How to Install Fonts on a Mac

So simple that even a Windows user could do it

Close up of alphabet on letterpress
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Font installation on a Mac is a simple drag and drop operation for OpenType (Mac OS X), TrueType, and PostScript Type 1 fonts.

Installing New Fonts on a Mac

  1. Close Open Programs. Before installing any new fonts on a Mac, close any applications you have open. Newly installed Mac fonts may not appear in your software font menus if the program is running during font installation.
  2. Find the Fonts.
    Locate the fonts you want to install in the Finder and select each one. OpenType and TrueType fonts will have one file while PostScript Type 1 fonts for the Mac will have both a printer and screen font.
    • Macintosh TrueType file icon appears as a dog-eared page with three letter As in progressively larger sizes.
    • Macintosh OpenType file icon has the letter O.
    • Macintosh PostScript Type 1 fonts have a bitmap font icon that appears as a dog-eared page with the letter A. The outline file icon appears as a letter A front of horizontal lines.
  1. Move the Fonts.
    • Mac OS 9.x or 8.x: Drag the fonts to the System Folder. Click OK when prompted.
    • Mac OS X: Drag and drop the fonts into the Fonts folder of the Library folder.
    • Classic Mode: For applications running under Classic mode you have to install Mac TrueType or Mac PostScript Type 1 fonts in the Fonts folder of the Classic System Folder.


  1. Restart the Computer.
    If you have some programs running while installing fonts on a Mac, they may require that you exit the application and restart for the new fonts to be available.
  2. View Fonts.
    Adobe Type Manager (ATM) and both the screen and printer fonts (2 files) for PostScript fonts are required in order to properly view and print if you are running anything prior to Mac OS X.
  3. Use the Right Fonts for Mac.
    There are slight differences in the TrueType fonts designed for each OS, therefore Mac and Windows users cannot share TrueType fonts. Due to differences in their structure, Mac and Windows PostScript Type 1 fonts are not cross-platform compatible. But, OpenType fonts are cross-platform, the same font file works on both Macintosh and Windows Operating systems.
  1. Avoid Font Duplication.
    OpenType fonts install in the same manner as TrueType fonts and co-exist peacefully with TrueType and PostScript Type 1 fonts. However, it is wise not to have the same font installed in multiple formats. That is, don't install both Helvetica in TrueType format and Helvetica in Type 1 format at the same time. It could cause font conflicts when trying to use the fonts.

    What You Need

    • Macintosh TrueType or PostScript fonts or OpenType fonts
    • Adobe Type Manager (ATM) for non-OS X Macs using PostScript fonts
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    Your Citation
    Bear, Jacci Howard. "How to Install Fonts on a Mac." ThoughtCo, Jan. 14, 2018, Bear, Jacci Howard. (2018, January 14). How to Install Fonts on a Mac. Retrieved from Bear, Jacci Howard. "How to Install Fonts on a Mac." ThoughtCo. (accessed February 20, 2018).