How to Manually Install Fonts on Your Mac

New typefaces are just a click or two away

Tin-cast typography arranged

Simone Conti / EyeEm/Getty Images 

The web is full of free and low-cost fonts for your Mac. You can use them to supplement the pre-installed ones in Photoshop, Pages, and other apps in which you enter text.

You don't have to be a graphics pro to need or want a large collection of fonts. There are many beginner-friendly desktop publishing programs (or word processors with desktop publishing features), and the more typefaces and clip art you have to choose from, the more options you have creating greeting cards, family newsletters, or other projects.

Instructions in this article apply to Mac OS X Jaguar (10.2) and later.

Notes on Installing Fonts

Both OS X and macOS can use files in various formats, including Type 1 (PostScript), TrueType (.ttf), TrueType Collection (.ttc), OpenType (.otf), .dfont, and Multiple Master. You'll often see files described as Windows fonts, but if they have one of those file types, they should work just fine on your Mac.

Before you install anything, be sure to quit all open applications. Active apps won't be able to see new resources until you restart them. By closing everything, you're assured that anything you launch after installation will be able to use the new font.

Your Mac has several places you can install. The location you choose depends on whether or not you want other users of your computer (if any) or other individuals on your network (if applicable) to be able to use the new typefaces.

How to Install Fonts Only for Your Account

To install fonts so they're only available to you, drag them into your Library folder at [yourusername]/Library/Fonts.

You may notice that macOS and the older OS X operating systems hide your Library folder. Access it by holding Option while opening the Go menu at the top of the Finder and selecting it there. Once you make the Library folder visible, you can drag new fonts to it.

Fonts folder in Library

How to Install Fonts for All Accounts to Use

To make the types you add available to anyone who uses your computer, drag them to the Fonts folder in your startup drive's Library. Double-click the startup drive icon on your desktop to access the Library folder. Once inside the Library folder, drag the files to the folder.

You'll need to supply an administrator password in order to make changes to the Fonts folder.

Fonts folder on a startup drive

How to Install Fonts for All Network Users

To make newly installed fonts available to anyone on your network, your network administrator will need to copy them to the Network/Library/Fonts folder.

How to Install Fonts With Font Book

Font Book is an application that comes with the Mac and simplifies the process of managing types, including installing, uninstalling, viewing, and organizing them. You can find it in your Applications folder

One advantage of using this program is that it will validate a file before installing it. This extra step lets you know if there are any problems with the file or if it will conflict with other typefaces you've already installed.

To use Font Book:

  1. Download a new font on the internet.

  2. Find the file in your Downloads folder (or wherever you send items you download) and double-click it.

    If the item downloads as a zip file, double-click it to expand, and then double-click again to open it.

    File in Downloads folder
  3. Font Book will open automatically if the file is one it can read. Click Install Font.

    Install Font button
  4. The program will validate the file. If any problems come up, click the arrow to get more details.

    Problems include incompatibility with features like tables and duplicate fonts. Tests the file passes will have a green checkmark next to them, while failures will have a yellow triangle with an exclamation point.

    Errors in Font Book
  5. Review the issues Font Book has found. To install, first select it by clicking the checkbox next to the name of the type or the Select All Fonts option.

    Selected font in Font Book
  6. Click Install Checked.

  7. Authorize the change using your system password or Touch ID, and Font Book will install the new set.

How to Uninstall Fonts

To uninstall, open the folder that contains the font (use Spotlight Search to make it easier), and then click and drag the file to the Trash.

When you try to empty the Trash, you may get an error message that the file is busy or in use. After you restart your Mac, you'll be able to empty the Trash with no trouble.

You can also use Font Book to uninstall. Launch the program, and then click the target font to select it. From the File menu, select Remove "[name of font]" Family.

Remove a font