How to Manually Install Fonts on Your Mac

New typefaces are just a click or two away

The web is full of free and low-cost fonts for your Mac. You can use them to supplement the preinstalled 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 for 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 TrueType (.ttf), TrueType Collection (.ttc), Variable TrueType (.ttf), OpenType (.otf), OpenType Collection (.ttc) and—beginning with Mojave—OpenType-SVG fonts.

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 can use the new font.

Your Mac has several places you can install fonts. The location you choose depends on whether 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, open a Finder window and drag them into your home Library folder at [yourusername] > Library > Fonts.

Home folder in Finder with Library and Fonts highlighted

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.

How to Install Fonts for All Accounts to Use

To make the typefaces you add available to anyone who uses your computer, drag them to the Fonts folder in the startup drive's Library. Double-click the startup drive icon on your desktop to access the Library folder or select the hard drive in the Locations section of Finder. Select the Library folder to open it and drag the files to the Fonts folder.

Path from startup drive to Library with Fonts highlighted

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

How to Install Fonts for All Network Users

To make newly installed fonts available to anyone on your network, your network administrator needs 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 fonts, including installing, uninstalling, viewing and organizing them. You can find it in your Applications folder

One advantage of using this program is that it can validate a file and let you know if it is damaged or conflicts with other typefaces you already installed.

To use Font Book:

  1. Download a new font from the internet.

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

  3. Open Font Book.

    Select File and choose Add Fonts in the drop-down menu.

    The Font Book File menu with Add Fonts highlighted
  4. Navigate to the font you downloaded and click it to add it to Font Book. Select the font in Font Book to see a preview.

    A font selected in Font Book displaying a preview
  5. Before you use the font, validate it to be sure it is safe to use. Select the font and choose Validate Font in the File menu to generate a Font Validation window.

    Font Book File menu with Validate Font selected
  6. If any problems come up in the Font Validation window, click the arrow next to the problem font for more information. Problems include incompatibility with features such as duplicate fonts. Tests that the file passes have a green check mark next to them, while failures have a yellow triangle with an exclamation point.

    Font Book Font Validation window showing a safe-to-use font

How to Enable and Disable Fonts in Font Book

When you install a font in Font Book, it is enabled automatically. However, you can enable and disable fonts at will, which is particularly helpful if you have an enormous font library and don't want to search through a lengthy list of fonts for just the one you need.

Select a font in Font Book. Choose Edit in the Font Book menu bar and select Disable "[Font name]" in the drop-down menu.

Font Book Edit menu with the Disable option highlighted

This deactivates the font, but it does not uninstall it or remove it from your computer. You can reactivate it at any time.

To activate a font, open Font Book and select All Fonts or another folder. Fonts that are not activated are grayed out in the list and have the word "Off" next to them.

Font Book list of fonts showing enabled and disabled fonts

Select one of the turned-off fonts and choose Edit in the Font Book menu bar and select Enable "[Font name]" in the drop-down menu.

Font Book Edit menu with Enable option highlighted

How to Uninstall Fonts

To uninstall fonts and remove them from the Mac, open Font Book and highlight the font you want to remove. You can also remove an entire font family or a whole collection of fonts.

From the File menu, select Remove "[name of font]" and confirm the deletion.

The Font Book File menu with the Remove option highlighted

The removed font is moved to the trash. Empty the trash and restart the Mac to avoid font conflicts.

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