Back in the 1980s, the thing that set Macs apart from PCs more than anything else was the Mac’s support for different fonts. Over the years, font formats and how you work with fonts have changed, though things have remained fairly stable since Mac OS X became mature. However, despite the fact that there are oodles of fabulous fonts available for free download (at least for personal use), many people don’t realize just how worthwhile it can be to go beyond the fonts that ship with macOS.
Getting and installing new fonts is easy. You’re likely to find fonts in one of two font formats: TrueType and OpenType. TrueType fonts generally have the filename extension .ttf or .ttc, whereas OpenType fonts may use the same filename extensions or use .otf. macOS supports both, and both work fine, though if you have a choice, note that professional designers prefer OpenType.
When you download a font, you’ll usually get a Zip archive, that, when expanded, includes the actual font file (the one with the .otf, .ttf, or .ttc extension) along with a ReadMe or license file. (If the Zip archive doesn’t expand automatically, double-click it.) You can install fonts into Font Book, Apple’s bundled font management utility app, in three ways:
- Double-click the font file, and in the Font Book Preview window that appears, click Install Font.
- Open Font Book from your Applications folder, choose File > Add Fonts, select the desired font(s) in the Open dialog, and click the Open button.
- With Font Book open, drag the desired font(s), or a folder containing them, to the Fonts column.
If you’re installing just one or two fonts, go with the first method, since it’s the easiest. However, if you’re installing a bunch of fonts at once, either the second or third approach will let you avoid lots of repetitive clicking.
Keep in mind that fonts in macOS can be installed for just the current user or for all users of the Mac. If at least one font is installed for the current user and at least one font is installed for all users, you’ll see Computer and User categories at the top of the Font Book sidebar. Otherwise, you’ll see just All Fonts.
Once installed, fonts should be available to most apps right away. If you had a font panel open in an app, you might need to close and reopen the panel before newly installed fonts will appear. Or just quit and relaunch any apps that don’t see the new fonts. If all else fails, restart your Mac to ensure that everything recognizes the new fonts.
That’s it! Now that you’re up to speed on installing fonts, have some fun finding and using fonts that will give your documents added personality.
How To Download Free Fonts
There are many places to download free fonts from. Some select ones I’ve chosen to help you are:
- Google Fonts
- Urban Fonts
- Font Squirrel
Through these sites, you can browse 1000’s of fonts and select those that you’d like to install on either Windows 10 or your Mac in no time.
How To Install Fonts on Windows 10
Once you have downloaded your font from your chosen provider, do the following:
- Locate the file you downloaded (probably a zip file)
- Double-click on it to open the folder
- Right click on the file
- Select “Install” on the pop-up window and that’s it!
How To Install Fonts on Mac OS
Installing fonts on Mac OS is also quite a straightforward process and similar to that above. Once you have selected your font:
- Locate the file on your desktop
- Double click it to extract it
- Right Click on the file extension ending in .ttf or .otf
- Then click “Install” to finish the process.
Note: A word of warning in relation to Fonts. If you have too many of them, they can have a tendency to slow down your computer. This generally applies to Graphic Designers who need a hefty selection to choose from. But take note, if you’re looking to keep the performance of your computer up. If clearing out fonts, it’s not recommended to delete the default fonts that came with your computer’s O/S.