How To Install Fonts on Windows, Mac & Linux

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A pretty font can dramatically enhance a graphic design. And a unique font is a must, if text is involved in a logo design. Most brands create their own custom font to express the uniqueness of their product.

Few of us have the skills to create our own fonts. Fortunately, there are tons of free text fonts available on sites like DaFont, FFonts, 1001 Free Fonts or Fontex. Once you have downloaded your favorites, you’ll need to figure out how to install those fonts. Here’s a basic guide on how to install fonts on Windows, Linux and Mac.

Please uncompress / unzip all fonts before trying to install them, preferably into a separate folder. If you select a manual installation process, you can unzip files right into the respective font folder. Make sure you delete eventually included text files, which don’t belong into this folder.

Windows

Supported fonts:

  • TrueType
  • OpenType
  • PostScript type 1 (requires Adobe Type Manager (ATM) or ATM Deluxe; comes with Windows XP and up)
  • Windows bit mapped FON

Installation process under XP:

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how to install fonts

  • Close all applications.
  • Select font files and copy them into C:\Windows\Fonts folder.

Alternative installation process under XP:

  • Close all applications.
  • Go to > Start Menu > Control Panel (> Appearance and Themes) > Fonts.
  • From the > Fonts folder menu open > File > Install a new font…
  • Browse for your fonts and click > OK to install.

Installation process under Vista and 7:

  • Close all applications.
  • Right-click font files to be installed.
  • A menu will pop up, select > Install.

Alternative installation process under Vista and 7:

  • Close all applications.
  • Go to > Start Menu > Control Panel (> Appearance and Personalization) > Fonts.
  • Right-click into the list of fonts and select > Install a new font… from the menu.
  • Browse for your fonts and click > OK to install.

Ubuntu Linux

Supported fonts:

  • TrueType
  • OpenType

Installation process to install for single user:

how to install fonts

  • Close all applications.
  • Open > /home folder.
  • In the menu open > View and > Show Hidden Files.
  • You will now see the > .fonts folder. If not, create that folder.
  • Copy font files into the > .fonts folder.

Installation process to install for all users:

  • Close all applications.
  • Save fonts in a separate folder on > Desktop, e.g. > newfonts.
  • Open > terminal and start command > sudo cp -R ~/Desktop/newfonts /usr/share/fonts
  • Optional: rebuild font cache with command > sudo fc-cache -f -v

Damian has written a thorough post on How To Install Microsoft Text Fonts in Ubuntu Linux.

Mac OS X

Supported fonts:

  • Multiple Master (OS 10.2+)
  • TrueType
  • data fork TrueType (DFont; OS X+)
  • OpenType
  • PostScript type 1 (requires ATM or ATM Deluxe; comes with OS X)

Installation process under Mac OS X:

  • Close all applications.
  • Open folder that contains fonts to install.
  • Select fonts to be installed.
  • Drag and drop the selected font files into the > Library’s Font folder.

Installation process under Mac OS 10.3+ using FontBook:

  • Close all applications.
  • Open folder that contains fonts to install.
  • Double-click icon of font to be installed.
  • FontBook opens and you can preview the font.
  • To install only for you, click > Install Font button.
  • To install for all users, select > Preferences and change > Default Install Location from > User to > Computer, then click > Install Font button.

install a font

Troubleshooting

I hope the above guide was thorough enough, but you may still run into problems. Just in case, here are possible solutions to some of the most common issues.

Fonts don’t show in program.

  • Make sure you installed a supported font format.
  • Exit all programs before installing new fonts.
  • Restart programs after installing new fonts.
  • If restarting the program fails, reboot operating system.
  • Were the fonts installed into the correct folders?

Issues with displaying or printing text.

  • Mac: To properly view and print PostScritp type 1 fonts, ATM is required.
  • PostScript type 1 fonts consist of two files: PFB (printer font binary) and PFM (printer font metrics). Both need to be installed in order for these fonts to display correctly both on screen and in print.

Fonts not available to applications running in Classic mode (Mac).

  • Install fonts in Macintosh TrueType or Macintosh PostScript into the fonts folder inside classic system folder.

Font only available to user who installed it (Mac, Linux).

  • Mac: Make sure fonts were installed into the system library font folder, instead of /Users/username/Library/Fonts.
  • Linux: Make sure fonts were installed into system folder. See instructions for details, eventually repeat the process.

Now that you know how to install new fonts, are you asking yourself where to find them? Mark has written a post about 5 Excellent Sources To Download Free Text Fonts. If you’re creative you can even create your own fonts. Saikat has a post about How To Create Your Own Fonts & Characters on Windows and Kabir wrote about 2 Free Tools To Make Your Own Text Fonts, which will also work for Linux and Mac.

What’s your favorite font or typeface?

Image credits: nookiez

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