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Kevin McAllister

VW Mac, Fonts and VW Cloud Services

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This post is about the how and why of fonts for Mac users who want to work with VW Cloud Services. It doesn’t deal with missing characters or other VW font issues. Its based on my four year journey of figuring out why VW Cloud Services wouldn’t work with my preferred font - ITC Avant Garde Gothic. I’m going to try to stick to my observations and stay away from editorializing my feelings about the experience. Its solely based on my experience of troubleshooting and in no way represents anything beyond that.

On the surface VW seems to work fine with all of the fonts on my Mac but there are some hidden issues that seem to affect interaction with VW Cloud Services. My fonts for this demonstration are Century Gothic, Century Gothic Bold, Century Gothic Italic, and Century Gothic Bold Italic. I chose this font family because it appears on the VW Cloud Services font list ( https://cloud.vectorworks.net/portal/fonts/ ) and theoretically should just work. The version I used is a Truetype font. To access any of the styled fonts in VW you need to choose Century Gothic and then style it using the Bold, Italic or Bold Italic. You are able to select Century Gothic Bold as a font from the font menu and it will look ok locally on your machine, but it will not work with VW Cloud Services. Only Century Gothic styled Bold will work. Here’s what you get when putting a file containing the various incarnations of Century Gothic through VW Cloud Services.

Century Gothic Screen Shot.png

Screen Shot 2016-09-25 at 3.11.03 PM.png

VW Cloud Services also sends this email about the missing fonts -

Screen Shot 2016-09-25 at 3.44.19 PM.png

The problem here is that in most cases these fonts aren’t actually “missing”. The Windows version of VW just can’t connect the dots that Century Gothic styled Bold and the font named Century Gothic Bold are the same thing. This is a failing in how the Mac version of VW writes font assignments into a file. As a secondary test, I typed some example text using Century Gothic, Century Gothic Bold, Century Gothic Italic and Century Gothic Bold Italic in the Pages word processor. I then cut and paste the text into VW. VW gets confused here too. With Century Gothic Bold for example, it assigns it the correct font but also adds a Bold style to it.

(In some cases VW will generate a fake styled version of a font but that is not happening here. The generated version tend to have rounded corners, be slightly lighter weight and have other characteristics that make them distinguishable.)

What does all this mean for Mac user's of VW Cloud Services? Here's some practical information I learned -

  • To fix my problems with ITC Avant Garde Gothic I edited it directly in a program called Transtype 4. It allows you to convert, rename and organize font families.
  • Any font pulled from a larger family needs to have a “regular” style present to work. Working in Transtype, that "regular" style needs to have all its technical names matching and its Parameters and Style Link Value need to be set to Regular.
  • Stand alone fonts (eg. not part of a larger family) will also work if they conform to this naming convention.
  • Any font I tried labelled “Opentype Postscript” or “Opentype Truetype” by Fontbook wouldn’t work. Fonts that seemed to works were listed as “PostScript Type 1 or Truetype in Fontbook.
  • Odd styles like “Medium” or “Light” are styles that VW Cloud Services doesn’t seem to understand because VW doesn’t understand them.

In almost all of these instances, fonts will work with VW on a local machine and behave fine. Its only VW Cloud Services that fails (and perhaps cross platform files, though in my testing my specific fonts worked fine with the Windows operating system itself. I didn’t test a full Windows VW installation.).

Hopefully this help others to resolve their VW Cloud Services font issues.

Kevin

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2 hours ago, Kevin McAllister said:

(In some cases VW will generate a fake styled version of a font but that is not happening here. The generated version tend to have rounded corners, be slightly lighter weight and have other characteristics that make them distinguishable.)

Here's the same sample with Century Gothic Bold, Century Gothic Italic and Century Gothic Bold Italic turned off on my Mac. You can see that VW generates interpreted versions for styled samples 2, 3 and 4 but they're not the same as when it uses the real fonts.

Kevin

Screen Shot 2016-09-25 at 7.10.22 PM.png

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