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One of the questions I get asked a lot as an instructor is how to install fonts in windows. Here's how...it's really easy!
Note: These screenshots were taken in Windows XP, but it's the same procedure in Windows 95, 98, and ME as well.This page is graphics intense and will take a while to load.
Categories of font downloads
There are hundreds of sites on the net that offer fonts to download for free. They fall in several categories:
Finding fonts to download
This is simple. Type "font downloads" into Google without the quotes. You'll find more links that you can possibly imagine. The hardest part of installing fonts is choosing what to download and keep. There are thousands od choices and they are as addictive as chocolate. I won't turn this page into a page of links because there are thousands of those already, so why reinvent the wheel when someone else has already done the work? I do provide links to some of my favorites in the classrooms on the Class Resource Page in most of my classes. if you happen to be one of my students, you can start there.
Types of fonts
Fonts come in various flavors. Even though you can use Postscript (Type 1) and Open Type fonts in windows, if you are a enough of a beginner to need this tutorial, you probably aren't ready for that anyway. We will only be concerned here with Windows True Type fonts.
True Type fonts have an extension of .ttf. Example: myfont.ttf
If the font you are downloading has an extension of .zip, it is compressed with a program like winzip, and you will need winzip or another unzipping program (I use Alladin Stuffit Deluxe for Windows). Windows XP comes with zip/unzip built in.
Example: myfont.zip is a compressed file and must be decompressed before installing. You will need to double click on myfont.zip to expand it. The file inside, myfont.ttf, is the file you install to windows, not the .zip file.
If a font has a .sit extension, example: myfont.sit, then it is a Macintosh font and you will not be able to use it in Windows even if you can open it, which you will not be able to do without a .sit expander like Alladin Expander.
After you expand the zip files make sure you pay close attention to where you extracted them! You will need to know where the ttf files are to install them.
Installing the downloaded fonts
Double click on the My Computer Icon on your desktop.
This will open a window like this. Again this is Windows XP so yours may look different but it should have a control panel icon.
Windows default view is larger icons than the above screenshot, or you may be like me and prefer a list view, and have changed the view, so you might have something like this:
However your My Computer window is displayed, you should have an icon called Control Panel. Double click on it to open the control panel. The control panel lets you control the inner workings of your machine, but if you don't know what you are doing, don't touch anything except the Fonts folder. You do not want to cause problems for the computer!
The control panel can also be displayed as large icons, smaller icons, a list, or details. Yours may look different but you get the general idea.
The fonts folder icon will look different in different versions of windows, but they all go the same place. Double click on it to open it.
The fonts folder looks something like this in list view.
You might see several different kinds of fonts displayed, unless you are using an older version of Windows. Then you will have only True Type fonts in this folder. True type fonts have an extension of .TTF, and what you download from the web will usually be true type fonts.
Go to File > Install New Font. It might say Install Fonts or something else but it means the same thing.
The Add fonts dialog opens. Choose the drive and folder where the fonts to install are located.
Make sure to check the Copy fonts to Fonts Folder box so they will be added. Otherwise it will only add a shortcut to the file and if you move the font files, windows won't be able to find them to load them.
The list will load in the upper left window. Highlight the ones you wish to install.
Click OK. That's it. The new font or fonts are installed and should appear in the font folder.
They are also now listed in any application that uses fonts.
For more font installation information, go to Adobe's font installation page.
Temporarily installing Fonts in Windows
Fonts my be temporarily installed in windows without placing them in the Fonts folder. To do this, double click on the .ttf file and it will open in a preview. Minimize this preview and as long as you leave it open, the font will be available in your windows programs for use. You may have to close and reopen some programs to get them to load the font.
True type font files have an extension of .ttf, and Open Type fonts have an extension of .otf. If they have a .zip extension, they are zipped and MUST be unzipped before you can install them! Fonts on the Mac can be installed for the current user only, or for all users on the machine.
To install fonts for the current user only
If the font file is zipped, unzip it and then copy the font's .ttf file to the user's Home folder. MacintoshHD > Users > Home (where Home is your username) > Library > Fonts folder.
To install fonts for all users
If the font file is zipped, unzip it and then copy the font's .ttf file to the MacintoshHD > Library > Fonts folder
Note: Do not mess with the Fonts folder in System > Library! These fonts are needed by the operating system.
All designs and images on these pages are copyrighted to me, Sara Froehlich and Northlite Designs. If you want to use something you see, please contact me for permission. Thank you!
Page updated on Ocober 10, 2004