How to Install New Fonts in Mac OS X

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Typography – if used elegantly – can greatly enhance the look and feel of just about anything that involves letter, numbers or characters. For example, custom fonts can form a great logo, as well as offer a more valuable and tailored feel to the piece of work. Forget logos, even changing the default fonts on your operating system can create a unique everyday computing experience.

We’ve already published a tutorial on installing new fonts on Windows. The process is easier and more streamlined on Mac OS X. This guide will tell you exactly that.

Here’s how you go about downloading fonts.

1. Download the Font

There are a ton of free fonts out there. Sites such as Smashing Magazine have lists upon lists of free fonts that are available for personal or commercial use.

Download the Font

Here are a variety of neat font collections to check out:

2. Extract the Font

Usually, the font comes in a .zip or .rar file. This means you’ll need a program to extract it. I use the Free Stuffit Expander. Once you do that, a new Finder window will pop up. Double click the .ttf or .otf file, and the Font Book application should automatically open.

Extract the Font

3. Install the Font

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Once the Font Book application opens, you can simply Install the font.

Install the Font

4. Organize your Fonts

Font Book automatically sorts out your fonts according to either default installation or user installation. This is a great feature, as it allows you to quickly go through your custom installed fonts. If you’re a typography enthusiast, this definitely is the key.

Font Book

Font Book can be accessed within the Applications folder, or simply type it into Spotlight to find it.

Font Book Application

You don’t need to re-open an application, as the font collection updates on the fly. For example, if you have Photoshop open and you’ve just installed a font, you can simply go back into Photoshop and select the font.

Font Updates

Fonts are very fun to implement and select, and are very easy to use! Don’t be afraid to try out new fonts for different uses, and have fun with your fonts. :)

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  • Steve

    Cool! Thanks for sharing, very clear and worked great, thank you.

  • Deborah

    For some reason, after I clicked on Install Font and found the font in my Font Book, some (if not most) of my fonts did not appear in my Microsoft Word list. Happened to anyone?

    • BobbyJ

      I have had the same issue all month. Font shows up in FontBook but not in Word!!!!

    • MM

      I’m using Word 2008 for Mac and had the same problem. I found that if I went to the Format drop down menu and choose Font then I saw all my newly added fonts. Hope this helps!

  • Joe

    I see that no one has responded to the issues posted after font is downloaded to font book. I also have had the same issue it does not show up on Microsoft word. I’m hoping someone out there has the answer.

    • William Ryan Kus

      I use Suitcase Fusion, a third party font organizer and all my fonts show up OK in Microsoft Word.

      Sorry, I don’t have a better work-around than to use a different font organizing program, I’m sure they have some free ones out there.

  • Super

    To find the fonts on Microsoft Word, you will have to re-open the application.The editor of this post is incorrect when they say that you don’t have to re-open the application. I just found my downloaded fonts on Microsoft Word after I re-opened the application.

  • Nicole

    I downloaded a font that has 3 familes… skinny, bold and hollow. The only one showing up in word is the bold and my macbook is viewing the other 2 as duplicate fonts when they really are different. How do I change this so all 3 shows up in word?

  • Mike States

    Hello, I have about 200 fonts all in .zip files… I understand the individual process, but is there a way to do a bulk extract/install of a font that you know of? Thanks!

  • Marcio Maia

    Great! Thank you!!!