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How to Install a Font on Mac

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:ShortLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

So you've found a great new font, but you're not quite sure how to install a font on Mac. Look no further—in this tutorial, we'll do just that: walk through installing a font for Mac! In addition, we'll look at how to remove fonts, uninstall fonts, disable fonts, and enable fonts for Mac systems using Font Book. 

Follow along with us over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

What You'll Need 

The following assets are used in this tutorial:

This is the font that I'll be using in this walkthrough. You're welcome to download this font and use it along with me. Alternatively, make sure you have any new font that is not yet installed on your computer, so that you can go through each step in this tutorial.

Fable Bug Simple Font
Here's the font that I'll install on my Mac in this tutorial—Fable Bug Simple Font.

Let's go ahead and start installing a new font on our computer.

1. How to Install a Font on a Mac

Step 1

First, you'll need to download your font file. 

In many cases, when downloading a font, you might see the files distributed in a compressed document. A common file type for this kind of distribution would be a ZIP file

In this case, double-click on the downloaded ZIP file. Your Mac should then create a folder in the same directory that includes the "unpacked" contents of this file.

Note, older versions of macOS might require additional software to "unzip" compressed files, such as StuffIt. This may also apply if you are confronted with alternative compressed file types, like SIT files. However, you are more likely to deal with ZIP files. 

In the below example, I've double-clicked on my ZIP file (newfont.zip), and my Mac, in response, created a folder called "newfont", which contains the included files.

Unzipped Font Folder

Step 2

So, looking at the font files themselves, there are many different font file types. While we won't necessarily dig into the different file types in detail here, let's take a look at two common file types:

  • OTF: this is an OpenType Font
  • TTF: this is a TrueType Font

Which do you choose? Generally speaking, if you're just looking to install a font for common, basic usage, either file type will work for you. OTF is often a preferred file type for designers, as it can include a host of additional content and information, such as alternates, glyphs, and ligatures that can make for more typographic options. TTF files would commonly lack many of these extras. 

Keep in mind, again, that these are just two file types of many out there—but these two are the ones you'll most likely come across.

Font File Types

Step 3

Now, let's double-click on our font file. This opens up a preview in Font Book. 

While viewing this preview of our new font, click on Install Font to install the new font onto your Mac. 

Install a Font on Mac

Step 4

Once we've done so, Font Book opens up, and we can see a preview. See how my new font installation for Fable Bug displays in my list of fonts now that I've installed it?

Installed List of Fonts

2. How to Use Font Book

Step 1

What exactly is Font Book? Well, it's a really handy tool that you can use to preview, install, uninstall, enable, disable, and organize fonts on your computer.

To open up Font Book, go to your Applications or Launch Pad and navigate to Font Book.

Once Font Book is open, you can browse through your installed fonts. Selecting one will give you a visual preview of how the font looks. In the example, below, I have the font Dreamland selected to preview.

Previewing a font in Font Book

Step 2

We can also group our favorite fonts into collections, here in Font Book. This can be really handy if you have a lot of fonts. 

With Font Book active, go to File > New Collection to start a new collection.

To add fonts to your collection, simply click, hold, and drag them to the collection displayed on the left-hand side. Fonts can be in more than one collection without consequence, so make collections to your heart's content!

Font Book Collecftions

3. How to Uninstall a Font on Mac

Step 1

We'll also use Font Book to remove fonts that we no longer want installed on our computer. However, we have two choices here: we can disable a font or we can completely remove it.

To disable a font, select it in Font Book

Then, go to Edit > Disable Family. In my case it reads Disable "Fable Bug" Family, as that's the font I just installed and the one I want to disable.

Disable a Font

Step 2

The nice thing about this is: I can easily go back in and enable this font at a later date, without having to reinstall or even download it again. 

To enable a font, select it in Font Book.

Then, go to Edit > Enable Family. Again, mine reads Enable "Fable Bug" Family, because that's the name of the font I'm working with in this demonstration.

Then, my font is enabled and ready for use again.

How do you know if a font is disabled? Notice the Off beside the font family, as highlighted below. This means that it is currently disabled.

Enable a Font

Step 3

However, we can also completely remove fonts from our computer that aren't required by your Mac. 

To do so, select the font in Font Book.

Then, go to File > Remove Family. As before, mine reads Remove "Fable Bug" Family because, again, this is the font I'm using. Yours will say whichever font you have selected.

Note, removing the font will send it to the Trash. All gone, deleted, and uninstalled. Unlike disabling the font, when we remove it, it's completely gone from our list in Font Book.

Removing a Font

And There You Have It!

Installing, enabling, disabling, and uninstalling fonts on a Mac only requires a couple of clicks, if you know where to look. I hope this tutorial helped you figure out how to do it. Good luck installing new fonts to your heart's content.

Want more font and type tips? Check out these type tutorials from Envato Tuts+.


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