Troubleshooting Installed Fonts That Won't Work

Try these tips to fix broken fonts

What to Know

  • Easiest fix: download and reinstall the correct version of the file. 
  • If that doesn't work, try using it in a different app to see if the font works at all.

This article explains how to troubleshoot fonts when they don't work as expected in a program such as Microsoft Word.

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Troubleshoot Font Installations

When you add a new font to your computer, follow all the steps to download the font, expand the font archive, and install it. When an application such as a word processor like Microsoft Word doesn't recognize the font, it might be broken. Some font problems can be fixed by deleting and reinstalling the font. If the font still doesn't display properly, follow these troubleshooting tips.

  1. Get a new download. When fonts are downloaded from the web, the files can get corrupted. Download the file again and reinstall it. If possible, download the font from a different source.

  2. Install the correct version. Choose the font package that corresponds to the operating system you're using. There's a difference between Mac and Windows fonts in most cases except for OpenType fonts.

  3. Download all the font files. PostScript Type 1 fonts have two files. Download both font files before you install the fonts.

  4. Make sure the app can use the font. Not all programs can use TrueType, OpenType, and PostScript Type 1 fonts, especially older or DOS-based programs. Some programs use proprietary font formats. Check the software documentation to be sure it supports the type of font you are trying to use.

  5. Use the font in a different app. If the font came from a reputable commercial source such as Adobe, Bitstream, or Monotype, the font is rarely the problem. However, some freeware and shareware fonts are of lower quality and can present problems with some software. Try them in a different program. If the font still gives you problems, you may have to abandon that font.

  6. Look for duplicate fonts. Some font problems arise when duplicate fonts are installed on a computer. Locate the font files on your system and remove any duplicates.

What Is an OpenType Font?

PostScript Type 1 is a font standard developed by Adobe that is usable by any computer system.

TrueType is a type of font developed in the 1980s between Apple and Microsoft that offers greater control over how fonts display. It became the most common format for fonts for a time.

OpenType is the successor to TrueType, developed by Adobe and Microsoft. It contains both PostScript and TrueType outlines, and it can be used on Mac and Windows operating systems without conversion. OpenType can include more font features and languages for a font.

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