Font issues in ChessBase and Fritz

6/15/2006 – In the new ChessBase Workshop column, our correspondent ventures into the wild world of fonts to describe how you can change your font displays in ChessBase and Fritz, as well as fix the occasional font-related problems which may arise. He also reveals a little-known technical secret about the use of fonts in our products. All is revealed in the latest ChessBase Workshop.

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This week's column will address a not uncommon question about the use of Fritz and ChessBase software: the use of fonts.

Special chess fonts are used for all sorts of purposes in our software: on-screen notation, chess pieces displayed on the on-screen board, and game/diagram printouts. While the programs do provide defaults, sometimes these get bollixed up, maybe through problems with .ini files or through user error. In this week's column we'll show you how to change your on-screen displays, which will also illustrate what you should do when things sometimes go wrong.

We'll start with the question that gets asked the most often: "My engine analysis pane is showing weird superscript symbols! What do they mean? How do I fix them?" etc. If I had a dollar for each time this one comes up, I'd be lying on a sandy beach tossing down frosty ones with a hot babe (who has a Southern accent) by my side.

It's an easy one to fix, but before we detail it let's talk about chess fonts. ChessBase and Fritz use TrueType fonts for on-screen displays and printing. They're used for notation and board displays on your screen and for notation and diagrams in printouts.

How can you distinguish these fonts from the other 2,486 fonts you probably have on your computer? Stick with me on this one because this'll be hard: notation fonts start with the word "Figurine" in the name of the font, while diagram fonts start with the word "Diagram" in the font name.

Dang, that was tough. I need a cold one already.

OK, you're right -- that's really pretty easy. I just wanted an excuse to visit the refrigerator.

So what are those superscript symbols? They're actually High ASCII characters, stuff that doesn't appear on your keyboard but which can be used by typing various ALT-number combinations. ChessBase products use these as a substitute for Informant symbols and piece figurines; to see the right characters on your screen, you need to apply the proper ChessBase font.

This is really simple to do. Right-click in an empty spot in your Notation pane and/or Engine Analysis pane. You'll get a popup menu from which you should select "Choose font". For these two panes you should always select a font that starts with the word "Figurine" even if you don't intend to display figurines on your screen. There's a reason for this: even if you're displaying the piece abbreviations as letters instead of little crowns and horsie heads, you'll still want your Informant-style evaluation symbols (like the "plus over equals" for "White is slightly ahead") to display properly, and that won't happen unless you use a figurine font. Fool around with the different font choices to find the one you like best.

If you want the fonts to display as figurines instead of letters, go to the Tools menu, select "Options", and click the "Notation" tab. Click the "Figurines" button, click "Apply", then "OK" and you're done. It might be a good idea to exit the program immediately, since the changes are written to the program's .ini (parameters) file when a normal exit is performed. If you crash your program or computer before you exit normally, the changes will be "forgotten" and you'll have to do it all again.

One down, two to go. Next we'll look at the pieces used in your on-screen chessboards. Right-click on the chessboard in ChessBase or Fritz to get a popup menu, then select "Board design". Click on the little "Down arrow" in the box to the right of "Pieces" to "pull down" the menu and see your choices:

You'll see a variety of choices here. Unless you're wanting to play "blindfold chess" against Fritz, do not select a piece style called "Blind"! If you do, pieces will disappear. Other than that, anything goes. I'm partial to "Oldstyle" because it looks like the diagrams in those cool Dover reprints of which I'm so fond. (And that answers another frequently-asked question: "How do you get those cool old-looking pieces you use in ChessBase Workshop diagrams?" There's your answer, friends).

That one's pretty easy, but what you probably didn't know is that the on-screen board displays use a TrueType font just the same as you'd use for printing. Our programmers are pretty smart cookies -- two birds, one stone.

Now we come to the last of our three related issues: printing. If you're printing games and diagrams directly from within ChessBase/Fritz and you're not getting proper fonts, you'll need to set (or reset) them within the ChessBase and Fritz programs. To get to the required dialogue, you'll need to open a game in ChessBase; in Fritz you can do it right from the main chessboard display. Go to the File menu, select the "Print" command, and then "Page setup" from the submenu. Click on the "Fonts" tab and you'll see the following dialogue:

Click the "Notation" button to get a scrolling display of all the fonts on your computer; select one that starts with the word "Figurine" (even if you're using letters to designate the pieces, for the same reason stated earlier). Click the "Diagram" button and select a font that starts with "Diagram" (but not one that contains the word "Blind", again for reasons previously given). And, finally, make sure the pulldown menu to the right of "Font type" is set to "ChessBase Standard". Click "OK" and you're done. Here again it's best to exit the program immediately to make sure the changes stick (and this too was explained earlier. Dang, I'm organized today, aren't I?)

In probably 99% of all cases (and that's a rough guess -- it's become a habit with mathematicians lately to write e-mails to me saying how stupid I am, so I'm just heading the hair-splitters off at the pass) this will take care of things. However, you might want to go back to File/Print/Page setup, click the "Diagram size" button and tweak around with different diagram sizes to get exactly what you want. That's not strictly a font-related issue but it comes up often enough to bear mentioning here.

You can also use ChessBase "Figurine" and "Diagram" fonts when exporting games as text to your word processor. That's fodder for a whole column unto itself (in fact, I've written about it previously) but, briefly, you just highlight a block of your gamescore and use your word processing program's "Font" command to apply a "Figurine" font to it. You do the same thing for the grid blocks of the diagrams in your raw text, but you apply a "Diagram" font to these instead.

There are other font uses in ChessBase and Fritz (game lists, keys, etc.) but these three are the main ones I'm asked about. Hopefully these instructions have not only fixed any problems but also helped you better understand the uses of TrueType fonts in ChessBase-produced programs.

Until next week, have fun!

You can e-mail me with your comments on ChessBase Workshop. All responses will be read, and sending an e-mail to this address grants us permission to use it in a future column. No tech support questions, please.

© 2006, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

Topics: f9
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Olin Olin 1/12/2015 06:54
When I use "copy game" in Fritz 14 and paste it into MSWord 2007, the text font is FigurineCB AriesSP.
How can I tell Fritz 14 to make the text font one of my choice?
The diagrams are in DiagramTTFritz, which is fine. However, I desire the text portion to be, say Trebuchet MS, for example. Yes I know I can select a font within Fritz 14, but I want it to export the font in Word what I want in my document.