No text, but small boxed question marks where characters should be

Using Drafts app for Mac OS (also use the iOS and iPadOS versions of Drafts) and opened existing drafts from iCloud folder and get gibberish on all saved drafts…

Screen shot attached, below. Text appears not as ASCII characters but as small boxes with question marks. What’s this all about, and how do I correct it. The text appears in the snippets of the draft shown in the sidebar listing, and in the “Print” dialog window, it appears the text will print correctly.

Am using Monterey 12.0.1 on an Apple M1 Macbook Air.

Most like a corrupt or incomplete font is selected for display. If you change your font selection in Editor Preferences (Drafts > Editor Preferences in main menu, or Aa button below editor), does it return to normal?

I can assure you, the font, which I’ve reloaded, is neither corrupt nor incomplete. Your editor seems to have a problem with letterspacing/kerning of “non-standard” fonts. I am using a Monotype font, Bembo MT Pro, which has been standardized across all my devices, and works perfectly well with other editors and note-taking software I use (pre-eminently NVUltra (beta)) and with other Markdown and Multi-Markdown editors specific to the task of editing Markdown and Multimarkdown text files.

I’ve never seen an app have so much trouble with this kind of problem. For what it’s worth, using any of the “default” fonts which are accessible when Drafts is booted, without alteration to the preferences, does clear up the problem.

I use the properly installed font files for the Bembo MT Pro fonts I have (in 8 weights) using a font manager called FontAgent Pro v.9.6.3, which is optimized for use with Monterey.

Please advise. I’d rather not use Drafts if it can’t handle my usual desktop configuration that is uniform in use across iOS, iPadOS and Mac OS (especially the latter). And this is an indication it can’t.

Thanks for your help and responsiveness thus far.


Have you tried clearing your font caches? These types of problems are rarely related to the app - Drafts uses standard Apple text rendering controls - but by issues with the fonts themselves, third party managers, or corrupt caches (lots of related issues if you search Google).

FontAgent has a support article on clearing caches. Might help resolve. I would also test with FontAgent disabled and the font installed directly in the system.

Wow. Well that did it. But I’m baffled. Font Agent automatically clears font caches when it’s quitted, or you restart or cold boot the device, but perhaps something was stuck in the settings for that function. I changed the FontAgent settings to clear for ALL users (instead of just me) and restarted the device. This also, as FontAgent advises, clears all the system font caches as well.

In any event that did it. Never encountered that before. Thanks.

I was having no problems with Drafts, especially across OS platforms, and it was one reason I love using it. Then this, and I thought, uh-oh. But no harm, no blame.


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Glad it’s sorted! Computers are fun sometimes.