Big Sur Font problems


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Hi, After recently updating to Big Sur, my MacBook has stopped displaying fonts properly. This issue happens mainly with Apple Mail and when using some websites. The characters appear as squares with question marks in side. I really regret updating my OS as I fail to see any benefit of doing so. Attached is a screen shot of an email I received. My MacBook is a 2019 16". I have already wiped the hard drive and done a clean reinstall of Big Sur.
Secondly, when I type, full stops and spaces appears mid sentence. This never happened until I updated to Big Sur. Help!
 

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Cory Cooper

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Hello and welcome.

That is definitely a font issue. Have you recently installed any applications (like Microsft Office) that may have replaced System fonts with a different version? Not sure why this issue would persist after a complete erase and install however.

How did you perform the erase and reinstall - macOS Recovery or bootable installer?

C
 
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Hello and welcome.

That is definitely a font issue. Have you recently installed any applications (like Microsft Office) that may have replaced System fonts with a different version? Not sure why this issue would persist after a complete erase and install however.

How did you perform the erase and reinstall - macOS Recovery or bootable installer?

C
Hi, I have installed Microsoft Office but it was running fine before the Big Sur update. I've since switched from using Safari to Chrome and the fonts aren't garbled in Chrome as they are in Safari. I'm still unable to view some emails however.:((
 

Cory Cooper

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OK, thanks.

If the font problem seems to be mostly isolated to Safari and/or Mail, then I would check their preferences and see what the following settings are set to:

Safari
Screen Shot 2021-02-01 at 19.21.32.png

Mail
Screen Shot 2021-02-01 at 19.21.16.png


C
 
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Hi, After recently updating to Big Sur, my MacBook has stopped displaying fonts properly. This issue happens mainly with Apple Mail and when using some websites. The characters appear as squares with question marks in side. I really regret updating my OS as I fail to see any benefit of doing so. Attached is a screen shot of an email I received. My MacBook is a 2019 16". I have already wiped the hard drive and done a clean reinstall of Big Sur.
Secondly, when I type, full stops and spaces appears mid sentence. This never happened until I updated to Big Sur. Help!
This is a Mac issue. You are NOT ALONE. I'm pretty pissed about it. Both my Mac Book Pro and my Mac Desk top that I teach off of have this same issue, as well as the 24 work stations in my Mac lab. I have not found a fix. I have gotten most of my Mac menus showing again, but in order for my students to get any work done, they have to constantly reboot. It's a nightmare.
 
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Try rebooting into Safe Mode. One of the processes of safe boot is clearing caches, and it looks like your problem is with font caches.
 

Cory Cooper

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Hello and welcome.

I manage almost 500 Macs at work, most running Big Sur (some running Mojave or Catalina), and I haven't run across this issue. All of the Macs have Microsoft Office (2016/2019/365) installed, and many have various versions of Adobe Creative Cloud.

TonyAguila's suggestion is a great troubleshooting step.

C
 
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Has anybody found a solution to this yet?

I installed Big Sur on my iMac over Christmas and the problem has been present on certain emails from my clients using certain fonts. What's interesting is that when I use OnyX to run standard operating system maintenance the problem disappears.

However when I launch Font Explorer X to manage my fonts the problem comes back, and I have seen email change from displaying correctly into question marks when Font Explorer launches.

I have checked for font conflicts and have found none and I've also switched off any older postscript fonts that may be an issue.

I've now ran out of ideas on how to fix it. I have contacted the Font Explorer support team in the hope they can help. I will post again if they have a solution.
 
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Has anybody found a solution to this yet?

I installed Big Sur on my iMac over Christmas and the problem has been present on certain emails from my clients using certain fonts. What's interesting is that when I use OnyX to run standard operating system maintenance the problem disappears.

However when I launch Font Explorer X to manage my fonts the problem comes back, and I have seen email change from displaying correctly into question marks when Font Explorer launches.

I have checked for font conflicts and have found none and I've also switched off any older postscript fonts that may be an issue.

I've now ran out of ideas on how to fix it. I have contacted the Font Explorer support team in the hope they can help. I will post again if they have a solution.
What version of Fontexplorer Pro X are you running? I keep updated copies of both Fontexplorer and FontAgent which I use alternately, whichever one is working better at any one time. Right now I’m on FontAgent ever since the other started misbehaving over the last couple of macOS versions. I assume you haven’t received a reply from them—I never did in the past.

Anyway, I rely heavily on font management software since I have more than 10,000 fonts in my library outside of the system fonts. If you don’t have more than, say 1,000 fonts to manage, it will probably be best if you loaded them in your ~/Library/Fonts folder. I know it can be a hassle if you want to turn certain fonts off or on, which FEX Pro can do.

The other thing I can think of, if you absolutely need a font management program, is to download a trial version of FontAgent. It’s been working better for me since macOS Catalina to the present (Monterey).

Better yet, you may just need to clear your font caches. The easiest way is to boot into Safe Mode (which I suggested before), log in and then restart. Afterwards, see if your ⍰⍰⍰⍰⍰⍰⍰⍰ problem has gone away. If it fixes the issue for a while and then comes right back, it might be a corrupted font, which can be difficult to track. You may have to get FontDoctor.app to diagnose your font library. You also need to replace Type 1 or (worse) Type 3 fonts with TrueType or OpenFont equivalents.
 
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Hi Tony,

Success!

I have around 8,000 fonts managed by Font Explorer so having read what you suggested I decided to list all the fonts by 'Format' within Font Explorer and moved all those listed as Postscript format into a new font set. Following that I removed them all in batches, about 40 a time and hey presto it seems to have solved the issue!

I wasn't able to single out the exact font causing the conflict but it was not detected by Font Doctor or the Conflicts tool in FontExplorer so I guess a manual approach is sometimes the best option.

The solution above might work for those struggling to find which font is the culprit (if using FontExplorer).

So for those reading this thread here are the details of the problem I encountered just incase you have similar issues:

1. The problem only occured when FontExporer (7.2.6) was launched i.e I could see text within emails change from Helvetica to ⍰⍰⍰⍰⍰⍰⍰⍰ once FontExplorer was launched.
2. I had tried Font Doctor and although it picked up on some corrupt fonts removing them did not resolve the problem.
3. The only way to get back to normal temporarily was to clear the font cache either by Onyx or boot in Safe Mode. However the problem would instantly come back when next launching FontExplorer.

I hope the above helps. Thanks to Tony for his suggestion that put me on the right track.

If the issue comes back I'll post again, but for now it seems to have gone.
 
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Hi Tony,

Success!

I have around 8,000 fonts managed by Font Explorer so having read what you suggested I decided to list all the fonts by 'Format' within Font Explorer and moved all those listed as Postscript format into a new font set. Following that I removed them all in batches, about 40 a time and hey presto it seems to have solved the issue!

I wasn't able to single out the exact font causing the conflict but it was not detected by Font Doctor or the Conflicts tool in FontExplorer so I guess a manual approach is sometimes the best option.

The solution above might work for those struggling to find which font is the culprit (if using FontExplorer).

So for those reading this thread here are the details of the problem I encountered just incase you have similar issues:

1. The problem only occured when FontExporer (7.2.6) was launched i.e I could see text within emails change from Helvetica to ⍰⍰⍰⍰⍰⍰⍰⍰ once FontExplorer was launched.
2. I had tried Font Doctor and although it picked up on some corrupt fonts removing them did not resolve the problem.
3. The only way to get back to normal temporarily was to clear the font cache either by Onyx or boot in Safe Mode. However the problem would instantly come back when next launching FontExplorer.

I hope the above helps. Thanks to Tony for his suggestion that put me on the right track.

If the issue comes back I'll post again, but for now it seems to have gone.
Postscript fonts are not fully supported by the newer systems, Windows or macOS. When I launch a file in Creative Cloud apps (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop), it would issue a warning about Postscript font support being degraded. So it’s just a matter of time when Type 1 and Type 3 Postscript fonts will no longer work, even if they are not damaged.

The last time I ran FontDoctor, I thought it had listed PS fonts in the errors output for this very reason. I also had a utility, TransType, that I used years ago to convert all my PS fonts to OpenType. I doubt if that software is still around, though. If problems return, I suggest you give FontAgent a try. I would assume they have a free trial period. I don’t have any loyalty to one or the other utility program, and the same with, for example, Carbon Copy Cloner vs SuperDuper which I both own. I would just use whichever works best for me. The expense of paying for updates for both is worth it.
 
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Hi Tony, I removed all the fonts listed as problem fonts by FontDoctor but it did not work. Within FontExplorer none of the older Postscript fonts were active, I don't really use them, but they were still in the library as I did not have any reason to remove them before encountering the problem. However, it seems that just having them listed in FontExplorer, even when deactivated was causing the problem to happen, and it was only by removing them completely into the trash bin that the problem was rectified.

I shall look into FontAgent following your recommendation, I guess a back up makes sense should FontExplorer give me any problems. By the way the support team did respond to my email with the following message below. It's nice to know they care, although the font creating the problem was not a version of a system font as they suggest. I have not yet shared my findings with them yet.

*******************
Hello,

It is probably a conflict with some old fonts (mostly PostScript Type1 fonts) you imported to FontExplorer X Pro with system fonts (due to same post script name). So please find out which font is used in your Emails/Website. And search for old Helvetica, Arial, Neue Helvetica, Verdana... PostScript fonts (which are not a system fonts) and remove them to solve conflict with system font.

Please enable "Conflicts" view option in source pane (/View/Configure Source List/). Click on "Conflicts" icon (below system fonts), use Conflicts: "Same PostScript name with multiple activation".

If you have MacOS Catalina you can also read this article:

https://www.macworld.com/article/3528553/font-chaos-in-macos-catalina-and-how-to-deal-with-it.html

If issue still persist, kindly share screenshots of the issue you are facing. clarifying your query more with screenshots.

Should you have any further queries, please feel free to contact us once again.

*******************
 

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