Extensis Suitcase Fusion 2 is excellent font-management software.

Most people take the fonts that are built into their PC for granted - they launch an app such as Word and just start typing with whatever font happens to be the default. However, designers may need to install many more fonts onto their system. That's when it's really worth having a management program such as Extensis Suitcase Fusion 2, to help keep your font collections organised.

There was no Suitcase Fusion ‘1' on Windows as there was for the Mac, as the previous version was Suitcase 11). Yet Extensis Suitcase Fusion 2 is a major upgrade, now sporting a completely redesigned interface that makes it easier to preview your font collections.

When you launch Suitcase Fusion 2, the Libraries panel on the lefthand side of the main window lists all the fonts installed on your PC. Click on a particular font in the list and the Preview pane will then display an instant preview of the variations, such as bold and italic forms, that are available for that font.

You can also ‘tear off' previews of individual fonts so that they float on screen in separate windows. This makes it easy to compare multiple fonts on screen to see which ones you prefer. There's also a separate ‘Glyph Viewer' that allows you to zoom in on the fine detail of individual characters, or you can simply print out pages of sample text to see how a font looks on paper.

Another key feature is the ability to activate or deactivate compiled sets of fonts. Rather than just storing fonts in Windows' default Fonts folder (C:/Windows/Fonts), Suitcase Fusion 2 allows you to create a ‘Font Vault' where you can store and organise your own personal collection of fonts.

Loading fonts into a program takes both time and system memory, so you can quickly click on any individual font to ‘deactivate' it and keep your design programs running smoothly. There's also an ‘auto-activation' option that can automatically load a specific set of fonts when you launch a program such as Word, Quark Xpress or Adobe InDesign. This can be useful for corporate design work where the corporate style dictates the use of a specific set of fonts.

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Extensis Suitcase Fusion 2: Specs

  • Windows XP (SP3) or later
  • Microsoft .NET 3.5 or higher
  • 1.6GHz processor, 500MB RAM, 150MB hard disk space
  • Windows XP (SP3) or later
  • Microsoft .NET 3.5 or higher
  • 1.6GHz processor, 500MB RAM, 150MB hard disk space


Not everyone will require a specialist tool such as this, of course – and you'll need a working knowledge of typography simply to wade through the Suitcase manual – but if you're a designer or involved in business design work then Suitcase Fusion 2 will quickly earn its keep by streamlining your workflow and ensuring that you always have the right fonts to hand.

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