Using Bit Stream’s Font Navigator

As one of the most useful utilities included in CorelDraw, Font Navigator, is the least talked about and most misunderstood because of the lack of proper instruction in its use. With this tool, it is possible to access thousands of fonts – limited only by the size of your hard drive – assuming most font sizes to be around 50 to 150kb, without bogging down your system with unnecessary fonts. This article will take you through the steps in using Font Navigator, and you will find, as I have, that it will become an indispensable tool in any work that involves using fonts for design.

Anytime you do anything in a folder called Fonts – no matter where you create it – Windows sees it as part of its operating system. For this reason, you need to create a working storage folder for all the fonts on your hard drive – or even on an external drive – that can be accessed by the Navigator program. To do this, find the place on your drive you want to make the folder. It can be as easily created directly under the C: drive or it can be under C:\Documents or on your desktop – or anywhere you want it to be. Right click and go to ‘New’ – ‘folder’ and create a new folder. Name or re-name this folder something like ‘Fontz’ or ‘Fonnts’ or anything else that Windows won’t recognize as your ‘Fonts’ folder. Once you have this folder, this will be your default download location for all your fonts. You can copy fonts by exploring graphics program disks, word processor program disks, or any other program that has fonts included with the program. You can also go to font downloading websites and download fonts, some free and some not. Find all the fonts you can. You may even want to open up your C:\Windows\Fonts folder and copy these fonts to the new folder. Wherever you find a font, put it into your new ‘Fontz’ folder. Also remember, whenever you click on a font, Windows loads it into your system, so you will find fonts added to your basic Windows font group, without even realizing it, so from here on, only access your fonts through Font Navigator. We can clear a lot of this up later.

Now, you must find the program. On a ‘typical’ or ‘minimal’ install of CorelDraw, Font Navigator does not load. You must do a ‘custom’ install of the Corel program to be able to access which programs load. In the custom install, you will find the part where the program asks you which applications to load and Font Navigator will be grayed out. You must put a check mark next to this while installing to load Font Navigator. That being done, you can now continue with the rest of the install process. When it gets to the part where you are asked which fonts to install with the program, choose as many as you like (or all of them) as long as you install them to your default folder for downloading fonts (‘Fontz’) and not to your Windows Font folder. There are thousands of fonts included on the Corel disk and if you install by default, they will be put into your Fonts folder in Windows and will bog down your system operations. Typically, you should run your system with as few fonts as necessary (up to 100 or so) to insure proper computer operations. Continue with the install as you like.

Once everything is installed and your system re-booted, we now go into the folder on your main (C) drive where Corel is installed. We are looking for the Font Navigator program file. If you did not change the location for the program installation, you will likely find it at C:\Program Files\Corel\Graphics8 (or whatever version you have)\Fontnav. The icon for the program looks like an arrowhead. You need to right click on this icon in that folder and create a shortcut to your desktop or to the Windows toolbar. Now you have a launch point for the Font Navigator program. This is where you will run the program. Now we move on to the fonts themselves.

Now that you have Font Navigator installed and fonts in your new folder, we will tell the program how to find and manipulate them. This process is a bit involved in the beginning, but once you run through it, you will be able to install and uninstall groups of fonts, or individual fonts, with one click of the mouse from your ‘Start’ button. From your desktop, click on the arrowhead icon and open the Font Navigator program. You will see the main screen divided into five sections – the toolbar up top and four viewer windows. The upper left window is the ‘Contents’ window and this will eventually show you all the fonts in your new ‘Fontz’ folder. The upper right window is the ‘Installed Fonts’ window that shows which fonts are installed in your system right now. If you never did any installing or uninstalling fonts before, the number of installed fonts in your system could be in the hundreds or even thousands. If this is the case, your system is running very slow and unstable. The lower left window is the Font Group window and you won’t see anything there right now, but you soon will! Finally, the lower right window is your Font Sample, which, anytime you click on a font, you can view and use this window to pick and choose the fonts you want.

The first thing to do is create your ‘basic’ groups of fonts that will run on your system most of the time. These groups will contain a minimum of fonts and will be used as your master groups. Go to the ‘font group’ window (lower left) and right click. Select ‘new group’ and when the window opens, name this group. Use any name you like, but keeping the names simple will help identify them later on, during install/uninstall functions. Personally, my first two groups are named ‘Minimum’ and ‘Windows’. The first being a minimum number of about 10 fonts being installed on my system for basic computer function and the second is a group of about 120 fonts that I use for Windows, email, letters, web pages etc. After creating your first new group, click on the ‘properties’ tab for that group (right click on that group folder) and open the properties window. Go to the ‘shortcut’ tab and put a check (?) mark in the ‘create shortcut for this group’ box. Next, put a check mark in the ‘add to Start Menu’ box. Then click on the ‘do not display confirmation dialog’ box and the two options under it will light up. Put a mark next to either the ‘add to’ or ‘replace with’ boxes underneath. Since these first two groups are your main working groups, I would select ‘replace with’ so when you load these groups, it will get rid of all the other fonts on your installed list, and clear up your system. Any font groups you create after these first two, I would choose ‘add to’ so they will add to the choices you have at your disposal. When you’re done, click on ‘apply’ and then OK. Create two folders this way, and they should now show in the Font Groups window. We’re ready to begin the font search.

Go to the ‘Installed fonts’ (upper right) window. If you have less than 300 or so fonts currently installed, you are in pretty good shape. For those who have thousands installed -good luck. The first thing to do is uninstall ALL your fonts, thats right, all. Click on the first installed font and, either scroll all the way down, or hold the shift key and click the last font until all the fonts are highlighted. Once they are highlighted, right click on any of the highlighted parts and select ‘uninstall’ fonts or you can ‘drag and drop’ them back to the Contents window. You will see a little minus (-) in the cursor as you drag them over to the Contents window. This is how you move the fonts around. Now that your installed window is empty, we can start finding fonts and filling our groups. To find the rest of your fonts (the ones you’re hiding from Windows), the drop down window on the toolbar in Font Navigator must be set to ‘Font Catalog’. If it isn’t, click on the down arrow in the window and select it. Once you have it selected, go to the file menu and click on ‘find fonts’. A search window will come up and ask you to direct it to your fonts. Simply scroll through the tree to the location of your saved ‘fontz’ folder and select OK.

The font catalog will now load all the fonts from that folder into your font catalog. You can put as many fonts as you want into this catalog and it will not affect your system as these are not installed, just cataloged. If need be, you can go to ‘File’ – ‘Settings’ – ‘Duplicate Fonts’ and the program will show you where, on your system, you have duplicate fonts entered. This takes a while to run and takes even longer to delete, one by one at a time. I, personally, don’t feel this is a necessary step. Who cares which fonts are duplicated, as long as they are installed individually. Take a look at the ‘Contents’ window and see what fonts you really need. Simply click on the first font and view it in the sample window. As you use the down arrow on the keyboard, you can scroll through the fonts.

Here’s the fun part. If you go to ‘view’ on the toolbar, you can not only change the font size for viewing but you can change the sample text. This is very useful when doing a graphic and you aren’t sure which font to choose. Simply select the ‘change sample text’ button and type in the graphic text you are creating, then hit the enter key. For example it may be ‘Fred’s Tractor Service’, and you see how that name will look in all the fonts, simply by scrolling with the down arrow after changing the text. Also at this point, you can view all of your fonts by selecting the View toolbar and select ‘All Fonts’ or ‘Fonts by Format’ or ‘Fonts by Style’. This will automatically separate your fonts by your selections. You can also view the ‘customized’ view, which will let you also choose ‘Fonts by Vendors’, ‘Fonts by Characters’ and ‘Fonts by Name’. This is a great way to let the program categorize your fonts for you. While you are in any of these views, you can right click on the font ‘groups’ window – create a new folder – name it – create the shortcut to it – and make it an ‘add to current fonts’ property. You can then pick and choose (select a font – view it on the Sample screen – and click and drag it to the folders. By doing this, you will eventually create a list of folders with your chosen fonts, broken down by style or types. Since I do screenprin�L wor# als�”@ded #creeL� nt’ er, (h I ����for any fonts that were on any of my jobs, so that by loading this folder at the beginning of a job, I know the fonts will be there, very useful. I also have folders of different styles like, ‘block letters’, ‘symbols’, ‘script’ and many others.

Let’s fill our first folder. Look down your list and find the minimum fonts you want installed on your system, I’m talking 10 to 20 at the most. You might want to include fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, OCR Extended, Courier and Zurich. Don’t get carried away, this is only the ‘minimum’. Drag and drop these fonts from the Contents window back into the Installed window. The bar on top of the window will tell you how many fonts are currently installed on your system. Once you have these fonts ready, highlight, drag and add them to the ‘minimum’ folder in the Groups window the same way. When you are done you should be able to open (double click) the folder called ‘minimum’ and see the same choices you have in the Installed window. That’s it for that folder. Double click to close the folder. Go back to the Contents window and scroll down and drag and drop more fonts into the Installed window. You are going for your second folder (Windows). In this folder you may want to add to the others; Avant-Gardes, Futura, Century, Copperplate, Lucinda, Zurich or anything else that appeals to you in the Sample window. Just keep the number down under 120, or so. When you’ve got the fonts that are going to fill your second folder in the Installed window, highlight, drag and drop them into your second folder. You now should have two filled folders in the Groups window. If you double click on each of them they will open up and show you their contents. One should have 10 to 20 fonts and the other should have up to 120. This was the hardest part; from here it should get easier. You will just continue creating folders in the Groups window (don’t forget to change the properties) and drag and drop fonts into the folders as you see fit, to suit your needs. When you are done making folders, you can leave your ‘minimum’ or ‘windows’ folder of fonts installed (uninstall currently installed fonts, then you can drag the whole, closed folder from the Groups window to the Installed window to install) and then close the program out.

The final step to this project will be to organize your folder selecting process. Right click on your ‘Start’ button and select ‘Explore’. Scroll down and select C:\Windows\Start Menu. You will see all your folders on the right hand screen. You can leave them all here, and they will all pop up under your ‘Start’ button when you click on it, or you can organize them into one main folder on your Start button. Right click on that selected line in the Start menu and create a New Folder. Call this folder something like ‘Font loader’ or something similar. Now go on the right side of the explorer page and drag all the folders you’ve created into the new ‘Font Loader’ folder. Now when you close out that window and click on your Start menu, you will see the Loader folder and it will expand into your individual folders. When you click on any of these folders, Font Navigator automatically loads these fonts into your system, either ‘added to’ or ‘replacing’ the currently installed fonts in your system. This is great when you are working on a project and run out of usable fonts and want to add more. Simply click on Start – Font Loader and add font groups. You may have to restart CorelDraw to have the fonts accessible this way. When you want your basic fonts back, just click on the ‘Windows’ or ‘Minimum’ folders you created. You can also move fonts around your system by opening Font Navigator and dragging them manually, either into or out of the Installed window, and you shouldn’t have to re-start Corel.

This final paragraph will explain how I use this program for screenprinting (or any other graphic work). When I’m working on a project and I’m not sure which font will work for what I’m doing, I open Font Navigator – select the first font in the Catalog window – go to View – ‘Change sample text’ – type in the text I’m working on, hit enter – change size – then scroll down (down arrow on keyboard) to find the font that fits the text perfectly. When I find the one I want, I click and drag it down into my Screenprint folder and when I click on that folder in my Start menu, the font will be there to use for my job.

The only quirk I have found in Font Navigator is, sometimes as I’m scrolling down my list, one or more of the fonts will come up as ‘can’t be found’. Instead of going nuts, I simply hit cancel, note the name of the font and go back into the Catalog list and (right click) delete the offending font. That is, unless I critically need it, in which case, I’ll do a search for and re-install the font.

I hope this helps explain some of the workings of Font Navigator for those of you interested in learning how to use it. As I said, there is no real documentation I have found for this program and everything I learned was from trial and error. If there are mistakes, or better ways to do things, I would be happy to learn them, but I have found a way to use this program to my satisfaction and I hope you will be able to do the same. If you have any comments or questions you can email me at

One response to “Using Bit Stream’s Font Navigator

  1. The article requires careful examination. It’s detailed and appreciated, but perhaps a lot to digest in one sitting. I’d break it up into sections, I think. I’m in Starbucks as I type this, frantically trying to nab some fonts from online before I head into work, and no wifi, with my laptop. My laptop is shared with workmate who has a Blackberry that he tethers it to for web access. I have no Blackberry.

    I love Bitfont Navigator. I am a longtime WordPerfect user who misses his WP. Windows 7 doesn’t like my old WP 2002. I downloaded a trial version of WP 4X, but somehow missed the Bitfont Navigator. I assumed I could find it online, and fonts. I will one day own my trial Windows, I expect. But right now, I’d just like to deal with my dearth of fonts. I thought there might be some links here to help me in that regard.

    Regardless, Thanks. Later…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s