Clearing the font cache to fix an Outlook 2011 hanging problem
I had an issue today where Outlook 2011 was giving the spinning beachball right after opening. When I looked at the process list in Activity Monitor, I saw that the Microsoft Database Daemon process was using over 50% of CPU and sometimes going as high as 80% while the beachball was spinning. I also noticed that the fontd process was occasionally popping up to the top of the list of active processes, then going back to normal processor usage. After fifteen minutes, the spinning beachball went away and Outlook started behaving normally.
Since the fontd process had caught my attention, I decided to go with a sudden hunch and cleared the font cache system-wide. After that, I logged out of the user’s account and had them log back in. This time, Outlook opened right away. No beachball and no heavy Microsoft Database Daemon CPU usage. Based on that, Outlook was having some issues with something buried in the font cache and forcing a rebuild fixed the issue. In case someone else has a similar issue, here’s the commands I ran:
sudo atsutil databases -remove
(removes all user and system font caches)
sudo atsutil server -shutdown
(stops the Apple Type Services service that manages the font caches)
sudo atsutil server -ping
(restarts the Apple Type Services service)
I’ve also posted a script for automating the font clearing and ATS stop/restart on my GitHub repo. It’s available here.