How to Locate Mac or Windows Font Files

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Digital font files can appear in many places on a computer, but there are specific default folders for installed fonts on both Windows and Macintosh computers. But which files are the right files? Often filenames for fonts are cryptic at best. For Type 1 fonts, the two files are located in different folders. Here is how to manually locate your fonts to ensure you include the right fonts and files for each project.

Windows TrueType/OpenType Fonts

The default location for installed TrueType or OpenType fonts under Windows 95 and above is the  Windows/Fonts folder, although actual files may be anywhere.

  • Go to your Windows/Fonts folder (My Computer > Control Panel > Fonts). Select View | Details. You'll see the font names in one column and the actual file name in another.
  • The icon for TrueType fonts is a dog-eared page with two overlapping Ts. The icon for OpenType fonts shows an O.
  • For installed fonts that have only a shortcut to the font in your Windows Fonts folder -- the icon will have a little arrow in the corner --right click on the font name and select Properties to find the path to the actual file.
  • In directories/folders other than the Windows Font folder, the Details View won't show the font name, only the filename. However, if you double-click the filename it will show you the name of the font.  
  • All Windows TrueType fonts have an extension of .ttf. OpenType fonts have an extension of .ttf or .otf.

Windows Type 1 Fonts

The default location for Type 1 fonts is the psfonts and psfonts/pfm directories, but as with TrueType fonts, the files may be located anywhere.

  • Use Adobe Type Manager (ATM) or other font management software to locate both of the needed files for a Type 1 (PostScript) font.
  • With ATM open, highlight a font name in the Fonts window then choose File | Properties.
  • A pop-up window then displays the complete path to two files.
  • Each Windows Type 1 font will have a .pfm (Printer Font Metrics, your screen font) and a .pfb (Printer Font Binary, your printer font) file.
  • The icon for both the .pfb and .pfm files is a dog-eared page with a lower case script "a" (for Adobe).

Macintosh TrueType/OpenType Fonts

Locating fonts and files in a Mac is somewhat easier than in Windows. Here's how (and where):

  • The default location for all fonts in System 7.1 and later is the Fonts folder inside the System folder. For Mac OS X, look in the Fonts folder of the Library folder.
  • There is only one file for each TrueType or OpenType font.
  • The TrueType file icon appears as a dog-eared page with three letter "A"s in progressively larger sizes. The filename, unfortunately, does not include the point size.

Macintosh Type 1 Fonts

  • The default location for all fonts in System 7.1 and later is the Fonts folder inside the System folder.
  • In System 7.0 and 7.0.1 the PostScript outline files are in the Extensions folder and the bitmaps are in the System file.
  • If you're still using System 6, the PostScript outline files are in the System Folder.
  • The bitmap font icon appears as a dog-eared page with the letter "A." Each bitmap filename for Type 1 fonts includes the point size (Times 10, for example). under System 7.1 or later, all the bitmap files for a font are in a suitcase in the Fonts folder.
  • The outline file icon appears as a letter "A" in front of horizontal lines. Most Type 1 outline files are named using the first five characters of the font name, followed by the first three characters of each style (HelveBol=Helvetica Bold, TimesBolIta=Times Bold Italic). An outline filename does not include a point size.
  • Be sure you send both the bitmap (screen) suitcase and outline (printer) file for each Type 1 font.