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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

OS 10.4 - Mysterious font display problems


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bugjah

 
Member Since: May 23, 2006
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Hi all

I have been experiencing this bizarre font display problem with 3 computers now and 5 or 6 clean installs. I have copied certain programs between computers, including Microsoft Office (which I think might be the culprit -- see below), but I have not done any transfers of preferences or anything like that this time, so that is not the explanation

The symptom is that certain letters don't appear in certain fonts

the above sentence would look like this to me:

he ymp om i h cer in le er don' ppe r in cer in fon

This was fun for about a day, but now it's downright making my computer life a pain in the *** (none of those 3 letters will normally display for me anyway).

As I said this only happens with certain fonts (Times New Roman is bad, but Times is OK. I think Verdana might be a problem...), but it happens in basically all programs (word, mac mail, web browsers, open office, text edit, etc. etc.)

So if I copy and paste a bad bit into a different program, it still displays badly, but if I change the font (or make the web page displayed with "no style) then I can read the text fine.

The reason I think Microsoft Office might be the culprit is:
1) I only have one copy, which I have shared among all computers, and all computers are effected;
2) I have a default reaction to computer problems as follows: "blame Microsoft"
3) When you install Microsoft Office, it spends a long time installing fonts...

BUT I cannot do without this version of Office because
1) all of my colleagues use Microsoft for sending documents to me
and
2) I refuse - on principle - to give any money to Microsoft to buy a more updated copy (I am running Office 2004).

Can anyone help?

cheers
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Brown Study

 
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Start Font Book, choose one of the suspect font names and run Validate from the File menu.

You could batch check all the fonts while you're at it.
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bugjah

 
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I ran the Font Book check as you suggested - in a batch with all the fonts - and they all got a clean bill of health except for "playbill", which I promptly removed. This did not solve the issue, but thanks for the tip!
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MacHeadCase
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I have no clue which OS version you use or which Mac you use so I suggest this with caution, you will have to check for the system requirements and make sure the OS X version compatibility...

Download MainMenu and use the Cleaning -> Clean Font Caches task. restart. See if this helps or not and report back.
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bugjah

 
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see below
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bugjah

 
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cool program! thanks for mentioning it...but it didn't help.

By the way, I have a G4 iBook running 10.4.9

This problem also happened on my old computer (powerbook G4 running 10.4.9) as well as my wife's computer (IBook G3 running 10.3.9). All three of these computers have swapped lots of files. I believe my wife is not having this problem anymore after a recent hard disk replacement...and....I don't think she has Microsoft Office on there anymore....

Unfortunately, I forgot to check for the problem on my computer AFTER my most recent clean install of Os 10.4 but BEFORE I reinstalled Office. I would "uninstall" office to test for that being the source of the problem, but is there really any way to do that? I imagine Microsoft sticky little tendrils wrapped around all different parts of my computer...thus impossible to fully and cleanly extract without erasing and reinstalling Os 10.4 again...which I'd rather not do...
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MacHeadCase
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Ok maybe what you could do now is create a new user and use that one, see if the problem happens in there too.

If it does it probably means there is software for all users that has messed up the system.

If it does not happen in the new user, then this mean the corruption is in your old user account. It could be a file that has gone bad or something similar. It could even be one of the files that you mentioned that was swapped around.

From what you've told us, looks like M$ Office is messing up pretty badly. Have you thought of giving NeoOffice or OpenOffice a try instead?

Good luck and report back to let us know what happened.
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bugjah

 
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Thanks, I will try this tonight and report back. In the meantime, though, I am not too hopeful, given the fact that after this recent re-install, I had this problem before doing too much copying of files into my new user world...except for M$, unfortunately.

What do you think about resetting permissions? I was given a terminal line code to try by a genius bar guy (who admitted he knew little about fonts), something like FSCK -YW I tried that, but it was the wrong code, I guess, cuz I got an error message. Looks like I can possibly test this same idea with MainMenu...?

I love Open Office! Problem is things like track changes features, etc. Last I checked, Open Office was not compatible with this feature, so I am forced to install Word to be able to pass documents back and forth easily to others who don't use Open Office. Also, conferences I go to are, by and large, Power Point monopolies, so I am forced to use that crappy program as well...

M$ 2004 is horrible horrible horrible! I have lost more documents on total program freeze meltdowns than I can count on all extremities... Don't get me started...
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MacHeadCase
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You could always try but from what I can tell, permissions problems were mostly under Mac OS X 10.3.x Panther and they have been pretty much under control in Mac OS X 10.4.x Tiger.

Although lately I've seen one or tow problems solved with there repairing of disk permissions, so go figure...

Anyway it can't hurt if you do run that task.
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Alexis

 
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Download Font Explorer:

http://www.linotype.com/fontexplorerX

You can deactivate every font, apart from the system ones. Whenever I've had the problem you describe, it's due to having two helveticas activated.
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Brown Study

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bugjah View Post
What do you think about resetting permissions? I was given a terminal line code to try by a genius bar guy (who admitted he knew little about fonts), something like FSCK -YW. . . .
Running permissions repairs can't be simpler. Start Disk Utility in the Utilities folder inside the Applications folder, and click the button. Don't bother with the verification. The repair verifies them first, anyway.

The repair code is fsck -fy, and like the permsissions fix is very easy to run.

This post regarding a Firefox problem explains it.
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bugjah

 
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Thanks MHC, Alexis and BS

Guess What? MHC's suggestion worked!!

"Ok maybe what you could do now is create a new user and use that one, see if the problem happens in there too....If it does not happen in the new user, then this mean the corruption is in your old user account."

The new user has no font problems! ...so....what should I do? How does the new me (Smeagol) get Gollum to "go away and not come back"?
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MacHeadCase
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Glad it worked, bugjah!

Well this means the corruption is living, alive and well in your old user account. I don't know which precautions you could take from preventing the corruption happening in your new account, mind you: I've never used Office or any M$ software on my Macs so can't help there.

Now before you go and delete the old account, wait till someone walks you through this procedure. I'm about to leave for school in just a few minutes so don't have the time to research this for you, sorry). But I do know that if this was the main (first) account on your machine, don't think you can just delete and be done with it. There are certain precautions that need to be taken here.

Till someone does help you out with this, just use the new account, be careful of not corrupting this new one with truckloads of old M$ files and you should be fine. :girl:

And if you can, try either NeoOffice or OpenOffice to see if they couldn't replace adequately M$ Word or Office apps. Test them out and see if they work for you. I don't think they'd mess up your Mac like that...
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munna

 
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This happened to me once. But that was because i deactivated a few system fonts while trying to figure out how to deactive fonts from Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. I had to reactivate like how Alexis stated.

Times New Roman is the windows version of Times. I had to find and replace each time before I switched to just using macs, but you collegues use windows right? There's no way of avoiding having to find an replace each time.

Also with the fonts that Office has installed i suggest moving them to your system fonts and/or user fonts. Office fonts can be found by:
Applications > Microsoft Office 2004 > Office > Fonts

This may also solve the missing letters dilema.
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epan47

 
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I've encountered the same problem, which propagated across multiple user accounts. Also totally disrupted any Asian language displays. I've fixed all the problem by setting the MS Office 2004 Font folder to be un-readable by all users.
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