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Beware the Calibri Font?

Question asked by DEC on Oct 30, 2015
Latest reply on Nov 10, 2015 by DEC

Hi Everyone,

 

Wondering if anyone can confirm whether the Calibri font has indeed been stripped from the installation of Microsoft Office and other products.  If true, it seems to me that this may potentially impact Filemaker developers in a fairly major way.

 

I found this article indicating that with the advent of Microsoft Office 2016 for the Mac, Microsoft has decided to "embed" the Calibri font inside the Office application itself, and abandoned the notion of installing the font on the user's computer (see Font Management | OfficeforMacHelp.com). 

 

If true, this means that this font is no longer freely available to use with anything other than Microsoft Office files for which the font is thus embedded.  If you wish to legally use the font for other purposes (such as in Filemaker or other software development or graphic design), you must on a going-forward basis purchase and install the font (available for $129 for 5 seats from fonts.com).

 

I first discovered this issue when I went to open one of my Filemaker solutions after installing Office 2016 on a brand new Apple laptop a few days ago, and found that the reports within the Filemaker solution looked different.  Upon inspection, I learned that the layouts within the Filemaker solution where Calibri was featured all automatically defaulted to the Helvetica font.  It took me a while to discover that the Calibri font didn't exist on that computer, after which I switched all of the fonts to the less attractive (though more reliable) Arial font.  Those solutions for which I employed the newly-established Themes capability of Filemaker will be easier to amend.

 

If the above is true, I feel it's a huge story that needs to be shared with software developers and web/graphic designers and other professionals worldwide.  The popularity of the Calibri font is quite huge.  It's an attractive and award-winning font.  Among other things, Calibri is the font recommended by the American Bar Association's "Manual of Style for Contract Drafting."  For those who use word processors and graphic design tools other than Microsoft Word, they perhaps awoke to a very nasty surprise on the morning they first opened their files featuring Calibri on a new computer.  Imagine thousands of documents and files and webpage designs for which the layout is suddenly thrown off.  Many of the authors and designers of these items have little practical choice but to purchase and install the font, or "steal" it from the contents folder of the application.  And that notion doesn't help Filemaker developers who have hundreds or even thousands of client users; it's not practical to advise that many folks that they'll now have to purchase and install Calibri when they move to a new computer.

 

Caliber is an attractive font that I've for some time used to decorate the reports in several of the solutions I've licensed to clients.  I'm now facing a scenario where I've got to return to them and modify their solutions.  The notion will at the very least subtract from their confidence in me... and justifiably so, I'm very ashamed to admit.

 

Assuming this is what happened, I don't know why Microsoft decided to do this.  It could be because they aren't the owners of the font and were forced to do it.  It could be because they wanted to purposefully derail the endeavors of folks who deign to use anything other than Microsoft products in their lives.  It could be because they had no idea of the potential impact on others.  But I'd think that to the extent this has happened and isn't easily resolved, it should seemingly be front page news among designers and developers of all kinds.  And I certainly wanted to notify the Filemaker community so that others won't fall to the same fate that I did with the implementation of Calibri, again assuming all of this is true.

 

Perhaps be a good idea for Filemaker to consider similarly embedding its own fonts (or licensed fonts) into the Filemaker application so as to offer to Filemaker developers an option to easily avoid issues such as this.  Among other things, this would reliably enable the design of more attractive Filemaker Go layouts, though this would potentially create an issue for folks who access Filemaker via a web browser where those embedded Filemaker fonts aren't installed on that user's computer.  This isn't to say that it's the responsibility of Filemaker to cover this issue, as developers and graphic designers worldwide should certainly undertake a reasonably thorough study of fonts and their history before embedding fonts into their software and designs.  But I'd certainly rest assured if I could select from a reliable menu of embedded Filemaker fonts.

 

Any confirmation or recommendations would be much appreciated...

 

-D

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