How to Install Fonts on a Mac: A Simple Guide
Fortunately for Mac users, adding fonts to Apple computers is fairly easy. You don't need to be a tech guru to download, install, preview, and enable new fonts on a Mac. All you'll need is some high-level guidance, and we're happy to provide it.
Below is your guide on how to install fonts on a Mac and manage them effectively:
- Install fonts on a Mac using Font Book
- Install fonts manually
- Preview all your installed fonts
- Disable and remove fonts from a Mac
- Find and download new cool fonts
- Install fonts in Word for a Mac
- 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 for 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
3. This will automatically run Font Book for you
4. In the pop-up window, click Install Font
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 more than one account on your Macintosh and you wish to use downloaded fonts on all these accounts, you’ll 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
3. At the top corner click on the app menu bar and choose Font Book → Preferences
4. Use the drop-down to change the default location from User to Computer
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
In order 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
4. Type Network/Library/Fonts in the pop-up window and press Go
5. Paste the font files in this folder
That’s it! The fonts are now installed for all your network users.
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 all its subfolders have been hidden from users’ sight. Therefore, you'll need some extra effort to locate it:
- Open Finder and click on the Go section in the upper menu
- Select Go to Folder in the drop-down menu and click on it
- Type ~/Library/Fonts in the pop-up window and click Go
- The Fonts folder will show up
- Copy and paste (you can also drag and drop) all the unzipped font files to the Fonts folder
Well done! Now you know how to add Mac fonts manually too.
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 so many cool Mac fonts out there, it's not always easy to pick the right one for your business project or personal needs. That's where font preview comes into play.
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
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
How to disable and remove fonts on a Mac
Having a good set of fonts for Mac provides more stylistic options, but having too many of them has the opposite effect—it makes it harder and longer to pick the right one and, ultimately, leads to clutter on 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 are not allowed to remove or disable system fonts. You can manage only those fonts you've 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. Should you need a removed font later, you'll have to install it again.
To remove fonts on a Mac, do this:
- Launch Font Book
- Pick the font/fonts you want to remove
- Press the Delete key
- Click Remove in the pop-up window
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:
- Launch Font Book
- Pick the font/fonts you want to disable
- Find the Disable button at the top and click on it
- Click Disable on a pop-up window
1. Where and how to download fonts on a Mac?
Before installing fonts on a Mac, you'll need to find and download them first. Luckily, there are lots of sources of fonts online. Most are free, but some are truly rare and cool and thus might cost you a few dollars.
Here are some font sources our design team uses (and strongly recommends):
- MyFonts: Here you can find hundreds of fonts for Mac both royalty-free and not
- Google Fonts: Here's a rich collection of free fonts to download for Mac
- FontSquirrel: Search and review hundreds of free fonts for Mac
- 1001 Free Fonts: There are more beautiful fonts for Mac, free for personal use
Important: When downloading free fonts, make sure to read the license agreement for details on how to use downloaded fonts. If it says "for personal use only," you can't legally use the font for commercial projects.
When searching new fonts for your Mac, check if those you choose are compatible with macOS. It's super-easy to find out. All you need to do is to look at the file name, and if it ends with ".ttf" or ".otf” or ".ttc", then you're fine.
Once you find fonts you like, download them like any other files. Usually, fonts come in compressed .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.
2. 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
3. How to install a font in Word for Mac?
To add a font to Word for Mac all you need to do is:
- Install the font as described above
- Open Font Book
- 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
4. 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:
- Back up all your data
- Restart your Mac and hold down the Shift key to boot into the safe mode
- macOS will ask you to log in
- 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 really hope you enjoyed this article and it gave you more room for creativity and experiments.