How to Download Fonts From the Web

Check out the best websites for free downloadable fonts

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Computers come with a useful selection of fonts, but if you're tired of using the same fonts for everything or need a novelty font for a special project, you won't have to look far. Free font downloads are available in plenty of places on the web. If you've never downloaded a font file from the web before, here are the basics.

Visit Font Sites

Visit reputable font sites and look at the fonts that are available. Most sites have fonts that are for sale or request a shareware fee, but many of them also offer a selection of free fonts. The free fonts may be in a separate tab from other fonts or they may be mixed in and marked "Free," "Public Domain," or "Free for Personal Use." Sites that often have high-quality free fonts for download include:

  • 1001FreeFonts.com
  • DaFont.com
  • UrbanFonts.com
  • Free-Fonts-Download.com
  • FontSpace.com

Most font websites have a search field you can use if you already know the name of the font you want, but most also offer categories of fonts to help you look for just the right script you had in mind, holiday-themed fonts, dingbats, foreign, gothic, techno, and other categories. Most sites have thousands of fonts. If you are window-shopping, check out the fonts on the opening page; they are the newest and most popular of all.

Formats

Macs recognize TrueType and OpenType (.ttf and .otf) fonts but not the PC bitmap fonts (.fon).

Windows PCs recognize TrueType, OpenType and PC bitmap fonts.

Downloading the Font File

When you find a font you want to download and see that it is designated as free, click the Download button. If there isn't a button, click on the font. The file may download automatically, or you may need to "Save file as...." The file downloads to your Fonts folder or another designated downloads folder. If the file doesn't download automatically, change directories or folders using the navigation buttons or use the default directory that is showing. Click OK to begin the download. If asked, use the default file name.

Expand the File

If the downloaded file is in a compressed archive file (.zip, .bin, .hqx, .sit), you need to expand the file to use it. On a Mac, double-click the downloaded file in your downloads folder to expand it. In Windows 10, 8, and 7 go to the place where it is saved, double-click on the zipped file to open it, either click on Extract all files or drag and drop the files elsewhere from the zip window.

Install the File

On a Mac, double-click on the expanded folder to open it. Look for the font name with a compatible extension (either .ttf or .otf). Double-click the font name to open a screen that shows a preview of the font. Click Install Font to complete the installation.

To install fonts on a Windows PC (Windows 10, 8, 7, or Vista), locate the expanded font file (.ttf, .otf, or .fon) and then right-click it and select Install to complete the installation.