How to Hide Noto Fonts in Your Font Menus

Here’s a quick trick to declutter your font menus in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign by hiding Noto fonts.

The intention behind Noto fonts is a noble one, to provide a global writing system comprised of high-quality fonts for every written language. They are also free to use anywhere, available under the Open Font License.

Sounds good, right? But the problem is that Apple thinks these fonts are so Superb and so essential, that they are now installed in macOS and cannot be uninstalled. At least not without a serious (and for most mortals, very perilous) systemic brain operation via Terminal. These fonts also cannot be deactivated with font management software. This means that if you’re using a Mac, you now have over 100 Noto fonts clogging your programs’ font menus that you can’t turn off, even if you never need or want them.

Thus, you may need to set aside part of your day to go from NewsGothic to NuevaStd. I exaggerate, but only a little.

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If you’re the type of person who likes to browse through your fonts to choose one, it gets tiresome very quickly. It’s like every time you go to your local grocery store you have to park half a mile from the door because the nearest 100 parking spaces are reserved for people from every other country in the world. Because hey, you never know when someone from three continents might come for a liter of milk.

Fortunately, all is not lost. There is a workaround. A couple, in fact. One is very quick and easy, but it will hide other non-Noto fonts. The other is tedious and time-consuming but it will allow you to eliminate Noto fonts with surgical precision.

First, the easiest way. Just use the font menu commands to filter by class. So if you know you want a serif font, click that filter button. You will only see serif fonts in the menu. Ditto for scripts, handwritten fonts, etc.

Clicking on any class filter will hide Noto fonts. In a weird but welcome twist, you can even filter out sans serif fonts and Noto fonts (which are almost all called “sans”) will be hidden.

You just have to remember not to filter the next time you want a different font class.

The second method is to use the Favorites feature. Simply click on the little star next to each font you do want to see in the menu. It’s on the far left in Photoshop’s font menu, and on the far right in InDesign and Illustrator.

The ugly part is (as far as I can tell) there is no way to select multiple fonts at once to mark them as favorites. You cannot click and drag on a pile. You have to click on them one by one, which is incredibly tedious if you have a ton of active fonts. You will only have to decide if the unique torture is worth never crossing the Noto Desert again. And by “never” I mean at least not until the next upgrade. Some users report losing their favorite fonts list even though they have explicitly chosen to keep settings and preferences in the Creative Cloud app. Sigh.

But damn it, it’s probably worth a lunch break, right? It’s a pretty insane activity, so you can just put on some music or a good podcast and walk away. As a side benefit, you can also rediscover interesting fonts that you forgot about.

And I wouldn’t totally rule out the idea that there’s a faster way to create favorite fonts in bulk. Apps need to keep track of your bookmarks somewhere, so there is definitely a preferences file that contains this information. But where it is and how to hack it, I have no idea.

At least you now know a few ways to “just say no” to Noto.

About Nell Love

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