Mac OS X 10.6.7 Update Causes Problems With OpenType Fonts


I just now received this warning from FontShop‘s trustworthy FontFeed:

———————— blogger David Caolo warns that Mac OS X 10.6.7 introduces issues with PostScript-flavoured OpenType fonts. In a thread on Apple’s Discussions boards Kurt Lang describes problems with regards to printing and PDF handling.

As soon as you install 10.6.7, OpenType PostScript fonts are indeed broken… [the issue] is confined to OT PS fonts. All PDF files, including those using OpenType PostScript fonts display correctly in Preview. With the Acrobat Reader, all PDF files display correctly except those using OT PS fonts. So no matter who gets PDF files created under 10.6.7 using OT PS fonts, they will not display correctly on the Mac or in Windows…

After extensive troubleshooting Lang concludes that the issues only arise after updating the OS X – his installations of Adobe Reader or Preview were unchanged, and everything worked fine in Mac OS X 10.6.6. Furthermore TidBITS publisher Adam Engst reports that the impacts are wider than one may suspect. He describes the problem as follows.

[…] each font used in a PDF has a description of how the glyphs are encoded, and a change in 10.6.7 resulted in PDFs ending up with an incorrect encoding definition. Since Mac OS X uses PDF as the print spool format, that accounts for both PDF files and print jobs showing the problem. The Flash Professional authoring tool relies on the platform’s font rendering, which explains why it’s having trouble too.

As the bug only affects Mac applications that rely on Mac OS X’s mechanism for rendering fonts, designers using programs like Adobe InDesign are safe. Those applications have their own rendering engines, making them immune to these issues.

Apparently Apple is not yet working on the issue. If you haven’t updated to Mac OS X 10.6.7 yet it is advised holding off until Apple resolves the situation. According to a tweet by San Diego based graphic designer Joshua Robinson (via the incomparable Typegirl), the unofficial answer to fixing some of the font problems in OS X 10.6.7 is to clear your font cache using the free multi-function utility OnyX.

Kurt Lang’s comment in the Font Problems After 10.6.7 thread – Apple Discussions forum
OpenType PostScript Fonts Troublesome in 10.6.7 – TidBITS, Adam C. Engst


Jay Nelson is the editorial director of, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.

10 thoughts on “Mac OS X 10.6.7 Update Causes Problems With OpenType Fonts

  1. So are those of us using Quark 8 okay, or should we go back to old Postscript fonts, or try to uninstall 10.6.7?

  2. Jill: the first thing I would do is clear the font caches, as recommended above. (You can use Onyx, or another cache-clearing tool. FontExplorer X Pro has one built into it.)

    Then, I’d try creating some PDFs from QuarkXPress, using PostScript flavored OpenType fonts. Take those PDFs to a Mac not running 10.6.7. Open them in Adobe Reader and see if they look right.

    If not, then you may have to either downgrade your OS (I’m not sure how to do that), or wait for Apple or Quark to issue a fix. (And I’m not sure if Quark CAN fix Apple’s mistake.)

    If anyone from Quark is reading this, can you chime in?

  3. I tried to emulate this error. I created some pdf Q9 and Texedit.
    but I see no problem. Selected OT fonts look good in Adobe Pro 9.

  4. Steve Werner’s post at has some helpful reader comments at the end. It seems that some InDesign users are seeing problems, but others aren’t.—but-probably-not-in-indesign.php

  5. Tim Colton

    I don’t think the problems are limited to OT fonts. Periods in the Adobe type 1 font futura light have quit displaying on screen in both quark 7.5 and 8.5 for mac. They show up when the file is printed to pdf, though, and they display properly in Illustrator CS4. This problem shows up on all the macs in our office that have upgraded to 10.6.7. Those that are still running 10.5.8 don’t have the problem.

  6. Paul

    Apparently there is something in the air with 10.6 and fonts [remember 10.6.1..?]… VERY disappointing and dicsouraging to designers that rely on type, and in various formats. The last OS font issue that I remember was the OS 8.6 font bug [the OS corrupted certain fonts with older resource forks].

    I finally got around to upgrading from Leopard and would have stayed with 10.6.6 had I known about this problem, but ‘.7’ was already released. I typically wait for user feedback UNLESS the update fixes an issue I am experiencing.

    I hope Apple is not too busy with 10.7 to quickly provide a swift remedy to the buggy ‘.7’ update.

  7. My god… What a massive ball-drop.

    All my Flash projects have been rendered useless until this issue is resolved… I wonder who at Apple I can bill for loss of earnings?

    I also heard that if you convert your opentype fonts to Truetype this may help the issue… You’ll still have to re-do all your text fields…

    Nobody at Apple thought to test Adobe products against the upgrade???

  8. F.C. Wolf

    After “upgrading” to 10.6.7, Flash CS4 Professional refused to open .fla files, crashing instead. Other (related?) font issues were the identification by MS Excel of corrupt fonts and the refusal of Adobe Reader to print certain documents. Deleting the fonts offending MS Excel and switching to Preview were feasible, easy fixes but as for Flash, Adobe support could not find a fix for 5 days. Joshua Robinson’s solution works: Flash is now functional. Many thanks, Joshua.

  9. There is new update from Apple!

    The Snow Leopard Font Update contains fixes for Mac OS X v10.6.7 that address issues displaying and printing OpenType fonts.

    It’s good news because i finally noticed this error on my mac…

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