Graphic Design Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for Graphic Design professionals, students, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've got a few fonts I've purchased over the past few years.

These are decent quality fonts with, on average, 8-15 different faces for the family.

The problem I have is each face is listed separately in various applications (Photoshop, Indesign, etc.) Rather than simply one item with a submenu for faces.

For example I have:
(fig. A)

FontA Bold >
FontA Bold Italic >
FontA Italic >
FontA Regular >

Rather than:
(fig. B)

FontA >
        Bold Italic

What tool on the Macintosh can combine these faces so they are all listed under the family name? As in the figure B, above.

I know there are a couple high-end apps (Fontographer, FontLab). Are there are basic smaller apps to simply edit the font info without editing character and other tables? I don't want to edit the actual font data specifically, merely the titles and naming structure I believe.

How do I do this with the tool suggested, specific steps please?

Running Mac OS 10.7, but can boot to 10.6 or 10.8 if needed. I am not absolutely looking for freeware. If there's a paid app to do this, I'm fine with that. If someone wants to outline steps in FontLab or Fontographer, I'm all ears.

These are commercial .otf fonts.


share|improve this question
Sounds like you want to make it into .dfont format. If you wanted to undo this (I know that is not the case in this question) you would use the DfontSplitter found here: – Oliver Tappin Sep 18 '12 at 19:30
No, not a .dfont (I hate those). I simply want each face to properly reference the same family. Everything works as is, but rather than 1 menu item with the family name, then a sub menu for all the faces, I have 1 menu item for each face even though they are the same family. – Scott Sep 18 '12 at 22:41
Would any of the fonts you've purchased even allow you to do this by their EULAs? I guess I'm wondering if you can do this without editing the font "software" itself. – Brendan Sep 19 '12 at 20:48
I don't care about the EULA - I'm editing for my use, not sharing and distributing. And I'm not looking to edit character tables. I merely want all faces to index the same family. I get no response from Myfonts where the fonts were purchased. – Scott Sep 19 '12 at 21:00
@MrE.Upvoter That was my vote :) It's tech support and belongs on SuperUser :) – Scott Nov 4 '14 at 3:06
up vote 7 down vote accepted

RoboFont is a great software (mac only) for font editing on so many levels. It also does what you're looking for: allows you to open individual files and edit their font info and then resave in whatever format you need. I recently had to do exactly what you're asking with my copy of Gotham which was installing as individual files and not as a family.

The purchase price on RoboFont is pretty steep, but really, the software is aimed at people who are drawing and editing their own fonts. For this purpose, the 15-day free trial may be all you need. Who knows, maybe you'll get hooked and buy a license. :)

Steps for changing Font Family

  1. Open your .otf files in robofont. They'll appear in separate windows.
  2. For each window, click on the tab Font Info (3rd tab from the left in the toolbar). It'll slidedown an editor with a few more tabs.
  3. The first tab is General which includes an input box for Family Name. The 2nd tab is OpenType which allows you direct access to the nameTable so you can edit all of that info including style names.
  4. Once you edit the info, simply type Command(⌘) G or choose File... -> Generate Font. Ensure it's exporting as .otf and save to desired location

RoboFont is also built beautifully in python, so you can execute your own custom scripts if you need.

share|improve this answer
Looks interesting. Priced around the same as FontLab Studio or Fontographer. Can you provide steps? – Scott Sep 22 '12 at 19:41
FYI if you just need this for a one-off font family renaming, just download the 15 day free trial -- should be plenty of time to rename your files without throwing down 400 euros. – Matthew Sep 23 '12 at 0:35
Yup. Marking this as correct because of the 15 day trial. This allows for renaming without any cost essentially. You should add the steps to the answer itself. – Scott Sep 24 '12 at 20:30

I'm not able to test this on a Mac, and the Windows version is too flakey and crash-prone to test, but this should work:

  • Install FontForge (open source font editor)
  • Load up the fonts which aren't falling into the same group.
    • An example free font that doesn't fully group for experimentation is Aller, where Aller Light/Light Italic and Aller Display don't group with Aller regular/bold/italic. Aller is a quite nice smooth friendly sans, but beware the hideous 'Display' variant, which will burn your eyes.
    • Best to work on files that aren't installed and aren't in use... (I remember experiencing a lot of crashes the few times I foolishly tried working on the installed files in system folders...)
  • Element > Font Info:

    • You want to change Family Name so that all variants have the same family name (in Aller example, Aller Light and and Aller Light Italic have family name Aller Light, change this to Aller).
    • Make sure that 'Weight' says something meaningful that doesn't clash with your existing fonts (e.g. Aller Light has weight 'Book', change to 'Light').
    • You may find you also need to change Fontname, but that should be unnecessary.
  • Check anything else you want to tweak, then when ready, File > Generate Font. Create an appropriate font file, install it. It should merge in lists with the others with the same Family Name.

If this doesn't work, some possibilities to investigate:

  • I seem to remember seeing somewhere once that on a Mac there's a fonts.list file that is a bit like a cache of fonts and file mappings. You might need to be manually update this in some cases to make the system aware of changes you've made - but I think it normally handles it automatically.
  • You can try grouping your .TTF font files into one .TTC collection file, by opening them all at once and using File > Generate TTC..., then choosing the appropriate files in the dialog. Again, this should be unnecessary (but might make housekeeping easier to have one file).
  • You can try Merging fonts together into one, using Element > Merge, selecting the font files to be merged in. This should be unnecessary, however.

Quick note - I don't know very much about how FontForge works under the hood, but I believe it has quite a lot of interaction with a remote server. No problem for genuine legitimate work like this, but anyone tempted by the fact that in theory copyrighted fonts can be imported and editted using FontForge should double-check their FAQ first:

And a quick note on "simply edit the font info without editing character and other tables" - I'm no expert, but my understanding is that since font files are compiled binaries rather than markup, then, a bit like with a .swf, any change (even a simple change like tweaking the font name) requires you to de-compile the file into markup you or the software can work with, then re-compile it, generating new binary after making your changes. This is a process that always can introduce noise and unexpected changes, as no de-compiler is ever perfect - and that's just a feature of editing anything that isn't the original source file. It should work so long as care is taken and so long as the font files are reasonably conventional.

share|improve this answer
Interesting. I'll have to investigate but I don't think Font Forge will work. I'm running Mac OS 10.7 (can use anything from 10.6 to 10.8). FontForge appears to only support up to OS 10.5. I'm guessing it's built on PPC libraries, which are not part of OS 10.7. By the way these are commercial OTF fonts, not .ttf files. – Scott Sep 20 '12 at 3:05
@Scott Would have been useful info in the first version of the question! But it shouldn't be a problem, fontforge does support otf and can be installed on Lion, skip to the end of this article or see second comment below the article for a detailed (if unintentionally patronising...) step by step. FontForge is a handy powerful tool to have, and surprisingly well documented. If the OTF is edit protected, it's probably not possible (not legally, anyway...) – user568458 Sep 20 '12 at 9:34
(re. that last point about edit protection - I'm sure I remember reading somewhere that it's possible to lock certain features of a font file to prevent their being editted by legitimate means. I can't find any resource on it, however, in the context of fontforge, OTF, or TTF, so I think I might have mis-remembered it or confused it with something else) – user568458 Sep 20 '12 at 9:42
Quick note on FontForge - it's considered to be equal in features to the $650 FontLab (some say it has more), and inconvenient install and ugly UI seem the main downsides. If you're not creating or editing fonts every week, it's a great way to simply add a powerful font tool to your belt. Comparison article:… If you plan to create or edit fonts regularly, then something slicker like Fontlab will be a good investment. Steps for this task will be very similar: Import OTF, edit same lines in Font Info, Export OTF. – user568458 Sep 20 '12 at 10:23
Workign on it. Finally got Homebrew installed. This article was helpful with that -… ignore step 1 in the link you posted, but step 2 is good. I've got FF running and can edit the family name.. but I'm having issues generating files. – Scott Sep 20 '12 at 11:31

I just combined the Nexa fonts into one Font Family on my my Macbook Pro running OSX 10.8 (Mountain Lion). The UI looks old (and not retina), but it worked.

$ brew install fontforge --with-x
$ brew linkapps
$ fontforge

Edit the Font

  1. Open the file and goto Element > Font Info.
  2. Under PS Names, change the Font Family to the common name you want. Leave Fontname and Name For Humans alone.
  3. Under TTF Names you can change the String for String ID "Styles (SubFamily)" to a unique name for that specific font like "Book-Italic"
  4. Select "Preferred Family" and click the delete button.
  5. Select "Preferred Style" and click the delete button.
  6. Click OK

Save the File

  1. Select File > Generate Fonts
  2. Change The select box under the font name to OpenType (CFF)
  3. Click Save
  4. Ignore Errors and Save


Close out of Font Book and then open the file and it should have the common font name in the title and the unique name in the drop-down.

Thanks to user568458 for their great answer.

share|improve this answer

For a while I have been looking for a similar solution and always got back to this thread. I've found something that solved the problem for me and though it would be good to share for further reference.

The Fontlab's TransType app, does exactly this, and a bit more:

share|improve this answer
Wow, this is an excellent reference. TransType is precisely what I was looking for, coming to this question (and it's a hell of a lot more pleasant to use than installing FontForge and trying to puzzle through it on a Retina display :P). – ELLIOTTCABLE Oct 19 '15 at 21:50

I am a designer who recently started focusing on font design full-time. As a designer I struggled for years with fonts that behaved differently in different software, didn't group correctly, etc., so once I had the typography software, I spent hundreds of hours renaming font files just for organisational purposes for my own use.

You might not want to hear this, but one thing you should be prepared for before investing in commercial tools is that they won't solve all these problems, not in every app anyway. No matter how much time or money you spend, some apps just render every style of every font as a new family. Even different versions of the same application. So if you don't need a commercial tool like Fontlab for actual font design, I would urge you to stick with freeware unless you're absolutely sure that you can fix how a font is displayed in the application you need it to.

For years one of the things I loved about Adobe apps is that they correctly grouped families together, and I could scroll through them all by highlighting some text, selecting the Font Family name in the type tool, and clicking the down arrow repeatedly. But ever since the release of Creative Cloud, each font now shows up on its own line, so when I scroll down, it scrolls through styles of that family, not the whole list of fonts. This doesn't mean that each style is displayed as its own family, as in your example, but it does appear that way from the menu, at least until you select one of the styles. Then it will display the styles in a second drop-down.

Meanwhile, while specialist developers like Adobe (who pioneered the opentype format!) can't seem to make their own fonts work in their own products, everyday apps that are built into OS X now group font families together correctly for the most part, no longer requiring me to spend so much time editing the files for organisation.

share|improve this answer

I would look into some of the font management software titles, such as FontExplorer X Pro or Extensis Suitcase Fusion:;productListing;pop

share|improve this answer
Font Management applications do not reconfigure internal font data. My question is not about font management. It's about editing a font package. I have a font manager (Font Agent Pro) which I've used for years. And I've tried Suitcase (yuck) and Font Xplorer, none of these applications allow for altering internal family references in a file. – Scott Sep 20 '12 at 3:07

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.