Fonts 101: How to Install Fonts On Mac

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Have you ever wanted to take your graphics and design up a notch but not sure where to begin? Fonts and Dingbats (or character fonts) are a simple way to be creative without spending a lot of money. There are hundreds of free fonts (also commonly called typefaces) on the internet and installing custom fonts on your Mac operating system is quite simple – once you know how to do it!  We here at We Rock Your Web like to have a cohesive brand look and feel on everything we do and our brand guidelines and fonts help us accomplish this. In the name of good branding, it would be a good idea to consider doing this yourself for your brand as well. Here are some easy steps on how to download, use and make the most of the fonts on your Mac operating system.

1. Find a font you want to use or download some samples to experiment

The font we use in our Logo is called “Trade Gothic” which can be downloaded on sites like Similarly, if you have a font that you are already using for your brand, you can simply zip the file and share it with others.

Open with Font Book

2. Get or download the font file

There are a number of different types of font file extensions but the two most common types (no pun intended) are .ttf (or “TrueType Font”) and .otf (“OpenType Font”). Both are compatible on both Mac and Windows. However the instructions are different for how to download depending on what operating system version you are using. In this article/example, I am using Macintosh Mavericks.

3. how to Install Fonts on Mac

There are two ways you can install the font on your computer. Either right-click on the font file and click “Open with FontBook” OR you can double-click on the file and it should automatically open in FontBook. Once the FontBook application launches, you’ll be prompted to “Install Font”. Depending on the font, there might be multiple font files to install (ex. Bold, Italics). So be sure you install each file in the package, just in case.

4. Using the Fonts

You should be able to use the new typeface in any Mac program including MacMail, Photoshop, Pages, and even iMovie. Note: it might take a little while for the fonts to load in the program you are using, so a good rule of thumb is to close the program you are wanting to use the font in so that it can load faster. Then, when you re-start the program the font should show up on your list of available fonts. Voila!

Building font menu

TIP: When selecting the font, the text panel should show up in formatting. But if it doesn’t, usually “Command + T” (T = text) will open the formatting box for you to edit.

using fonts in iMovie

Fonts Now in Notes Too

This also works in the latest version of the Notes application too. I love this feature because I can use colors and strike through formatting on my Mac and when I open the notes app on my iPhone. Currently you are very limited with the formatting you can do on your iPhone but I bet there will be more soon.

Hope that helps you learn the basics of how to use fancy fonts in your design, or at least how to install them to start playing around. Do you have any tips on using fonts for your business? Please let us know all about it. It’s amazing how creative we can get and how long we have come from the days of DOS.

About The Author:

Sadie has acted as the email marketing coordinator and web designer for one of the world's largest travel companies and managed social media for dozens of major brands. She has a breadth and depth of web and marketing knowledge that reaches far and wide. She loves all things Mac and keeping up with all the latest web trends.

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