How Do I Download and Install Fonts on My Computer?

Increase your font library with free and commercial fonts online

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Whether you are a designer who is looking for just the right font for a client or a user who just loves collecting fonts, you'll benefit from the vast number of fonts available on the internet. The process of downloading and installing fonts on your computer is simple but it isn't always obvious. This articles shows how to obtain fonts on the internet, open archived fonts and install fonts on Macs and PCs so you can use them in your software programs.

These instructions apply to free fonts, shareware fonts and fonts you buy online.

Font Sources

Fonts come from many locations. They can come with your desktop publishing, word processing or graphics software. You may have them on a CD or other disc, and they can be downloaded from the internet.

• When fonts come with your software, they are often installed at the same time the software is installed. Usually, no further action is required by the user. Fonts on CDs need to be installed on your computer, but those fonts usually come with instructions. If not, just follow the instructions here.

How to Download Fonts From the Web

Free and shareware fonts are offered for download on many websites such as ​FontSpace.com, DaFont.com, 1001 FreeFonts.com and UrbanFonts.com. Visit any of these sites and examine the fonts the site offers free or for a fee. Most fonts come in TrueType (.ttf), OpenType (.otf) or PC bitmap fonts (.fon) formats.

Windows users can use all three formats. Macc computer use Truetype and Opentype fonts.

When you find a font that you want to download, look for an indication if it is free or not. Some will say "Free for personal use," while others say "Shareware" or "Donate to author," which indicates you are encouraged to pay a small fee of your choice for the use of the font.

Payment is not required. Click the Download button next to the font and—in most cases—the font downloads immediately to your computer. It will likely be compressed.

About Compressed Fonts

Some fonts downloaded from the internet are ready for installation, but usually, fonts downloaded from the internet are stored in compressed files that must first be uncompressed. This is where many new font owners run into problems. 

When you click the Download button, the compressed font file is saved somewhere on your computer. It most likely has a .zip extension to indicate it is compressed. Both Windows and Mac operating systems include a uncompress capability. On Macs, go to the downloaded file and double-click on the zipped file to uncompress it. In Windows 10, right-click the zipped file and select Extract All in the contextual menu that appears. 

Installing Fonts

Simply having the font file on your hard drive is only part of the installation process. To make the font available to your software programs requires a few extra steps. If you use a font manager, it may have a font installation option you can use. Otherwise, follow the appropriate instructions shown here:

How to Install Fonts on a Macintosh

  • To install a font on any Mac running OS X 10.3 or higher, double-click the uncompressed font and tap the Install font button at the bottom of the font preview screen, or
  • In any Mac OS X version, drag the uncompressed file into the Library/Fonts folder.

How to Install TrueType and OpenType Fonts in Windows 10 

  • In Windows 10, 8, 7 and Vista, select the uncompressed font files and then right-click Install, or
  • In any Windows version, place the uncompressed font files in the Fonts folder. In most cases, that folder is usually located at  C:\Windows\Fonts or C:\WINNT\Fonts. If not there, try Start Menu > Control Panel > Appearance and Themes > Fonts.