InDesign Font Plug-in Lets You Try Before You Buy

An InDesign plug-in that lets designers preview and buy fonts from within a layout is in beta testing and available for download. Called FontGazer, the plug-in connects directly to which gives you access to more than 150,000 fonts.

The way it works is quite simple. Install the FontGazer plug-in in your InDesign CS5 or CS5.5 plug-in folder. Open InDesign and create a text frame. Enter the text that you’d like to experiment with. Now open Fontgazer (Window > Fontgazer).

The FontGazer Window appears, showing the first screen of fonts as presented in alphabetical order. Advance through fonts A-Z or browse by type category, usage, or themes.

When you’ve found a font you want to play around with, select the type frame — curiously not the text itself — then click on the font in the FontGazer window. A drop-down appears that shows the available weights in the family. The window also shows what formats are available: OpenType, Standard, and CCF (Compact Font Format).

Here’s the fun part. You now have the option to Try or Buy. Click the Try button and the type in your layout changes to that font. Click on another and the font changes accordingly. You cannot select individual words in the text frame, however. The test font applies to all the words in the frame. To test different fonts on multiple words, you need to create a separate text frame for each.

When you find a font you like, simply click the Buy button and the typeface is added to your shopping cart.

It’s important to remember that what you see on screen is essentially a representation of the selected typeface. The plug-in pulls font data from, not the actual font. As a result, it’s not editable text. To change words in the text block, you have to delete the text frame and start all over. This is a real nuisance if you want to test a font on carefully composed type. There should be an exit button that returns the text to the original font.

I tested FontGazer in InDesign 5.5. Error messages popped up and InDesign crashed, but I’ll chalk that up to it being beta software.

FontGazer shows promise and once the kinks get ironed out, it should help broaden designers’ type horizons (and sell more fonts, which is more to the point). No word yet as to when the final version will be available.

To download the free beta software, go to

A doff of the cap to for the tip.


Posted on: April 12, 2012

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