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Snow Leopard poses serious font problems for QuarkXPress

Snow Leopard is causing serious problems with text reflow in a number of applications, most significantly QuarkXPress but also Apple’s own Keynote and iWeb software.

According to posts on Apple’s discussion boards—Major Font Problems in Snow Leopard! and Altered Font Spacing Crippling for Designers—Type 1 fonts are rendered with excessive leading, causing text to overflow.

Dan Logan, product manager for QuarkXPress, says that the problem occurs where Type 1 fonts are used in documents created in Tiger or Leopard. When those same documents are opened in Snow Leopard, the type no longer appears as it did before.

“This issue is not new to QuarkXPress 8.1, it’s new to Mac OS 10.6 and also affects QuarkXPress 7,” he wrote on the Quark forum. “Apple is aware of it and we expect a fix is forthcoming.”

He added that the company is investigating whether a workaround exists, having not encountered the problem when testing QuarkXPress 8.1 with pre-release builds of Snow Leopard.

“I don’t yet know when this issue was introduced, but I can only assume it cropped up shortly before release.”

Kurt Lang, author of a detailed examination of how fonts work in OS X, says the cause of all the problems is simple: Type 1 fonts are no longer supported by Mac OS X.

“I was a Snow Leopard beta tester. The first build I was in on, Type 1 PS fonts didn’t work at all. I noted it as a bug, but now wonder if it was possibly intentional. Adobe declared T1PS obsolete years ago when they released Font Folio 10, the first all OpenType version of their font catalogue. Apple got Type 1 fonts working again in SL before its release, but this may be the last hurrah for this font format.”

Strange then that Apple has said nothing about a significant change that will affect a great many of its professional customers, with the only reference to “font file formats” on its support pages dating back to May 2005.

Known issue with QuarkXpress 8
In some cases text reflow may be caused by a separate issue in QuarkXPress itself, where runaround is used in conjunction with tabs or lock to baseline. Quark has just released the QuarkXPress 8.12 Update to fix this.

For everyone else, it may be possible to convert Type 1 fonts to OpenType, using a utility such as TransType Pro or FontXChange, though there is no guarantee that the conversion will provide an exact match.

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