Browse and install any of Google’s fonts, quickly. TypeCatcher is a free Linux app that lets you easily explore a large collect of open source fonts, then instantly install them.
Longtime users know how to get Mac and Windows fonts in Linux, but probably yearn for a high-quality collection of open source fonts to use in publishing projects. Happily, one of Google’s lesser-known services, Google Fonts, is arguably the best such collection on the web. Collected by Google to offer more fonts to web designers – who can, for example, use these fonts on any WordPress site – the project also happens to gather a number of great fonts in one place.
You can check these fonts out online, and even download them, at Google Fonts, but TypeCatcher offers one-click installation to all Linux users. Here’s how it works.
Launch TypeCatcher and you can start browsing fonts immediately. The left panel lists all fonts; the right shows you what they look like:
Click the Download icon to download and install the font, all in one go. This basically happens instantly – you’ll see a green tick when it’s done.
The green tick will stay there so long as the font is present on your computer. You can delete any font you’ve downloaded by clicking the Trash icon, or check out a given font online by clicking the light bulb.
Every font is shown off with a random quote. If you’d like to stop the switching, for the purposes of more direct comparisons, you can pick a particular quote in the right menu:
As you can tell, the tool is simple. Fonts may not show up in currently running programs immediately after installation, but restart them and the fonts should appear.
Where The Fonts End Up
Wondering where to find the fonts you’ve downloaded? Whether you’re just curious or want to use the fonts you’ve grabbed on another system, you need only head to the .fonts folder in your Home directory. There’s a typecatcher folder there that includes all of your downloads:
You can get there quickly in Nautilus by hitting Ctl+L, then pasting
~/.fonts/typecatcher/, then hitting enter.
Ubuntu users can add a PPA for quick installation. Here are the commands you’ll need for that:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:andrewsomething/typecatcher sudo apt-get update & sudo apt-get install typecatcher
The first line will add the Typecatcher PPA to your system; the second updates your sources list and then installs Typecatcher. This should work for Ubuntu 12.04 and newer.
Users of other distributions can download the TypeCatcher source code.
Download All Google Fonts With Mercurial
Want to grab all of these fonts in one move? TypeCatcher isn’t ideal, then – it’s made for browsing and downloading individual fonts. Don’t worry, though, because Google offers download instructions on Google Code.
To summarize: you need to install the “mercurial” packge on your Linux distro of choice. Then, use this command to download all fonts:
hg clone https://googlefontdirectory.googlecode.com/hg/googlefontdirectory
This might take a while – there are quite a few fonts here – but you’ll have a complete collection of Google’s fonts when it’s done. From there you can use a tool like Font Manager to install the fonts, or simply drag them to the .fonts directory in your home folder.
More Sources For Free Fonts
This isn’t the only place Linux users can find free fonts. You could check out these 5 online sources for fonts, for a start. Or, if you’re feeling creative, you could always make your handwriting into a font. Whatever works best for you.
What are your favorite Google fonts? And what tools do you use to grab them? Let’s compare fonts and talk typography in the comments below.
Image credit: Nick Sherman/flickr