, the CS4 applications depend on some of these fonts to be activated, so not having them installed would wreak a different havoc.

    In response to Jochen Uebel’s comment about visible version numbers, I’m afraid that would be a bad idea. Like any other software, fonts change versions on a pretty regular basis. Most of the changes don’t affect most users, so newer versions can be safely substituted for older. But applications reference fonts by name, so putting version numbers in the names would force everyone to switch to the latest version each time.

    Note that Adobe does change the font name when the font has changed to an extent that will impact many users (e.g. Bickham Script Std became Bickham Script Pro).

  12. @David – If only some of the fonts are required, then why isn’t possible for just those fonts to be installed by the installer? The rest of the fonts could be made available through a Goodies folder and installed manually. This doesn’t seem like something that would be that hard to make happen with CS5.

  13. “I sympathize with those who?d wish for the option to install manually. Unfortunately, the CS4 applications depend on some of these fonts to be activated, so not having them installed would wreak a different havoc.”

    If this is true then my response is that it should not do that.

    Apple’s Mail has turned out to be the most irritating application in OS X simply because it refuses to work correctly without Helvetica active. Apple’s solution to this in Leopard? Attempt to ram Apple Helvetica down our throats by making it “self-healing”. Any app that *requires* certain fonts to work should make a secret font cache that only the GUI elements can call, IMHO.

    If you want to render a pretty interface, that’s fine. If you want to mess with my ability to control something as basic as whether or not I can keep Helvetica off, you’re doing something on the order of decorating the head of a hammer, which is to say you’re ruining the tool by giving pretty a higher priority then usefulness.

  14. I have upgraded from CS2 to 4. Previously I have used Adobe Type Manger to install my own PS fonts.

    What do I do with CS4 for best efficiency?

    Also, I have begun to ‘lose’ fonts I know are there from Pagemaker 7.0. Anyone recognise the problem and have a solution?


  15. On my machine, Windows Vista Business the fonts are located: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\SavedFonts, I looked and they are there, thank you for letting us know : )

  16. I am somewhat a novice to the Creative Suite and a student, but have been using CS2 for some about three years at work and just installed CS4 on my PC at home and am having a hell of time figuring out how to install fonts in CS4.

    In CS2 I made a shortcut to the folder where the fonts are located (when using Illustrator primarily):

    C:Program FilesAdobeAdobe Illustrator CS2Fonts

    Apparently that is not the case in CS4 and I really need to figure out where to put all my fonts…it is pretty vital to my business and school and cant really find out any information as to how to install fonts online. Thanks for your help!

  17. Also note that certain Swash Characters from Caslon Pro for example will go completely WONKY when you open them in CS4.

    Changing font data without version re-numbering/re-naming is INSANE! Whoever sanctioned such activity at Adobe should be SACKED!!

  18. I just installed CS4 and when I open a document from CS3 it says Helvetica Medium is missing. It is installed and activated using ATM deluxe (Windows XP) but it doesn’t show up on the list of fonts in Indesign. This font is available in Illustrator CS4.
    Any ideas of what is going on?

  19. I have the same problem as Kevin. I need to use a couple of fonts to produce literature, and both are open type fonts installed on my system (Windows Vista.) I have recently installed CS4 and the fonts do not show up in InDesign, although they do in Acrobat Pro!

    The Shared fonts file in Adobe does not exist. I have installed a shortcut to my system fonts file in my InDesign Fonts folder, then rebooted, but still no joy!


  20. Has anyone noticed that Illustrator is now able to display fonts that aren’t actually activated on your system? Seems like I’m seeing this occur when the font file is included in the same folder as the illustrator file. I open .ai files from my students and the fonts are active only in Illustrator even when they are not installed on my system or even activated with FontExplorer. But, at the same moment when Illustrator is open, those new fonts aren’t available in InDesign or Photoshop. Weird??

  21. Sorry if this has been asked…I have a MacG5 OS X and CS4. I want to install new fonts. Which do you prefer? Also, how and where is it installed and how do I access it from CS4 when I’m working on a new window?

  22. I am having serious font issues in Illustrator CS4 on Windows Vista. Since Windows and Adobe installed fonts (some True Type some Open Type) I have some fonts with the same name but they are a different type. When Illustrator encounters this, it refuses to open up the document. How do I know which font to delete?

  23. Thank you so much. I felt so much sadness for the past two hours trying to fix this missing font issue. Your video came to my rescue. May all good things come to you.

  24. I cannot remove or replace the OT version of Adobe Caslon Pro from my system, Windows XP Professional Service Pack 1. I specify the PostScript version, ACaslon in my documents, but InDesign keeps trying to substitue the OT version instead, and believe the font is corrupted. It already messed up a $2,000 print job. We were able to delete Caslon Pro bold and italic, but when we try to delete Caslon Pro regular, it tells us the font is busy and cannot be moved. Have tried booting in SafeMode with NO Adobe publication running and it still cannot be removed.

  25. Having read this I thought it was very enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this article together.
    I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments.
    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

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