Mac Basics: Font Book

The Font Book application lets you install, remove, view, organize, validate, enable, and disable fonts. Fonts are styles of type that your computer uses to display and print text. OS X comes with many preinstalled fonts.

Using Font Book

Font Book is located in the Applications folder (in the Finder, choose Go > Applications). To manage or view fonts, open Font Book, or double-click a font file.

In Font Book, the Collection column on the left shows installed fonts by category; click a different category to see different kinds of fonts, or click "All Fonts" for a list of all installed fonts. The Font column in the middle displays all fonts within the selected collection. The preview pane on the right side displays a sample of characters in the selected font.

Font Book main

Here are some other things you can do with Font Book.

Preview and install fonts

To preview a new font that you downloaded or have on a disc, double-click the font file. Font Book will display a sample of the font. You can change the typeface (if others are available) via the pop-up menu at the top of the preview window.

If you want to install the font so that it can be used in documents you create or view, click the "Install Font" button that appears below the preview of the font.

You can also use Font Book to install one or more fonts. Choose Add Fonts from the File menu, select the font or a folder containing multiple fonts, then click Open to install the font(s).

When Font Book installs a font, it will automatically validate the font and let you know if it detects any issue with the font file. See the "Validating fonts" section in this article for more information.

By default, Font Book will install fonts in a location where the font will only be available to the current user account. If you'd prefer to install fonts in a location where they will be available to all users on the computer, choose Font Book > Preferences, then choose "Computer" from the "Default Install Location" pop-up menu. 

Remove a font with Font Book

To remove a font using Font Book, select All Fonts in the Collection column, select the name of the font in the Font column, then choose File > Remove "Font Name" Family. Font Book will move those font files into the Trash. 

System fonts can't be removed.

View fonts in Font Book

There are several different ways to view fonts in Font Book. These different options help you decide which font you'd like to use for the project you are working on.

The Preview menu contains three options that affect how the preview is displayed:

  • Sample (default option) displays the font using letters and numbers, or symbols when previewing a symbol font.
  • Repertoire displays all characters available in the font. You may need to use the scroll bar or zoom slider bar on the right side of the window to see all of the available characters.
  • Custom allows you to type in a custom phrase or selection of characters, which will be used to display the preview each time you select a font.

If you don't see a preview in the Font column, choose Show Preview and Hide Font Info from the Preview menu.

Organize fonts as collections

When working with fonts, you may discover that you use certain fonts frequently, but rarely use others. To make it easier to find the font you are looking for, you can organize your fonts into collections.

  1. From the Font Book File menu, choose New Collection.
  2. Type in a name for the new collection.
  3. Click "All Fonts" in the Collection column.
  4. Drag the fonts that you want from the Font column onto the name of your new collection in the Collection column.

In this example, some fonts are being dragged to a new collection named "Favorites":

Smart Collections (OS X Mountain Lion)

Similar to how you can create a smart mailbox in Mail, you can create a Smart Collection in Font Book that will automatically include fonts which meet your criteria. One Smart Collection is already included, called Fixed Width. Click it to see all the fixed width fonts installed.

To create a new Smart Collection:

  1. Choose File > New Smart Collection.
  2. Using the pop-up menus, define the criteria for which fonts should appear in this collection. You can include or exclude fonts based on their family name, style name, PostScript name, kind, languages, and design style.
  3. To add more criteria, click the "+" button (or remove with the "–" button).
  4. Give your collection a name, then click the OK button when finished.

To modify a Smart Collection, select it, then choose File > Edit Smart Collection.

Using collections in apps

In applications that use the standard OS X Fonts panel, such as Mail, Pages, and TextEdit, you click the name of a collection to see only the fonts in that collection:

Disable and enable specific fonts

In situations where you'd like to prevent a font from being available in applications, but you don't want to completely remove the font from your Mac, you can use Font Book to disable the font.

  1. In Font Book, click "All Fonts" in the Collection column.
  2. Click the name of the font in the Font column.
  3. Choose Disable "Font Name" Family from the Edit menu.

Fonts that have been disabled have their names displayed in gray text with the word "Off" appearing next to the font's name.

System fonts can't be disabled.

If you'd like to enable a font that was previously disabled, click the name of the font from the Fonts column, then choose Enable "Font Name" Family from the Edit menu.

You can also disable or enable all fonts in a collection: Click the name of the collection in the Collection column, then choose Disable "Collection Name" or EnableCollection Name" " from the Edit menu.  

Validate problematic fonts

If there is an issue with one of the fonts, you can use Font Book to validate all fonts or a specific font. Validating checks for potential issues.

To validate all fonts:

  1. Log in as an administrator user if you want to use the "Remove Checked" button described below. Non-admin users can also validate fonts, but only remove ones in their home folder.
  2. Open Font Book.
  3. Click "All Fonts" in the Collection column.
  4. Choose Validate Fonts from the File menu.
  5. If Font Book identifies an issue with fonts, you can click the alert icon at the bottom of the window, then click the "Remove Checked" button to remove problematic font(s). You should then re-install the affected fonts from the original source. If the font still does not pass validation, contact the creator of the font or the company that you obtained the font from for assistance.

You can find specific font files with the search field in the upper right corner, then select them and choose File > Validate File.

You can also use Font Book to validate font files that have not yet been installed. Choose Validate File from the File menu, select the location that contains the font files you want to validate, then click the Open button.

Find and resolve duplicate fonts

To find duplicate fonts:

  1. Open Font Book.
  2. Click "All Fonts" in the Collection column.
  3. Choose Edit > Look for Enabled Duplicates. Duplicate fonts are highlighted in the Fonts column

To resolve duplicated fonts: Click Resolve Manually or Resolve Automatically.

Download additional Chinese fonts in Mountain Lion

To download these additional fonts in Mountain Lion, simply enable them in Font Book:

  • Baoli SC
  • Lantinghei SC
  • Lantinghei TC
  • Libian SC
  • Wawati SC
  • Wawati TC
  • Weibei SC
  • Weibei TC
  • Xingkai SC
  • Yuanti SC

Learn more

Check out the built-in Font Book Help guide on your Mac (in Font Book, choose Font Book Help from the Help menu).

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