Extensis Suitcase 9

"Manage Your Fonts With Ease!"
| Type of Product | User Level | Features |
| Product Analysis | Final Comments | System Requirements |
Type of Product
box cover
Suitcase 9 is the Windows version of the font management utility created by Extensis Corporation. Suitcase has been a popular font management utility for previewing, organizing, managing, and controlling fonts for the Macintosh platform and now it is available for Window users. The interface works the same way on Macintosh and Windows, so those familiar with one operating system can use the other, without having to relearn how to use fonts. The program is a breeze to install. With its easy-to-use features, drag-and-drop abilities, multiple previews, and cross-platform compatibility, it makes working with a large numbers of fonts fast and easy. Suitcase 9 allows you to group and open fonts only when you need them, saving valuable system resources. The program manages TrueType, PostScript, and OpenType fonts. As yet, it does not support MultipleMaster fonts. There are two editions: (1) Suitcase 9 Desktop Edition is the standalone font management utility; and (2) Suitcase 9 Network Edition is the font utility for connecting workgroups and giving everyone access to the same set of fonts, whether they are across the room or around the world, or use Macintosh or Window fonts. While this review will contain some information about the Network Edition, it primarily discusses the Desktop Edition. Suitcase 9 is available for Windows and Macintosh. Pricing for Desktop Edition: $79.95; upgrade is $49.95; and competitive upgrades for users of Adobe Type Manager Deluxe, Font Reserve and Master Juggler are $59.95. Pricing for Network Edition: $129.95. See the Extensis Web site for information on other products: http://www.extensis.com
User Level
Beginners, intermediate, and advanced computer users. The program is useful to a variety of types of users: (1) creative professionals, graphic designers, prepress professionals, service bureaus, commercial printers, corporate in-house creative departments, and self-employed designers; (2) associates of creative professionals who find that hundreds of fonts are installed on their systems; (3) multimedia and Internet content creators (Web, CD-ROM), and digital camera users; and (4) small-office/home-office operators who create newsletters, presentations, fliers, Web sites and other material.

Features in Extensis Suitcase 9 include:

  • Print Type Samples;
  • View and Sort Fonts;
  • Activate Individual Fonts;
  • Activation Flexibility;
  • Live Font Previews;
  • Configurable Interface;
  • Desktop and Network Editions;
  • Font Info Window;
  • Compatible with Macintosh and Windows;
  • MenuFonts;
  • Suitcase XT.
Product Analysis

Unified Dialog Box
Main Window

In Suitcase 9, all the important features are pulled together in an intuitive interface, so you can preview, manage, and activate fonts at once. Using the unified main window, you can create and modify sets, activate fonts or sets of fonts, and preview fonts in a number of different ways. You have access to the Toolbar, the Sets pane, the Font pane, and the Preview pane.

  • Toolbar--provides access to the most commonly used Suitcase commands: New Set, Add to Suitcase, Remove, Activate Permanently, Activate Until Restart (Temporarily), and Deactivate.
  • Sets Pane--lets you organize your fonts by creative groups, or sets, that you can activate or deactivate at the same time.
  • Font Pane--displays lists of fonts that you select from a pop-up menu, including status and other information.
  • Resize Horizontal and Vertical--lets you change the pane size. By moving the resize bar all the way to the top, bottom, right or left, you can hide or show the different panes.

Multiple Font Previews

You can preview your fonts in three different ways in Suitcase 9: Waterfall, ABC 123, Paragraph, and QuickType. Not only can you choose the style of preview, but you can also select the font size. All previews allow text to be customized. Multiple fonts can be previewed side by side, so choosing the correct font is easier than ever. Any of the font preview options can be viewed side by side.

  • Waterfall--creates a cascade of the selected font, displaying a selection of alphanumeric characters, in three different point sizes.
  • ABC 123--shows the selected font in alphabetical and numerical order, in upper and lower case.
  • Paragraph--displays the font in a text paragraph, showing how a paragraph would actually look in the selected font and size.
  • QuickType--displays text that you type in the QuickType box so you can create your own customized preview.
Printing Type Samples
  For users who like to see what their fonts will look like in print, Suitcase 9 allows you to print sample pages. You can select individual fonts, multiple fonts, or print the font sample pages of an entire set of fonts at the same time. You can create a type sample book of fonts on your system. Sample pages also provide you with useful information, including the type, version, Font ID, and the location of the screen and printer fonts.
Sorting and Viewing Fonts
  Within the main window, you can view and sort fonts by different criteria. Fonts can be sorted by Font name, Font Type, or Foundry, so you can quickly see what fonts you have in each group.

Configurable Interface
  Suitcase 9 can be customized to suit various needs. Several commands and controls can be modified to suit individual preferences, and the main window can be configured to display Sets, Fonts, Previews, or any combination of these. The text that appears in the preview pane can also be customized, and the text displayed in the Waterfall and ABC 123 previews can be customized as well. Default displays can be restored at any time.
  Viewing Font Information
You can use the Get Info option from the file menu to get important information about your fonts. A font info window shows you the type of font, the foundry, version number, and more.

Consistent Cross-Platform Interface
  Macintosh and Windows are very different operating systems, but both the Macintosh and Windows versions of Suitcase 9 work in a consistent way. Sets can be created and previewed. Two features of Suitcase 9 are available only for the Macintosh--MenuFonts and Suitcase XT.
Enhanced Font Menus (Macintosh Only)
Suitcase 9 for the Macintosh includes MenuFonts, the system extension that improves the usefulness of font menus. You can preview how fonts really look, making it easier to choose a font as you go.
Automatic Font Activation (Macintosh Only)
Suitcase 9 includes Suitcase XT, an XTension for QuarkXPress that automatically locates missing fonts and opens them. Suitcase XT works with Suitcase 9 and Apple's FontSync technology to open missing fonts.
Final Comments
I have always been a font collector, amassing disks and CDs full of fonts, and then I am faced with the problem of using and managing them. Do I install all of them so that I have immediate access, and thus bog down my computer, or do I just leave them on disks and then have to hunt down just the right one for the current job. I repeatedly have installed too many fonts and have either slowed my computer to a snail's pace or actually had trouble even starting my computer. With the last fiasco, I had installed over !,000 fonts and suddenly wondered why my dialog boxes in various programs displayed garbled text. That's when I thought it was imperative that I find a font manager. Numerous friends tried to break me from this bad font habit, but I was hooked, and I actually need to have access to a variety of fonts. For individuals that create for both print and the Web; create various types of documents such as flyers, business cards, presentations, brochures, and newsletters; need to have access to a variety of type faces from plain Times Roman to Script to novelty fonts; and desire to have them available over time if changes need to be made, or the material needs to be updated, the ability to manage fonts becomes a major issue. So, I contacted Extensis about Suitcase, but was told that it was available only for the Macintosh. When I finally heard that the program was available for Windows, I was immensely relieved. Finally, I thought I could intelligently manage all of those wonderful fonts that I had collected over the years. I had been using another font manager, but it had limited capabilities. After installing the program and using it for awhile, I can say that I am not disappointed. Suitcase is one of those utility programs that I would suggest no designer be without. It simplifies your life! Now I can save sets of fonts in categories such as serif, sans-serif, script, novelty, and decorative, plus sets of fonts for specific jobs, and then just activate them when I need them. I like having my postscript and TrueType fonts under one management utility. The four views and ability to print type samples is an excellent tool when you are trying to select fonts for desktop publishing. I would highly recommend this utility.
System Requirements

Desktop Edition for Windows:

  • Pentium II and higher;
  • Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT 4 - Service pack 5 or higher, and Windows 2000.

Desktop Edition for Macintosh:

  • System 8.5 and higher;
  • Power PC.

Network Edition for Windows:

  • Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 or higher (Server or Workstation);
  • Pentium PC (best: 233 MHz or faster);
  • 32 MB RAM (best: 64 MB);
  • NTFS volume required for storing fonts.

Network Edition for Macintosh:

  • System 8.6 and higher;
  • Power Mac or equivalent;
  • 12 MB application RAM;
  • Open Transport 1.3 or later.
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