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How to install fonts

Page history last edited by John Jordan 10 years, 6 months ago

How to install fonts on your computer


Some people just want to get the job done and don't care about how it works. If so, just click on the icon for your operating system and skip the Background information. It's fascinating to us geeks and we'll be devastated if you don't care about it though. But if you want to understand what is going on with fonts, go to our Font Primer page.


   To install on Windows

For Windows 2000 go to Start > Settings > Control Panel > Fonts, which will display the font folder. For Windows XP go to Start > Settings, Control Panel, then click on the Folders button on the top, and then on Fonts in the list of folders along the left side.

When you have the font folder displayed drag the font files into the folder, and you're done! Remember, you can do this with all three kinds of fonts - TrueType, OpenType and Type 1. Some older applications may need to be restarted before the fonts will appear in the application's font dropdown list.


    To install on MacOS

For MacOS 10.3 and later:

Double-click the icon for the font. The Font Book will open and display the font so you can see what it looks like. Click Install Font. By default, the application installs the font in the Library folder of your home directory, making it available only to you. To make it available to all users on the computer, in the Font Book application, drag the font to the Computer folder in the "Collection" column. If you do not see the Computer folder, click on the triangle next to All Fonts in the "Collection" column.

For MacOS 10.2 and earlier:

From the Go menu in the Finder, select Home. Double-click the Library folder. Drag the font or fonts you want to install into the Fonts folder. If you would like to make the font or fonts available to all users on the computer, log into an administrator account, then in the Finder, from the Go menu, select Go to Folder, in the "Go to the Folder:" field, type: /Library/ . Then click the Go button. Drag the font or fonts you want to install into the Fonts folder.

Older applications may need to be restarted before the fonts will appear in the applications font drop-down list.

Note that all versions of MacOS 10.0 and later can use the Windows versions of TrueType and Type 1 fonts. It is no longer necessary to get a Mac version.


    To install on Linux

If you've been using Linux for more than a few minutes you know that its design assumes there will be more than one user of the computer and that users should not be able to mess with each other's files and settings. Therefore, fonts can be installed globally so they will be available for all users, or they can be installed for each user individually. To install globally requires root access and but users can install for themselves only as long as they are logged in.


To install globally copy the fonts as root to /usr/share/fonts, and then to the appropriate folder therein (typically either the TrueType, OpenType or Type1 folder). Actually the font can be anywhere in there - the different folders are just for organizational purposes. But if you have a folder in there called X11 just disregard it. The X11 folder is for fonts (largely bitmap fonts) used to display the desktop.


Fonts you install in /usr/share/fonts may not be available for older applications until you restart X or enter the command "sudo fc-cache -fv" (or run as root without the "sudo").


To install for a single user, just drag the fonts to /home/<username>/.fonts. Note the period in front of the folder name. Files and folders with a period in front are normally invisible. If you don't see a /.fonts folder in the user's home directory, turn on "show invisible files and folders" in your file browser (i.e., Nautilus or Konqueror). Once you place the fonts in the user's /.fonts folder the fonts will immediately be available to all applications. A few older applications need to be restarted before the fonts will appear. And you may need to run "sudo fc-cache -fv" before the fonts show  up in applications.

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