How to Install Fonts on a PC
A few readers have left comments on The Graphics Fairy font posts wondering how to download and install the fonts we recommend . Today, I’m going to walk you through it. I’ll admit that it’s a little confusing at first, but by the second or third font, you’ll be rolling!
These directions are for a PC, but you can go here for a tutorial on installing fonts on a Mac computer.
Go to a font website or click a link in one of The Graphics Fairy’s font posts to identify a font you’re interested in. There should be a button or link to download the file (see the red arrow).
The font files will be placed on your computer. Mine is set up to always go to Libraries/Downloads, but your computer may be set up differently. If you’re prompted while saving, you may want identify an easy to find location on your computer (like the desktop or folder you’ve created).
Most fonts are downloaded as a .zip file, which packages the files together to save space & so you don’t miss anything. They usually contain the actual font file your computer needs (ends with .otf or .ttf) and some user information.
Right click on the zipped file and hit “extract all.” Select where you want the files to go. I usually just stay with the default location, which is usually where the zip file is too.
Here is a view of that same file folder with the original zip folder, and then the two unzipped components – a readme file and the actual font file. Read the text file and be sure you understand the use and restrictions created by the font’s author.
Double click on the font file itself to view it. It should look something like below. Click the install button and your computer will install it where all of your computer’s fonts are so it can be used. All of my computer’s fonts are stored here: C:\Windows\Fonts
Open up an application, and your new font should be visible in the list of available fonts. It’s now ready to use.
Other Frequently Asked Questions:
I have a Mac computer, not a PC. How do I install a font?
* Here is a post from Beth of Homestories A to Z on installing fonts on a Mac.
Are there limits to how & when my font will work?
* Fonts will only work on the computer you installed it on. If you’re sharing word documents etc. the person you’re sending the file to also has the same font installed on their computer or the font / design won’t be in the right font. A good rule of thumb is to make your projects a graphic (.jpg file) or save it as a certain file type like .pdf before sharing to preserve the font and design.
What do I hit to actually download the font from the website?
* Many font sites have confusing ads placed on the pages with buttons
that also say “download” or “click here.” (see the four download
buttons on the site in this example? Three of them are ads!) A good trick is to hover
over the button, and look for links that end in .zip or .ttf or .otf. Always beware of anything that looks suspicious or like an ad.
I downloaded the file, but I can’t find it!
* If you think you’ve totally lost where the downloaded file went, you can
do a quick search on your computer for the file as well. In addition, if you’re prompted while saving, you may want identify an easy to find location on your computer (like the desktop or folder you’ve created).
Can’t I just save the font file to my fonts folder and save the step of installing it?
* If you’re more advanced and familiar with that folder and where it is on your computer, sure, go ahead. Since a lot of fonts are downloaded as zip files, and most computers download files to a location other than the fonts folder, we decided to include the unzipping process and installation button method in this tutorial.
How do I know where & how I can use the font?
* The website you download the file from usually has some information about commercial use and licensing. Free fonts may require a donation or purchase if you use it to mass produce something or use it in logos or websites. Also check the text file that comes with many fonts. The font author usually put the licensing terms there.
I still don’t get it. Can you help?
* You may want to go to YouTube and search for “installing a font on my PC.” It may help more to watch a person installing a font than reading through a tutorial.
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