Jump to content
sfriedberg

Apparent font caching or conflict problem with Affinity suite

Recommended Posts

I'm reporting this for Publisher, but Designer and Photo are also affected.  Windows 7 Pro 64-bit.  Affinity Publisher 1.8.3.641.

I recently installed 72 TrueType fonts of the Google font family Noto Serif -- Regular, Semicondensed, Condensed, Extracondensed -- Thin, Extralight, Light, Regular, Medium, Semibold, Bold, Extrabold, Black -- Roman, Italic.  Publisher saw 68 of the 72 fonts.  It was missing the exactly the most heavily used ones: regular weight roman and italic, and bold weight roman and italic.  On the same system, CorelDRAW 2018, LibreOffice Writer 6.4.1.2, and Rhinoceros 6 SR15 see all 72 fonts, as do Workpad and the Windows Fonts directory.  In fact, every application I've tried that has a font drop-down list sees all 72 fonts, except for the three Affinity apps which see 68 of them.  In Publisher, the Character panel and Text tool context font drop-down actually count 68, while in the Text Styles > Font panel, the font traits drop-down is missing regular and bold.

I un- and re-installed fonts, removed the Windows font cache and restarted the system several times, to no apparent effect.

My first suspicion was that 72 fonts organized under a single font family was too many.  So I removed some, then many, of the fonts, with no apparent effect on the four missing fonts.  I then removed all fonts of the Noto Serif family, rebooted the system, and installed only the four affected fonts.  This time Publisher saw the four fonts.  So I installed the rest of the regular width Noto Serif fonts, for a total of 18.  Now Publisher sees only those first four, which is the opposite of the original problem.  Restarting the Windows Font Cache service had no effect.  Rebooting the system had no effect.  At this point, there are definitely 18 fonts of the Noto Serif font family installed.  All the other applications on this system see all 18.  The three Affinity apps only see four of them.

Now, if some other applications were showing similar symptoms, I would conclude that something in Windows font management was messed up.  But only the Affinity apps seem affected, and they are effectively in sync, which lead me to suspect there is some suite-level caching going on which is out-of-sync with the system state.  I went poking around in AppData and the application installation directories, but did not find a smoking gun.

While writing up this message, I installed the additional 18 fonts in the Noto Serif Condensed sub-family while Affinity Publisher was running.  Publisher displayed its usual pop-up message that the font cache was being updated, so it was clearly responding to system events related to the system font cache.  However, when I looked at the font drop-down in the Character panel, only four of the Noto Serif fonts were listed.  Keep in mind that originally 68 of the 72 fonts were shown in Publisher in exactly this place, so no inability to display more than 4 fonts is involved.

So, I uninstalled all of the Noto Serif fonts again and restarted the Windows Font Cache service, while Publisher was not running, then launched Publisher.  As hoped, no Noto Serif fonts were listed in its font drop-down list.  I then shut down Publisher again, and installed all 72 of the Noto Serif fonts, then relaunched Publisher.  It shows 68 out of the 72 fonts, missing once again regular weight roman and italic and bold weight roman and italic.

I repeated the uninstall of all Noto Serif fonts, restarting the WFC service, while Publisher was not running, launched Publisher and verified no Noto Serif fonts were listed.  Shut down Publisher.  Install just the 18 regular width fonts.  Restart WFC service.  Relaunch Publisher.  It shows 14 out of the 18, missing regular weight roman and italic and bold weight roman and italic.

Uninstall all the Noto Serif fonts, restart WFC service, while Publisher not running.  Install just the 18 Condensed subfamily fonts, restart WFC service, relaunch Publisher.  It shows all 18.  Shut down Publisher.  Install additionally just the regular width, regular weight roman and italic, restart WFC service, relaunch Publisher.  It shows only the 18 Condensed fonts.

Uninstall all the Noto Serif fonts, restart WFC service, while Publisher not running.  Install just regular width, regular weight roman and italic, restart WFC service, relaunch Publisher.  It shows those two fonts.  Shut down Publisher.  Install additionally just the regular width, bold weight roman and italic, restart WFC, relaunch Publisher.  It shows all four fonts.  Shut down Publisher.  Install additiionally just the 18 Condensed subfamily fonts, restart WFC service, while Publisher not running, relaunch Publisher.  It shows only four fonts: regular width, regular weight roman and italic and bold weight roman and italic.

At this point, I started banging my head on the desk.  When I was done shouting incoherently, it became clear that the Affinity suite will allow me to have either the four most basic fonts of the Noto Serif font family, or any of the other fonts in the family, but not any mixture of those two disjoint sets.  I have no theory about what's responsible for that!  And I repeat that no other application on this system which possess a font drop-down is having this difficulty and all of the installed fonts are plainly visible in the Windows Fonts directory and every single one of those fonts can be previewed by the OS and set as a text property in the other apps, and every single one of those fonts looks like the right width, weight and letter form appropriate to the font name.

To forestall some well-meaning but irrelevant questions:  This system is not short on disk space (94GB free on the C drive, 375GB free on the D drive where the applications are installed, drives E, O, P and Q are not relevant to this problem).  This system is not short on RAM (6GB in use out of 64GB physical).  Installing fonts "directly" or via a shortcut has no impact on the problem.

If anybody has any suggestions as to cause, or requests for additional experiments to run, I'm open to almost everything.  I will not even bother to respond to a suggestion that I reinstall the operating system on this machine.  I am open to some judicious and well-explained registry hacking, but 1) nothing in my research indicates that any sophisticated feature of the Windows registry is involved here.  In particular, font linking and system level font substitution are not in play.  And 2) no other application on this system is showing this behavior.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have one additional bit of information to add.  I went over all 72 .ttf files with every tool I had, and found that the version number for the 4 fonts is "1.02", while the version number for the 68 fonts is "2.000;GOOG;noto-source:20170915:90ef99883387c0".  I went back to Google and checked the available files again.  In the 72-font family download package, those are the versions you are given in today's download.  In the Google specimen page for Noto Serif, where only regular and bold weights are shown, you get the 1.02 version only.

I don't know if this is relevant to the behavior of the Affinity suite, but it's the only thing I can find that distinguishes the two disjoint sets of fonts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @sfriedberg,

We tried it here on 2 different machines and had no luck replicating this issue. We tried it with both the Google Version, and the Adobe version of the same pack. 

How many fonts have you got installed in total?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In total?  It depends on what I am working on.  At this moment, the Windows Font folder says 649 items.  I believe that includes both directly installed and shortcut installed fonts.  The latter are in the registry, but do not actually reside in C:\Windows\Fonts .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Gabe  I've been off line for a week, sorry for the delay.  I am not sure if I have more font families with such a large number of fonts.  Usually "big" families were packaged/metadataed (can I use that barbarism?) so they were grouped into several smaller families.  However, I think I have at least one other font family of similar size.  When I get to the affected computer, I will investigate and report back.

[Added in edit] The next largest font family I had installed is Scansky with 28 fonts.  It works OK.  I went back to Google and downloaded Noto Serif Display.  I've never had this font family installed on this machine before, and it has 72 fonts organized just like Noto Serif.  All 72 Noto Serif Display fonts installed and appear in Affinity Publisher with no problem, while Noto Serif gives me either 4 or 68, apparently dependent on which ones the Affinity suite sees installed first.

So, I went back to the well.  I did not record where I downloaded the zip file of the Noto Serif family on 14 June (possibly FontSquirrel?), but that archive contains a mix of version 1.02 and 2.000 fonts.  If you go to https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Noto+Serif you find only the v1.02 "group of four" (which seems like a defect or a seriously out-of-date page in Google's website).  Today, I went to https://www.google.com/get/noto/ and got another zip archive of Noto-Serif.  This one has all 72 v2.000 fonts.  When I uninstalled the v1.02 "group of four" and installed the v2.000 "group of four", the Affinity suite sees all 72 fonts in the font family.  My problem solved, and your problem partially identified.

Back in 2017, when Google did a big expansion of their font collection, there was a note to the effect that older font releases could not be merged with newer ones.  While they were all TTF files, the new phase 3 fonts are based on a 1000 upem grid while the older phase 2 fonts were based on a 2048 upem grid.  I am sure this is part of the version 1.x to 2.x transition.  I also went to the non-standard and unreleased https://github.com/googlefonts/noto-fonts-alpha/tree/master/from-pipeline/unhinted/ttf/serif/NotoSerif which has version 2.001 fonts.  These also work together in a test install mixed with the version 2.000 fonts.

So, I conclude that the Affinity suite on Windows 7 does not find the 1.02 and 2.x versions of the Noto Serif font family compatible, where other apps running on Windows 7 find them tolerable together.  Precise reason to be determined, but it would be worth adding this to your diagnostic checklist in case some future user has a similar complaint as their problem can be resolved even if Affinity developers do nothing more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Please note the Annual Company Closure section in the Terms of Use. These are the Terms of Use you will be asked to agree to if you join the forum. | Privacy Policy | Guidelines | We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.