How to Install Fonts on Mac

FontsNo question Macs come with an array of great fonts for almost any project, be it a presentation or a research paper. In fact according to Apple, Mac OS X “includes over $10,000 worth of high quality Roman, Japanese and Chinese fonts”. This is great, but with just a tiny bit of effort, hundreds of high quality free fonts can also be at your disposal.

In just a couple easy steps you’ll have all sorts of fun new fonts to play around with, and you’ll have no more excuses to use Comic Sans or Papyrus.

Step 1:
You first have to find the fonts online to download. Dafont and Fonts 500 are two great resources for free fonts. Almost all the fonts you’ll find are in the TrueType (TTF) format, which Apple created in the ’80s and is used widely on both Macs and PCs to this day.

Step 2:
It’s a good thing I’m not paid by the word, because Apple has made this far too easy. Double click on the .ttf file and Font Book will pop open and ask you to install it. One more click and you’re done! The font will now appear in the fonts window in every program you use. On a PC you would need to restart programs like Photoshop to see the new fonts, but not in OS X, they should be instantly available.

Font Book

Be Aware: Although these fonts are free to download and use for personal projects, the creators may have some restrictions on their commercial use. I put all the fonts I download a separate folder in Font Book so I’ll remember to check before I use in a way that is potentially against its terms of use.

I’ve spent a lot of time collecting fonts, and I’ve posted some of my favorites here, here, and here if you’re interested.


46 Responses to “How to Install Fonts on Mac”

  1. Jens Poder on February 21st, 2008 11:07 am

    Being a hopeless font hunter myself I would recommend proceeding with caution into the world of font collecting.

    If you’re tainted by this crawing, then you’d probably soon need this freeware program from Linotype.

    Linotype Font Explorer.

    It let’s you preview all your fonts in all kinds of sizes, with specific text you’re going to use it for.

    And best of all. 2000 active font will slow down your work proces. So Linotype Font Explorer lets you activate and deactivate fonts in your font library with the click of a mouse.

    This means you can have a huge font library (you’ll soon be there), but only have your everyday fonts activated. It’s really cool.

    You can download it here:

    Thank you for a great blog
    - Jens Poder

  2. Van Lam on February 21st, 2008 6:15 pm

    I appreciate the links to the free font sites, but… seriously? A tutorial for double clicking a file?

  3. Billy on February 23rd, 2008 8:57 pm

    Thanks. I know this may seem pedestrian for a lot of folks, but I definitely found it helpful.

  4. Paul Eccles on December 20th, 2008 11:30 am

    Have to agree with the poster above. Linotype Font Explorer is a brilliant, free program. It’s basically iTunes for fonts. If you like fonts & use a Mac, get this application!

  5. Rich on July 17th, 2009 7:36 am

    Thanks Will, simple clear advice.

  6. Mary on July 23rd, 2009 3:09 pm

    Yeah seems simple, but for someone like me who’s never installed a font before this was very helpful. Thanks for posting this.

  7. d on October 5th, 2009 1:52 pm

    compare the helpful info on this site with info Apple provides ( and what Windows users are told to do (, and I think Apple should pay Macapper for show how easy a Mac is. Maybe Apple’s slogan should be “OSX, it’s so easy, but it’s not obvious”

  8. Angela on March 10th, 2010 7:10 am

    Give Microsoft a break! They’re awesome and make great products.

  9. weeds season 4 on April 26th, 2010 10:23 pm

    Thanks for the nice guide I was just beginning to try and install some fonts

  10. Sherri on November 17th, 2010 12:46 pm

    I followed your directions, it installs, but does not show up on my fonts. What do I need to do differently?

  11. Linda on November 29th, 2010 5:28 pm

    How do you add fonts to Microsoft Word from a Mac?

  12. Linda on November 29th, 2010 5:29 pm

    How do you add fonts from Font Book to Microsoft Word on a MAC ?

  13. ads4miller on January 6th, 2011 7:44 pm

    I echo LInda’s November 29th inquiry. I would like to make some fonts that I use with other software layout programs in Word, but although they are installed on my Mac, Word won’t allow them.

  14. brighteyedster on February 3rd, 2011 4:47 pm

    Thanks for all the help – I’m a total luddite… but my issue is that my Font Book pop-up thing says my downloaded fonts are installed, but then they don’t show up in my drop-down menu in a Word document when I want to use them…? Did I miss a step?

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  16. spa06jc on March 8th, 2011 8:53 am

    I study Japanese and tried to get some new Japanese fonts, but when I follow the install as shown above, only the English language characters get installed. The example that comes up on the “install font” pop up only shows English characters, but I don’t know how to make it install the Japanese version. Can anyone help?

  17. lisa Schuster on July 14th, 2011 5:52 pm

    I’m having the same problem.  It was simple installing them into my mac but I can’t figure out how to get them to appear in the Word font drop down.  Any advice? Thanks!

  18. Max on September 15th, 2012 5:49 am

    I really appreciate the post. I didn’t know if I’d have to separately install fonts for each program, or if they could be installed in one location and be accessible to all programs so this was real helpful to me and saved me a lot of time.

  19. Marlon Allen on October 2nd, 2012 3:36 pm

    Hey for some reason I’m not get the font “stentiga regular” to show up in word. any suggestions.

  20. Marlon Allen on October 2nd, 2012 3:36 pm

    Hey for some reason I’m not get the font “stentiga regular” to show up in word. any suggestions.

  21. Joy on February 19th, 2013 9:30 pm

    I also have downloaded fonts no problem…but they don’t show up as available in my Microsoft word

  22. Joy on February 19th, 2013 9:35 pm

    Downloaded fonts no problem….. But don’t show up available in word….. Help

  23. Kyla Donkersgoed on March 2nd, 2013 11:32 pm

    Same problem, the tutorial is great but they don’t show up in word, which is the only progam I even use fonts in so what’s going on there?

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