AdobeFnt.db and FntNames.db files – don’t delete them!

People may suggest you delete the Adobe font cache files to attempt to fix certain problems – and indeed, under some uncommon circumstances, an Adobe font cache file may get messed up. These font cache files are AdobeFnt*.lst files (where “*” may be nothing, or may be a two-digit number).

However, there are two files with simjilar names, but ending in “.db”, which are not caches, are not subject to any kind of corruption that we know of, and should not be deleted. AdobeFnt.db and and FntNames.db are both static database files used by InDesign. Deleting them, especially FntNames.db, can cause serious problems.

So what are these database files?

“FntNames.db” is a database of menu name information used to give nice, long, friendly and typographically accurate menu names for old Adobe Type 1 (“PostScript”) fonts when displayed in modern Adobe applications. It looks up the font by the PostScript FontName.It is a plain text file, so it’s possible for users to edit it – though this is not recommended.

Assuming that deleting it doesn’t cause any problems launching InDesign, it would certainly cause a change in menu name handling, resulting in the font references in future documents (for Adobe’s Type 1 fonts) being inconsistent with everybody else, and even with your own past documents.

“AdobeFnt.db” is another static database file, this one for font and glyph metrics for font substitution of some common old Type 1 fonts when using Adobe Sans and Adobe Serif. I think it’s used by Acrobat and Reader. Although it could have been be used by Adobe creative applications in the past, I’ve been told it isn’t currently.

Although “AdobeFnt.db” is less critical than “FntNames.db”, deleting it certainly won’t help with the kinds of problems you’d be deleting the cache files to fix.

4 Responses

  1. I am one of those who like to clean up AdobeFnt files every now and then. I keep a SmartFolder (mac) on my desktop using:Name begins with: AdobeFntName ends with: .lstI find this very handy and it prevents me from selecting files that end with .db

  2. vinceconnare says:

    any chance of adding a ‘clear font cache’ to the preferences of Adobe apps like Indesign (kind of like a web browser).I know this is an expert thing but some of our customers run into problems when they have older versions of fonts installed and they need to update them.

  3. James Lloyd says:

    This is somehting I have a few times in the past, but in the past couple of months the need for me to purge adobefnt files has become regular (every day or two). I also find that I need to use something like tigercachecleaner too in order to fix my (Open Type) font glitches.Is there any reason why these ‘uncommon cicirmstances’ have might becomes more common for me? I know that the glitch (where are glyphs display as small caps) occurs most often after an InDesign crash. Contstant restart rigmarole is eating into my days. any ideas?Thanks[If you’re swapping versions of your font(s) without uninstalling them first, that could do it. From your email address, I’m guessing that you’re one of the aspiring typeface designers studying at Reading who I met last fall, and that this is the most likely cause of your problem . Anyway, the “right” way to do this is to uninstall or deactivate the old fonts, then install/activate the new ones. As long as you do this correctly, you’re very unlikely to get font cache problems. – TP]

  4. Perry Faciana says:

    Is this still an active blog? I am having issues with the combination of cs3 products and fonts activated in Font Agent Pro. Any suggestions on where to look for solutions?[Given that our CS3 products are two release cycles ago, I’d be interested in the extent to which Font Agent Pro interacts with our CS4 and CS5 products. In terms of where to start looking for solutions, Insider Software’s website would be a good start. See: yes, this is still very much an active blog. We even monitor it during shutdowns and while on vacation. — KL]

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Thomas Phinney

Adobe type alumnus (1997–2008), now VP at FontLab, also helped create WebINK at Extensis. Lives in Portland (OR), enjoys board games, movies, and loves spicy food.

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