Thursday, January 24, 2008

Installing TrueType Fonts on Debian

Fonts. A huge subject. Complicated stuff. I don't know sh*t about it.

All I wanted was to edit a simple old Word document, using some fancy fonts. I have the TrueType (TTF) files available, and I wanted to install them and edit the file with OpenOffice. It took me quite a while and a few failed attempts before I figured it out.

If you're using GNOME this is rather easy:
  1. hit <CTRL>-L with the desktop visible, or in a nautilus window
  2. enter fonts:// and hit <ENTER> - you should see icons/list of all the fonts installed
  3. open another nautilus window, navigate to the location of the TTF file you want to install
  4. drag and drop the TTF file into the fonts window

I had to exit/enter GNOME in order to get the fonts to appear in OpenOffice Writer.

You can also install fonts with dfontmgr. I tried it and it works, but even with this graphical tool, it's quite a hassle when compared to the GNOME way of doing it.

And, of course, the command line approach:
  1. copy the fonts to /usr/share/fonts/truetype/<new-directory> (as root) or to ~/.fonts/
  2. run fc-cache -fv

[9 Feb. 2008] UPDATE: dfontmgr is now obsolete - see Debian bug #282225.


  1. Thanks mate, awesome tip. I've been fumbling around for hours trying to figure this out... too easy.

  2. Ur tip made my job very easy. Before seeing ur page, I tried some other method. I copied the font to the fonts folder. But after that I was trying to restart the font server (something called xfstt) But didnt work out.

    Thanks dude.Keep up ur gud work!!!

  3. Worked great. I also ran the command:

    fc-list | grep "fontname"

    to confirm that the font was added.

  4. The command line version worked fine for me, thanks!

    (Using Debian Lenny on AMD64)

  5. eh dfontmgr is obseleted in debian testing anyway, so i am using fontmatrix to import and manage existing fonts... pity it uses qt4

  6. Now that's a pretty cool application! Thanks for the tip!