Universal Type Server: a tool to enhance automation with fonts

Universal Type ServerFonts are one of the biggest hurdles facing successful automation of print-ready files. Automation success relies on offloading time consuming repetitive work to a server leaving operator workstations free for creative and design work. The other bonus of automating the creation of print-ready files is that it forces this file creation to follow a standard across an entire workgroup.

Without an intuitive font management system or a very strict set of rules applied to the use of fonts, the attempt at automating a workflow will often fail. The raw automation of programs like Quark, Indesign and Illustrator rely on the applications to pick the fonts to use. Since they use very limited information when choosing fonts, errors can occur. An automated workflow will require better font information stored in the document to ensure the file is opened with the right fonts each time.

There is an intuitive font management system available from Extensis that takes over this responsibility and actually improves the information that is stored in the document. The Universal Type Server adds control to font libraries with the addition of a technology that “fingerprints” fonts used in a document.

QuarkXPress, InDesign, PageMaker, Illustrator, Photoshop and all other applications embed into their documents only the basic information about the fonts used: the font name. Desktop font managers that are in use today have to match fonts by name and this can cause substitution of font types and tracking problems.

This “fingerprinting” is branded Font Sense and ensures success in an automation strategy. The technology uniquely identifies a complete font specification. This identification also includes a checksum value made of information about the font’s outlines, width tables and kerning tables. Font Sense will write this information into the document created in Quark, Indesign or Illustrator using plug-ins and clients for Windows and Mac that come with the server. When the document is opened on another machine or on an automation server, the same plug-in ensures that the correct font is activated.

The Universal Type Server also has other added benefits and features. There is a web-based user group and server administration and IT managers can use existing Active Directory user information to setup the server. Corrupt fonts, when detected by the server upon loading, can be repaired before entering the workflow. It even manages font licensing. It also gives operators the ability to work offline by downloading fonts that are in use from the server onto a laptop or remote connection.

Universal Type Server is a giant leap for automated workflows, workgroups and font clean up. Automation success with Indesign, Quark and Illustrator applications is proven with real world testing and the mature technology of Font Sense. This tool will enable studios, workgroups, service providers and other print publishers the added power needed to successfully automate print production.

You can try the Universal Type Server for 30 days. The product is available in a lite version and a professional scalable version. Visit www.extensis.com to download and get more information.