Manage & Compare Fonts Easily With Font Manager [Linux]

Justin Pot 13-08-2011

Browse and manage your Linux fonts using a simple GUI. Font Manager is a program that allows you to browse, compare, manage and even add fonts on your Linux system; a must-have tool for designers on any platform.


Windows users can manage fonts from the control panel; OS X users have the robust Font Book Manage Your Fonts With The Fonts Panel & Font Book [Mac] Read More . Many Linux distros, including Ubuntu, don’t come with a similar tool for the job.

Enter Font Manager. Available in the repositories of most Linux distros, Font Manager can give you a quick look at your installed fonts and allows you install new ones quickly.

Let’s take a look.

Browsing Your Fonts

Fire up Font Manager and you’ll soon see the main window. The list of fonts and the preview panel are self-explanatory:

manage linux fonts


This is a great way to review the fonts on your system. If you’re working on a project, you can use this tool to quickly find the ideal font for said project. You can even adjust the size of the preview panel, allowing you to see how well the font can scale.

Clicking the browse button changes things a bit:

linux fonts

The list of fonts are there, but now every font name is displayed in said font. You can even see all the versions of a particular font. Very nice.


You might, however, want to see how a certain combination of fonts looks next to each other. This can be done under “Compare”, and can be quite useful:

linux fonts

As you can tell, this tool is well thought out for designers on the hunt for the perfect font. This is handy for me when I’m designing covers for our MakeUseOf Guides.

Installing New Fonts In Linux

Want to install a new font? Sadly the button to do this isn’t as obvious as I’d like, but it does exist. Behold:


linux fonts

That’s right; click the gear to install fonts. This will bring up the standard file browser, which you can use to find multiple fonts for installation.

Alternatively, you can set Font Manager to scan particular directories at start-up:

manage linux fonts


Find this under the settings. Any fonts in the folders you add using this tool will automatically be installed to your system. I like this myself, but some people with font collections in the thousand may not like the surprise.

Adam Saveran had this to say in the Ubuntu Software Center comments:

“…when you add directories to [Font Manager] you’re actually installing all of the fonts in the chosen directory. Could cause serious, though temporary, problems with your system as hundreds or thousands of fonts attempt to load. (Happened to me.)”

Adam, as well as every other commenter, had nothing bad to say about the program (the words “excellent” and “should be installed by default” came up more than once), but this is something to be aware of.

Get Font Manager

Ready to install Font Manager? Depending on which version of Linux you’re using you should be able to find the program in your package manager, under the name “font-manager”. If not you can download the font manager source code here, if you’re an advanced user.

Ubuntu users can simply click here to install Font Manager using Software Center.


I’m happy to finally have found a decent font manager for my Linux computers. In many ways I actually prefer this program to Font Book on my Mac, which until now I thought was the best font manager out there.

Of course, I’m sure you readers can name some better software for me. List it in the comments below, along with some links to your favorite free fonts!

Related topics: Fonts, Ubuntu.

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  1. Angry Guy
    February 18, 2016 at 4:31 am

    I know this article is from 2011, and it is 2015 now. But I just started using Linux, and in trying Font Manager found this sad truth even years later where the person who makes Font manager has had plenty of time to improve it:

    Font-manager is completely worthless, why:

    First of all it starts with a "User" font category already full with all of the available system fonts, which is silly because they are already in the "All" fonts category. Strangely the "System category has no fonts in it at all!?!??

    The whole point of having collections is to add the ones you want, not having to remove over 1000 of the ones you don't, so I decided to remove the "User" category, and I found and clicked on the "remove collection" button, and got a warning that read like it was going to disable all of the fonts therefore hosing the whole OS, so I canceled. It did make me realize that a category is most likely the exact same thing as a collection.

    So I figure I will start by deleting the ugly fonts that come with my distro: Ubuntu, after which I would only have like 40 worth while fonts left of the 1230 fonts Ubuntu comes with, and then I will add some from my own collection of over 1000 fonts that I know I like. Well strike one: Absolutely no way of deleting fonts what so ever. Sure I can open a file manager with root privileges aside Font Manager, and for every font I want to delete, brows and search through the many folders it may be in until I finally find it, and then delete it. The name of the program is Font Manager, so doing all that sort of defeats the purpose.

    I proceeded to try and remove fonts from the User category/collection, but the "remove selected families from collection" button is grayed out, and even if I could use it: what if I only wanted to remove one or two fonts, and not the whole family?!?!?!?

    I was left with disabling fonts only, and disabled a few, but they stay in the list (line through) wasting space, with over 1000 fonts it will start getting messy. So I created a new collection hoping to add fonts from the system and some from my own collection of over 1000 fonts I have gathered over the years, in order to remove the worthless "User" collection eventually. Suddenly the buttons lit up in color instead of being gray (the New collection is empty).

    Now I want to add fonts to the new collection, but there is no "Add fonts" button and right clicking anywhere does nothing. So I click on the "all" collection and the first thing I see is that the fonts I disabled in the "User" collection are disabled in the "All" collection too!?!?!?!?

    With the "All" collection selected I scrolled through the fonts one at a time, so I could see the actual font in the sample window. As soon as I found one I liked, I dragged it over to my new collection and it added it; Yeaaaaaaaaaa! It also highlighted the new collection making me have to re-select the All collection. As soon as i did it was scrolled to the top instead of where I had left off. This means that every time I find and add a font I like, I will be back at the top of the list, and have to navigate down to where I was, if I can even keep track of where I was, and the closer to Z I get the longer it will take!

    I decide to find out where I can brows my own folder of 1000 fonts and add some, so I click on the "Brows Fonts" button, but it just gives me the different styles of the fonts in the collection, Italic, bold... and leaves me with a "Manage Fonts" button which is ironic because I have just spent two hole hours trying to do just that, with no results! After looking everywhere there is no way to brows fonts that are not installed in Font Manager, and the closest thing to it is "install fonts" which is a menu entry of the "Manage Fonts" button, which is stupid, because the whole application is about managing font's, and so far I have been unable to do just that!!!

    I do not want to install 1000 fonts, just to see them so I can add only around 200 to a collection, especially if I can not un-install the ones I don't need!!! I delve deeper into the "Install Fonts" option just to see: Aha! Another pit fall! It will not load a folders, and I have to select font files individually, but it does allow for multiple selection. I select a font, but there is no preview, so it is of no use! Again I look for another way to add fonts to my collection.

    I find the "Font Directories" tab in the preferences, and add the top level folder of my alphabetized fonts collection. It lists the directory, but nothing else happens. I guess I have to click on the "Autoscan for font directories" button, which is not really "Auto" if I have to click it, but I do and absolutely nothing happens!!! As soon as I close the preferences, the program informs me that it has to reload, so I give it the go ahead, and sure enough it takes much longer than it did before, so I can only assume that it is loading the font folder I just added, but as soon as the interface comes back on line, I see no changes what so ever.

    Once again I go on a search to see why I still can't see my fonts, because there is nothing different to point me in the right direction. Finally I find "Show fonts not present in user collections" buried in the preferences and unticked by default. I activate it and an "Orphans" entry appears under "categories" but strangely it does not have as many fonts in it as my collection I just added, as a matter of fact it has one less than the "All' and "User" categories which now have grown to over 2000 fonts each! I select it, and sure enough it is Identical to the others except for a single font, which I am not going to waste my time to investigate! What the flying F**K is the point of that!!! I finally think I can brows my own fonts and this worthless POS of a program mixes my fonts with the ones from the OS, so I can not tell them apart!!!

    After hours of F**King around with font Manager, I have found it not worth using. It is easier and faster for me to just open a few file manager windows with root privileges, and delete the ugly fonts from the system, and add the ones from my collection, reboot, and viola' they are there to be used by any and all programs.

    Whoever came up with Font Manager should be ashamed of themselves, because one can not manage anything with it besides managing to get very frustrated and angry!!!!

  2. DarkDuck
    August 16, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Agree with jahid65. KDE brings you so many useful tools. Love KDE.

    • jhpot
      August 16, 2011 at 1:16 pm

      I really should give KDE another try soon; it's been years.

  3. jahid65
    August 13, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    If you use Kubuntu or any KDE distro, you have font installer/manager by default. Search font in KDE menu & click font installer.