When I look at fonts with the Character Panel I do see previews, even when there is no type selected.
You can make these previews larger, or smaller, with Preferences/Type/Font Preview.
I do agree about being able to scroll through them at my own pace, but I can do that too with my center mouse wheel.
I'm on a Mac using CS5. Maybe these features are different for different platforms, releases?
All the other stuff you mention seems to be out of the range of what AI should be expected to do and more in the realm of font management.
Hi! Thanks for the reply, I looked into the preview differences between mac & pc, and the preview only shows in the mac palette, not the pc palette, unfortunately. My thought on the range of Illustrator is, if Adobe doesn't already have a software package that integrates font management into design, they should! I'm talking about an interface to assist front-end design. When you get thousands of fonts in your library, you start thinking it would be easier to just search for a font online every time. Although I could go and acquire a third party program to assist me with this - why not include it within the Illustrator package when it is an essential part of the design process. One of Illustrator's big selling points is efficiency for designers, and this is one way I see that can make my job noticeably more efficient.
Ouch, no preview on PC. That's definitely a feature request. I can't imagine not being able to preview the fonts.
And I think that would be Awesome if Adobe had a go at a font management app.
I too have thousands of fonts, most of them never get used because I don't take the extra effort to explore them more than I am.
Right now I just use Mac's built in FontBook which does a great job. It let's me place fonts into my own categories.
Now if Adobe had a go at this they stand a good chance of standardizing font management across both platforms.
And it could integrate with Illustrator, PS, AE, etc.
Imagine working in Illustrator: you need a font, you open the Character Panel and you have the option to limit the displayed fonts to only Serifs, Sans-serifs, or your own homemade categories like Retro, Sci-Fi, Modern, Gothic....
That would be sweet.