The mystery of disappearing fonts in Adobe CS (lllustrator, InDesign, PhotoShop, etc.)

If you are using any of the Adobe CS (Creative Suite) line and some of your fonts have mysteriously disappeared or you are all of the sudden getting dreaded missing fonts warning when you open a document that you created on your machine (with the fonts that you USED to have), your problem might be associated with having upgraded to a newer version of your CS product.

I recently removed Adobe CS2 from my laptop to clear up some hard drive space (Note: you can legally continue to run older versions of Adobe CS even after you’ve upgraded, and it’s probably a good idea to keep your older versions unless you need the disk space). Well, today, I went to open a document that I had created prior to removing CS2, when lo and behold, Illustrator CS4 informed me that Century Old Style Std was missing. Now, I had created this document in Illustrator CS4, so it didn’t dawn on me right away that the removal of CS2 could be the source of the problem, so I wasted quite a bit of time trying to figure out how this font could have been deleted from my Windows>Fonts folder. As it turns out, it wasn’t deleted from there at all, because it was never there in the first place.

When installing Adobe CS2 on a Windows machine, Open Type Fonts are stored in Program Files>Common Files>Adobe>Fonts (on a Mac they are stored in [Macintosh HD] /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Fonts/). As long as you leave the fonts there, you can upgrade to newer versions of Adobe CS products and the fonts will still be accessible. For example, upgrading to CS4 will not wipe out your CS2 fonts from this folder. HOWEVER, if at some point you decide to remove your older CS or CS2 versions, the uninstaller will remove the fonts associated with the Creative Suite version you are removing (I think this only applicable to CS and CS2 removal, but I’m not positive).

The easiest way to prevent this from happening is, of course, not to remove your older versions of Adobe CS. If you’re like me and you’ve already made that mistake, hopefully, you still have your CS or CS2 installation disks laying around (or better yet, you still have the older versions on another machine). To fix the situation, either completely reinstall your old CS version(s) or copy the missing fonts you need off another machine that you are LEGALLY running the older versions on (the Adobe Creative Suite license typically allows activation on 2 machines) and paste them into the folder mentioned in the paragraph above. Restart your Adobe application, and you should be all set.


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