How many fonts do I need installed on my computer?

Ron December 18, 2010
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I checked my fonts yesterday and found I had 1,133 of them in the font file! I used Font Frenzy some months ago, but it only reduced them to 950. I went through the fonts yesterday and deleted over 100 that I don’t know where they came from.

What is an optimum number of fonts to have on hand?

Can I just keep only the “Normal” fonts? An example I have 19 ANNUAL fonts; if I only keep the normal fonts it reduces the number to 5!

Perhaps I should delete all reasonably similar fonts.

My first computer only had 6 fonts in it! I get MakeUseOf each day. An answer there would be quite sufficient and may help others too.

By the way – I was born too late (1932) to get in on the computer age. I did all my calculations as an engineer with a slide rule!

  1. M.S. Smith
    December 21, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    There is no optimum number of fonts. The number of fonts you have installed on your computer has no impact on its performance, nor its storage capacity.

    So I suppose the optimal number of fonts is near infinite.

    • Camilo
      January 20, 2012 at 12:23 am

      Yes, it has impact on performance (especially boot time) and of course storage capacity (after all they're on the disk), even if the only important thing here is boot-time, as storage is really cheap.

      You probably have a good computer and don't know about those small details that do make a difference under 1GB RAM. I had XP running in 192MB RAM, number of installed fonts DO make a difference.

  2. Anonymous
    December 19, 2010 at 9:41 am

    There are certain fonts that are definitely required by Windows, so be careful in removing any fonts from your computer unless you know they are not needed. Fonts such as Verdana,Arial,Trebuchet, Tahoma, Tahoma, Times New Roman, MS Sans Serif, and Courier New should be left on your system.

    you can reset the fonts on your computer to only the ones that shipped with Windows 7.

    To delete fonts
    1) Open My Computer
    2) Double-click on Drive C
    3) Click on File, New Folder and title it Fonts Backup
    4) Double-click on the Windows folder to open it
    5) Double-click on the Fonts folder
    6) Highlight the fonts you wish to remove, click on Edit and choose COPY
    7) Navigate back to the C:Fonts Backup folder and PASTE these fonts into your backup folder
    8) Return to the Fonts Folder and right-click on any fonts you previously copied to the backup folder, then choose Delete.

    If you accidentally removed a font, simply reverse the procedure by copying and pasting the font back into the WindowsFonts folder.

    Delete from Registry
    1)In regedit, navigate to the location below
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionFonts

    2)In the right pane of Fonts, right click on the font name that you want to delete and click on Delete.

    3)Click on Yes to approve the deletion.

    fonts that should not be deleted

    Reduce the number of active fonts (Windows 7 and Windows Vista)

    Reduce the number of active fonts (Windows XP)

    The standard Windows installations have around 100-200 fonts (the exact number depending on your setup). The following fonts are included with Windows and are installed on every computer

    Courier New (TrueType, including Bold, Italic, and Bold Italic variations)
    Arial (TrueType, including Bold, Italic, and Bold Italic variations)
    Times New Roman (TrueType, including Bold, Italic, and Bold Italic variations)
    Symbol (TrueType)
    Wingdings (TrueType)
    MS Serif
    MS Sans Serif
    In addition, Windows has several hidden system font files (for example, Dosapp.fon, Vgafix.fon) that don't show in the Fonts folder or in Control Panel. These fonts may be shown, however, in some font management utilities. Windows requires these hidden font files for various system interfaces. There are also standard fonts intended mostly for use in displaying Web pages or in applications like PowerPoint (the Garamond, Georgia, Tahoma, Trebuchet, and Verdana families, for example). Some fonts are for foreign languages (WST_czec.fon, WST-ger.fon, for example). As well as the fonts intended for screen display, there may be additional fonts just for printers.

    With Windows XP, ClearType delivers improved font display quality over traditional forms of font smoothing or anti-aliasing. ClearType improves readability on color LCD displays with a digital interface, such as those in laptops and high-quality flat panel displays. Readability on CRT screens can also be somewhat improved.

    Windows 7 users should use the built-in ClearType tuner found in the Windows Control Panel under Appearance and Personalization to adjust their ClearType settings. Windows Vista users should use the online tuner found on this page to turn on and tune their ClearType settings from Internet Explorer. The tuner should be used with Internet Explorer because it depends on an ActiveX control. Alternatively, users can download the Windows PowerToy version of the tuner.