Fontbase Font Manager and Inkscape

I finally solved how to get FontBase fonts to work with Inkscape — and potentially fonts that are managed with a different font manager. I use way too many fonts to just “install them all into Windows” without having problems. Switching to a font manager solved that and allowed me to access my fonts as needed in software like Affinity Designer, but I couldn’t get them to work in Inkscape.

With the newly released Inkscape 1.0, I felt it was time to try out Inkscape again — I’ve always liked how it was trying to provide all the functionality of CorelDraw (without the huge price tag). Free is a compelling price.

But I need my fonts to work, or it isn’t worth anything!

Here’s the simple solution: Look in the Inkscape Preferences menu under Text and in the “Font directories” section, add in the path of the directory that holds your FontBase fonts. Yes, it is that easy — the trick is knowing that such a thing exists and where it is located. I suspect that this same thing will work for other font manager software.

How to use FontBase fonts in Inkscape. This probably works for any font manager - the trick is to point Inkscape to the directory that holds the fonts.
Maybe I’m dull, but a pic like this one above with the big red arrow would have been worth 1,000 words. I would never have guessed this setting existed – especially since other software uses fonts just fine without it.

I have no idea how long the solution has been this simple, but I know I’ve been looking for it for years. Maybe I’m dull, or maybe you found this post because you have the same problem and that pic above will be your AHA!

Also note in the image above: I keep my fonts in a OneDrive folder. Because last time my hard drive died I lost ALL my fonts back until the last time I had made a copy of my fonts folder. ARGH!

Now when I add a font it is backed up to OneDrive as part of the process.

The links below were mostly not helpful except for knowing that other people had the same problem, so I’m including them here just to show that nobody had clearly given a solution. Again and again.

My research:

This was something I found a long time ago, and tried, and it didn’t work. It was subtitled as “Use SkyFonts with InkScape and other font managers” but talked about FontBase and seemed relevant to any font manager (it includes the list SkyFonts, NexusFont, The Font Thing, FontBase, etc.).

How to Fix
The fix–for me, at least–is to use symlinks.

Thinking that it was possibly that I just created the symlink incorrectly, I searched around and found a SuperUser question:

View a list of symbolic links on system?

It suggested using NTFSLinksView and since I’ve trusted Nir Sofer software before I tried it. And found that my symlink was done correctly, it just didn’t fix the font problem.

Then there’s this – which suggested that you right-click on fonts and install them as Administrator “for all users” and that Inkscape won’t work with font managers. I don’t want to install over 1000 fonts into Windows, so this wasn’t helpful (other than the claim that “Are you using a font manager? If so it’s a known issue on Windows.”

new fonts not showing up?
Any ideas why my newly installed fonts wont show inside inkscape? they worked on my old computer but now they wont on my new alienware 17 r4 running latest win 10..
Adobe illustrator sees it but inkscape does not.

Here’s a Feature Request from 2019 to make Inkscape work with font managers.

Feature Request: Fontbase and other font managers

I found that this problem has been around (or around and then solved and then unsolved…) for a while (almost 6 years):

Inkscape & Font manager issue
Asked by Carl on 2014-07-29

And again the “answer” that would work was “For the moment, you could maybe just solve the problem fast by copying the font files you need into your ‘true’, un-managed, font directory.” — except of course, that this is the thing that one wants to avoid.

And a more recent

Inkscape >= 0.91 doesn’t show fonts loaded by font manager on Windows
Bug #1416674 reported by Matt Sim on 2015-01-31

All this goes to show is that by the time someone reports a bug, there are probably a LOT of people experiencing the bug.

Another useful (but perhaps unrelated tidbit) from that page is:
“A few releases ago, Microsoft managed to thoroughly break font management on Windows 10.” which is described here:

Problems in Windows 10 Creators Update with Fonts Installed via “Shortcut”!

Another thing I tried was using the Unstable Master of Inkscape

This didn’t help either. But I LOVE the “Draw Unstably” tagline. Describes me well.

The big clue that a way to solve the problem was found here. Except all the person said for a solution was that it was “already available” — but without saying where to find it… leading me to search through all the possible preferences until I located the setting.

Access to fonts in any folder
Bug #1800261 reported by Dash Pixelsson on 2018-10-27

And if you’re wondering what I’m doing with Inkscape – here’s a taste of work-in-progress: