FontLab Studio, TypeTool & old TransType issues on macOS 10.13 High Sierra & later

Until further notice, we recommend FontLab Studio 5, TypeTool 3 and TransType Pro 3 users consider the issues below before they update to macOS 10.13 “High Sierra” or 10.14 “Mojave.” Those using FontLab Studio 5 for axis‐based (Multiple Master) type design, or who need the “paste special” function, should upgrade and get comfortable with FontLab VI before upgrading their OS.

Fontographer 5 and TransType 4 have no issues particular to High Sierra or Mojave that we know of. FontLab VI being developed on an all‐new platform, is is compatible with High Sierra and Mojave.

Install/Launch Problems

  • Older versions of FontLab Studio (5.1.4 and earlier) and TransType Pro 3 cannot be installed on High Sierra and later. If installed, they cannot launch on these operating systems.
    • If you installed one of these older apps prior to your OS upgrade, you will see this error message:
      • Error while writing license file /Library/Preferences/[name of license file]. Please make sure that you have rights to write to the folder and that such a file doesn’t already exist. Otherwise your license will be lost but your Activation key will be marked as used.”
    • If installed fresh after OS upgrade (or if the license file is removed), you will see this error message:
      • Error initializing license system. Bad or missing or expired RLM license (-130)...”
  • The solutions for install problems are to install Fontlab Studio 5.1.5 (a free update for 5.0/5.1.x), or upgrade from TransType 3 to TransType 4
  • For FontLab Studio, be aware also of issues below!

Operating Problems

  • FontLab Studio 5.1.5 and TypeTool 3.1.2 are affected. (FontLab VI is not.)
  • The problems occur on macOS 10.13 “High Sierra” and later.
  • In the Font Window, copy/pasting or appending glyphs does not work normally
    • The “paste” and “append glyph” options are grayed out (even after you “copy”), and the corresponding keyboard shortcuts also don’t work.
    • There is a good workaround, below.
  • Within a Glyph Window, copy/paste of contours is broken for multiple‐master (MM) fonts—only one master gets copied and pasted.
    • Single‐master fonts do fine with copy/paste within the Glyph Window.
    • There is no direct workaround for this problem.
  • Paste Special” function in FontLab Studio 5 does not work. There is no direct workaround for this problem.

Workarounds for FontLab Studio 5 & TypeTool 3

We do not have any solution for MM font editing in FontLab Studio 5. However, this is a decent workaround for the first problem in both apps:

To copy one or more glyphs in the Font Window:

  1. select the cell(s)
  2. click and drag the cell(s) to their destination, but do not let go of the mouse button
  3. Now press the Command key, and keep it pressed while you let go of the button

This works within a Font Window, or between two Font Windows.

You can let go in any empty slot. If no empty slot is available, let go in an occupied slot. You will get a dialog asking if you want to replace the glyph(s). If you say “no,” then the glyph(s) will be appended to the font instead.

 

Last update: 27 Sept  2018, 10:22 am PST, v 3.1

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Thomas Phinney

Thomas Phinney is CEO of FontLab. Previously he worked at Extensis (web fonts and font management tools) and Adobe (as product manager for global fonts and typography). Thomas is also a type designer, teacher, writer, and consultant on fonts and typography. He has been consulted by Apple, Adobe, Microsoft, Oxford University Press, a “big three” US auto maker, the US Treasury Department, and PBS “History Detectives,” among others. He teaches type design with Crafting Type and has been a repeat guest lecturer for MA Typeface Design at the University of Reading. Since 2004 he has been a board member of ATypI, the international typography association. His typeface Hypatia Sans is an Adobe Original with over 3000 glyphs per font.

Comments (7)

  • John Nahmias

    |

    Are there any known issues with MOJAVE as yet.

    Reply

    • Thomas Phinney

      |

      Mojave is still in pre‐release. Our initial quick testing showed the same issues as with High Sierra. But Mojave is not yet final, and more testing may also reveal more issues.

      Reply

    • Thomas Phinney

      |

      We still know of no issues specific to macOS Mojave (10.14) — same issues as with High Sierra (10.13).

      Reply

  • John Nahmias

    |

    Thanks Thomas,
    I love the FL.5.1.5 and plan to continue with it. The FL VI is still within my learning process (tough going though).
    I hope MOJAVE will not have HI SIERRA issues. Otherwise I will not be able to upgrade to H.SIERRA OR MOJAVE. (I don’t like working with the work‐arounds for FL.5.
    Would it be possible to upgrade FL. 5.1.5 to run with these new upgrades?

    Reply

    • Thomas Phinney

      |

      Theoretically, we could do this. But it would be a lot of work, taking us away from fixing bugs and issues in the current app.

      The bigger problem is that Apple tells us the next OS after Mojave will only run 64‐bit apps. Upgrading the existing FontLab Studio 5 code base to 64‐bit would be a MUCH bigger undertaking. So doing the steps just to work with the existing OS would only keep FontLab Studio 5 “safe” for one more year. This is a major consideration in our thinking.

      Reply

      • Doug Bakkum

        |

        On the same thought... are there any plans to update Fontographer to a 64 bit app?

        I’m needing a new system and iMac Pro might be it... but only for 64 bit apps after Mojave...

        Thoughts?

        Reply

        • Thomas Phinney

          |

          Fontographer 5 is what it is. Migrating it to 64‐bit would be impractical.

          If we were to do a “new version” of Fontographer, labeled as Fontographer 6, it would be a “lighter” version of FontLab VI, slightly simplified, with a few advanced features removed. But based on that code base and that interface, with a lower price.

          Although we haven’t been advertising it heavily, besides putting FontLab VI on sale, we have recently reduced the price on Fontographer 5 (from $399 to $259) and reduced the price of the upgrade from Fontographer to FontLab VI as well (from $344 to $229).

          Reply

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