How To Install Fonts on Mac & Windows
If you've landed on this blog post, then you want to know how to install fonts on Mac and Windows. Whether you're a new business owner, a professional designer, or a design newbie, this guide will help you install your new favorite font on your device.
What is a font file?
Before we start, let's quickly talk about what a font file actually is. A font file is a file (usually with the extension OTF or TTF) that contains your new font. Each cut/weight of a typeface is usually a separate font file. That means if you bought a font family like Astralaga or Helvetica, you will get several font files.
In the image above you see the download folder of Astralaga Font Family. It contains 5 separate font files called Astralaga-Light.otf, Astralaga-Regular.otf, Astralaga-Medium.otf, Astralaga-SemiBold.otf, Astralaga-Bold.otf – in both formats TTF and OTF.
What is the difference between TTF and OTF
TTF and OTF are extensions that are used to indicate the file is a font. TTF stands for TrueType Font, while OTF stands for OpenType Font.
For designers, both amateur and professional, the main useful difference between OTF and TTF is in the advanced typesetting features.
OTF features embellishments like alternate characters and ligatures that exist to give designers more options to work with. For that reason, OTF is indeed the "better", so if you are a designer we recommend installing the OTF file. But for the average computer user, those differences don't really matter.
Where do you get a font file?
When you buy a font, such as Sauvage, you are not (actually) buying a font, you are buying a license. In other words, you buy the right to use the font for your purposes. In order to use it, you also get the font files, which you can install on your computer - usually in a download folder.
This applies for fonts on all platforms. Whether you buy from a foundry's own website, Creative Market, MyFonts, Monotype, Linotype, or YouWorkForThem, you'll get a download folder with your font files.
How do I install a font on MAC OS?
The installation of a font on a Mac OS is very simple.
If your download folder is a ZIP file, double-click it to unzip it.
Navigate to the folder with the font files and double click the OTF or the TTF file. (Remember, install the OTF file, if you are a designer and want to use alternate characters and ligatures.)
Select Install Font in the window that popped up.
Once installed, you can manage your fonts in the Mac Os standard app "Font Book". This app is preinstalled on your Mac and you can find it easily by typing "Font Book" into your finder.
How do I install a font on Windows 10 / Windows 11?
The installation of a font on a Windows system is very simple as well.
- If your download folder is a ZIP file, double-click it to unzip it.
- Navigate to the folder with the font files and right click the OTF or the TTF file. (Remember, install the OTF file, if you are a designer and want to use alternate characters and ligatures.)
Once installed, you can manage your fonts in the Windows standard app "Character Map". This application is pre-installed on your Windows computer.
To open "Character Map" click the "Start" button. When the Start Menu opens, scroll down to the "Windows Accessories" folder. Expand it and you’ll see the "Character Map" shortcut.
Before installing a font shut down any program you want to use the font in - for example Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Microsoft Word.
Make sure you're completely shutting down each program, not just hitting the exit button.
If your new font is not showing up in the program you are using, you can try restarting the program.
Sometimes restarting the computer can also help.
Go and get your new favorite font here ➝