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I ran into the same issue yesterday. An old logo we built and the fonts were saved as outlines. No one wrote the font down on the workorder. At other times the font is still part of the file but for some reason went away with the old Mac and wasn't transfered.
A little light went off. We working In Illustrator, why not just make a layer with the font and another with the outline? Could be a simple lifesaver.
There needs to be a hard and fast methodology to how these files are created and saved. I read on here one time that somebody alway uses the pre-cursor, "CUTFILE_filenameblahblah.ai" to distinguish it from the others. I've since used that and it does save time.
There's those few things that need to be remembered at the end, depending on what you're going to do with the file. In Illy, when using the pathfinder tools, I've noticed duplicated paths that have no fill or stroke, so the last thing I do before I cut is draw a line that has no fill or stroke, then "Select>Same>Fill&Stroke" to get rid of them.
Maybe this thread will generate some input as to how others approach this. I've done the multiple layer thing and it's a great idea, it's just remembering to do it, especially when the purpose of the file is to be cut.
We have mostly sign making programs. When you create in there everything stays as is. Whatever outlines, shadows, colors, blends, etc… it all holds its own information. When you come back to a job from eight years ago, everything as far as information is still totally available to you.
When we got into Illustrator, Corel, Freehand and the others, even though they’re vector formats, we had to get into the habit of writing certain pieces of information in an area designated for our use only. Usually, what I do is to just keep the original layout and paste a copy [of the entire job] along with the information, in case something is left out. It’s not flawless, but it helps.
On the Mac you can do a command-I (info) on files and in the Spotlight info box of OSX Tiger - you can type in info here, like a font used. Works great when you want to say look up every time you used a particular font - or as mentioned when the font gets converted to outlines - a reminder.
Older versions of OSX have a similar comments box, but I'm not sure if it is searchable.