By: Steven Seiller
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What is new in Suitcase Fusion 2?
Suitcase Fusion 2, released in October 2008 for Mac OS X, introduces a radical new preview feature as well as a redesigned interface and many other improvements. This product has been redeveloped from the enterprise-grade Universal Type Server that adds robustness and speed to the font manager. This retooling allows the auto-activation server to run separately from the manager application itself. This is a favorite improvement of mine because you no longer have to have Suitcase Fusion 2 running all the time, taking up system resources and space on your dock.
With all font preview applications, you can see what a typeface looks like at a chosen size and style but then you have to imagine what it will look like in your project document. Suitcase Fusion 2 takes font previewing one step further with a fantastic new feature called Floating Preview which allows you to drag the font preview sample and drop it anywhere on your screen (see Figure 2). Once you move your mouse pointer away from the preview, its window disappears from view leaving just the text and the opportunity to really see how that typeface looks in your project document. You can leave your preview anywhere on the screen so it is compatible with any application. The Floating Preview windows are resizable and you can create more than one at a time. The window also features a convenient button to activate the font.
Figure 2 Floating Preview window disappears after you move your mouse pointer away from the preview.
The Floating Preview feature is better seen in action. Watch the video demonstrations on the Suitcase Fusion 2 web site.
The Floating Preview feature in Suitcase Fusion 2 leverages Apple's Mac OS X Leopard Preview technology. This brings up the point that Suitcase Fusion 2 is currently available only for Mac OS X. Extensis representatives have stated that a Windows version is currently in the works and expected sometime in 2009 with feature parity to the Mac version.
Also improved in this version is control of the Auto Activation function which automatically activates an inactive font when it is included in a document that is opened in specific applications. Suitcase Fusion 2 ships with plug-ins for Adobe InDesign and Illustrator CS4 and CS3 as well as QuarkXPress versions 8 and 7. The plug-in will not only activate the specified font face, but also give you the option of activating all the faces for that font family. Additional plug-in features include the ability to select a specific library from which to activate fonts, creating a set of all the fonts in your document and the collection into one folder of all your document fonts to send with the document to a printer.
Figure 3 Auto-Activation options.
Figure 4 Additional plug-ins features.
Suitcase Fusion 2 also provides a new Global Auto-Activation option that allows you to specify other applications on your computer for which fonts are auto-activated. You won't get the advanced features available to plug-ins, but you will get the convenience of Microsoft Word temporarily activating a rarely used font when it is included in an opened document.
One other new feature in Suitcase Fusion 2 is the Glyph View which allows you to now see all characters in a font, not just the standard alphabet. See Figure 1 for a detailed view of this feature.
I have already enjoyed many of the new benefits in Suitcase Fusion 2 including enhanced speed, not having to run the Suitcase application at all times and the Floating Previews. Extensis offers a free, fully-functional 30 day trial of their Suitcase products so you can give it a good test before deciding to purchase. The full version is priced at $99.95 and owners of Suitcase X1 or Suitcase Fusion can upgrade for $49.98.