Mac Tutorials

How to Install Fonts on a Mac: A Simple Guide



Fortunately for all Mac users, adding fonts to Apple computers is relatively easy. No need to be a tech guru—some simple guidelines will help you download, install, and enable the fonts you want on a Mac.


Before we start


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Below is your instruction on how to install fonts on a Mac and manage them effectively:

  1. Install fonts on a Mac using Font Book
  2. Install fonts manually
  3. Preview all your installed fonts
  4. Disable and remove fonts from a Mac
  5. Find and download new cool fonts
  6. Install fonts in Word for a Mac
  7. Find your new fonts that won’t show up

How to install fonts on a Mac using Font Book

If you wonder how to add fonts to your Mac, we recommend that you start with Font Book. It’s the easiest way to achieve that goal.


Font Book is a free font management app that is already pre-installed on all Macs. This app allows you to install fonts either for your account only, for all accounts on your Mac, or the entire network.   


Depending on what you need, the process will be slightly different, and in this section, we will go through each one of them.

1. Install fonts for your Mac account only

1. If you need to install new fonts solely for your Mac account, follow these steps:

2. Open Finder and locate the folder in which your new Mac font is downloaded

3. In this folder, find a file ending with ".ttf" or ".ttc" or ".otf" and double-click on it

.ttf font file in the downloads folder in finder

4. This will automatically open Font Book for you

fontbook.png”alt=”font book main page

5. In the pop-up window, click Install Font

install font in font library

Voila! That is all it takes to install a new font for your Mac account. 

2. Install fonts for all accounts on a Mac

In case there is not only one account on your Macintosh, and you wish to apply downloaded fonts on all these accounts, but you’ll also need to take a few extra steps.  


Here's how to install fonts on your Mac system-wide:

1. Open Finder or Spotlight

2. Search for Font Book and launch it

search for font book in spotlight

3. At the top corner, click on the app menu bar and choose Font BookPreferences

open font book preferences in the top menu

4. Use the drop-down to change the default location from User to Computer

change install location from user to computer for font book

5. Find and open the folder that has the new font you want to add

6. In this folder, double-click on a file ending with ".ttf" or ".ttc" or ".otf."

7. On the Font Book pop-up window, click the Install Font button


Great! You’ve just added the new font to the Mac Fonts folder. In other words, you’ll be able to use it from any account on your Mac.

3. Install fonts for all network users

To install fonts for everyone on your network, you must either be a network administrator yourself or ask this person to do it for you.


As a network admin, you’ll have to follow these steps:

1. Copy the desired font files you want to install for all network users

2. Open Finder and click on the Go section in the upper menu

3. Choose Go to Folder in the drop-down menu and click on it

go to folder in go settings in finder

4. Type Network/Library/Fonts in the pop-up window and press Go

go to fonts folder in network settings in finder

5. Paste the font files in this folder


That’s it! The fonts are now installed for all your network users.

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How to install fonts on a Mac manually

You don't necessarily have to use Font Book to install Mac fonts. You can easily do this manually by copying font files to Library/Fonts.


Unfortunately, starting from OS X 10.7 Lion, the Library folder and its subfolders have been hidden from users’ sight. Therefore, you'll need some extra effort to locate it:

  1. Open Finder and click on the Go section in the upper menu
  2. Select Go to Folder in the drop-down menu and click on it
  3. Type ~/Library/Fonts in the pop-up window and click Go
  4. The Fonts folder will show up
  5. Copy and paste (you can also drag and drop) all the unzipped font files to the Fonts folder
fonts folder in the library in finder

Installing fonts manually for the first time? Watch our YouTube tutorial to simplify this task!


Note: if something doesn’t work out with locating a Library folder, check out this guide on finding hidden Mac files.

How to preview fonts on a Mac

With an endless number of Mac fonts available, it is hard to choose the right one for your work or school project. That's when font preview comes in handy.


The best way to see installed fonts on a Mac is to use the Font Book app:

1. Go to Finder Applications Font Book or use Spotlight to find and run Font Book

find font book in applications folder in finder

2. Click on the font you want to preview (fonts are listed in the center column of the window)

3. Preview will show up in the right part of the window

4. To switch between different preview modes, click on lines, grid, or letter-like buttons at the top left-corner of the window

change font preview mode in font book

How to disable and remove fonts on a Mac

Having a good set of fonts for Mac offers a comprehensive list of stylistic options. However, it gets harder and more time-consuming to choose the right one with too many of them. Plus, it clutters your computer.


That's why knowing how to effectively manage fonts on a Mac is just as important as knowing how to install them. In order to avoid system clutter, we suggest you disable or completely remove the fonts you don't use.


It’s important to mention that you can’t delete or disable system fonts. You can delete those fonts you have added yourself.As for the fonts you’ve installed, you have two options: disable and delete.


Deleting fonts from a Mac means removing them from your system. If you need a removed one later, you'll have to reinstall it.  


To remove fonts on a Mac, do this:

  1. Launch Font Book
  2. Pick the font/fonts you want to remove
  3. Press the Delete key
  4. Click Remove in the pop-up window
remove a user font from font book

On the other hand, disabling fonts on a Mac means that they'll remain in your system but they will no longer be listed in apps or the Fonts windows.  


To disable fonts on Mac, do this:

  1. Launch Font Book
  2. Pick the font/fonts you want to disable
  3. Find the Disable button at the top and click on it
  4. Click Disable on a pop-up window
disable-font.png”alt=”disable a system font in font book


What are the best Mac fonts for developers?

The best Mac fonts for developers are the ones you can easily read and understand. It is extremely important since the visual clarity of fonts helps to reduce eye strain, making it easier to code for hours on end. The fonts that go easy on your eyes are non-proportional or monospaced.


The best monospaced Mac fonts for developers are listed below:

  • Monaco
  • Courier
  • Menlo
  • Osaka
  • PT Mono
  • SF Mono

You can find other fonts for developers in the monospaced section of your Font Book.

Where and how to download fonts on a Mac?

Before installing fonts on a Mac, you'll need to find and download them first. Most of the online sources offer free fonts. But there are some truly rare and awesome and may cost you a few bucks.


Here is the list of font sources our design team uses (and strongly recommends):

  • MyFonts: offers hundreds of fonts for Mac (royalty-free and not)
  • Google Fonts: has a vast collection of free fonts
  • FontSquirrel: lets you search and review hundreds of free fonts
  • 1001 Free Fonts: offers stunning fonts, free for personal use


Note: When downloading free fonts, read the license agreement for details on how to use downloaded fonts. In case it says "for personal use only," legally, it’s not allowed to use the font for your commercial projects.


When searching new fonts for your Mac, check if the ones you choose are compatible with your current macOS. Simply look at the file name, and if it ends with ".ttf" or ".otf” or ".ttc", then you're fine.


Once you find fonts that suit your taste, download them like any other files. Usually, fonts come compressed in .zip files you can unzip with a double-click. After the files with the new fonts are downloaded on your Mac, it's time to install them using one of the previously described methods.

How to validate and check fonts for errors on a Mac

When you’re adding fonts to a Mac, they’re automatically validated. However, if the font isn’t displaying you can validate it additionally and check it for errors:  

  • Open Font Book
  • Select a font, then from the toolbar choose File Validate Font
  • Click the disclosure triangle next to the font in the Font Validation window
    • Green icon: This means the font is good and passed the review
    • Yellow icon: This means the font has a few issues that need to be resolved
    • Red icon: This means the font has failed
  • To resolve the issues select the checkbox next to the font, then click Install Checked

How to install a font in Word for Mac?

To add a font to Word for Mac, all you need to do is:

  1. Install the font as described above
  2. Open Font Book
  3. Drag and drop your font/fonts into the Windows Office Compatible (you can find it in the left sidebar)


That’s it.  After restarting your Mac, your font should be available in Word for Mac.

What to do if the installed fonts won’t show up on a Mac?

Most of the time this happens due to a trashed Font Book database. Without getting into technical details, all you need to do is:  

  1. Back up all your data
  2. Restart your Mac and hold down the Shift key to boot into the safe mode
  3. macOS will ask you to log in
  4. Wait till your Mac finishes booting to desktop, then restart normally


That’s it, this will clear Font Book’s database and the cached files.


Now you know everything you need to download, install, and effectively manage new fonts on a Mac. We hope you enjoyed this article, and it gave you more room for creativity and experiments.



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