How to Locate Mac or Windows Font Files

Use the extensions to identify the type of fonts you find

Digital font files appear in many places on a computer. Still, there are specific default folders for installed fonts on Windows and Macintosh computers. You'll find three types of fonts on Windows and Mac computers: TrueType, OpenType, and Postscript Type 1. Here's how to locate where these fonts are stored on your computer.

Postscript Type 1 fonts are rarely used nowadays. They were the standard for years until the introduction of TrueType and, later, OpenType fonts.

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Truetype and OpenType fonts consist of a single file each. Adobe Postscript Type 1 fonts require two files to work properly—a .pfm (Printer Font Metrics) screen font file and a .pfb (Printer Font Binary) printer font file.

Often filenames for fonts are cryptic at best. The extension is usually the best indicator of the type of font you have. For Type 1 fonts, the two files are often located in different folders.

Windows TrueType and OpenType Fonts

The default location for installed TrueType and OpenType fonts under Windows 95 and above is the Windows/Fonts folder, although the actual files may be anywhere.

All Windows TrueType fonts have an extension of .ttf or .ttc. OpenType fonts have an extension of .ttf or .otf.

In directories and folders other than the Windows Font folder, the Details View doesn't show the font name; it only shows the filename. However, if you double-click the filename, it displays the name of the font.

Windows Type 1 Fonts

The default location for Type 1 fonts is either the psfonts or the psfonts/pfm directory. As with TrueType fonts, the files may be located anywhere.

Use Adobe Type Manager (ATM) or other font-management software to locate both of the needed files for a Type 1 (PostScript) font. With ATM open, highlight a font name in the Fonts window then choose File > Properties. A pop-up window displays the complete path to two files.

Each Windows Type 1 font uses a .pfm and a .pfb file. The icon for both the .pfb and .pfm files is a dog-eared page with a lowercase script 'a' for Adobe.

Macintosh TrueType and OpenType Fonts

Locating fonts and files in a Mac is somewhat easier than in Windows. The default location for all System fonts in System 7.1 and later is the Fonts folder inside the System folder. Here's where these fonts are located.

There is only one file for each TrueType or OpenType font. The TrueType file extension is .ttf or .ttc. The OpenType file extension is .otf or ttf.

  1. Under the Go menu in macOS Finder, select Computer.

    Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut Shift+Command+C.

    Computer under the Go menu in macOS Finder
  2. Select Macintosh HD.

  3. Open the System folder.

  4. Select Library.

  5. The fonts are in the Fonts folder.

    The path to the Fonts file in macOS Finder

Macintosh Type 1 Fonts

You won't find many Postscript Type 1 fonts on a Mac. Look for these fonts in the user's Library > Fonts and in the computer's Library > Fonts. Here's where to find these fonts.

If you move a Type 1 font or send a font to someone, transmit both the bitmap (screen) suitcase and outline (printer) file for each Type 1 font.

  1. From the Finder menu on the desktop, click Go while holding down the Option key.

  2. Select Library.

    Library under the Go menu in macOS
  3. Open the Fonts folder.

    The Fonts folder in macOS Finder
  4. The font files are in that folder.

The bitmap font icon appears as a dog-eared page with the letter A. Each bitmap filename for Type 1 fonts includes the point size (Times 10, for example). Under System 7.1 or later, all the bitmap files for a font are in a suitcase in the Fonts folder.

The outline file icon appears as a letter A in front of horizontal lines. Most Type 1 outline files are named using the first five characters of the font name, followed by the first three characters of each style (HelveBol for Helvetica Bold and TimesBolIta for Times Bold Italic, for example). An outline filename does not include a point size.