How to install fonts on Raspberry Pi? (Raspbian Buster update)

Since I needed to add many fonts on my Raspberry Pi during a recent project, I thought it would be helpful to other people if I explain how to do it

How to install additional fonts on Raspberry Pi?
Well, most of the time it’s pretty simple.
Download a .ttf file on the website of your choice, and copy it to the “.fonts” folder.
There are also packages of fonts in some Raspbian repositories that allow you to install several at once

We will now see this in detail:
– Why would you need additional fonts?
– Where can you download new fonts?
– How to install fonts on your Raspberry Pi?
– How to use fonts later in my favorite software?

Why would you need additional fonts?

A font is a graphic representation of a text, with different shapes, accentuations, or thicknesses of characters

system fonts
Examples of fonts you can download and install

Fonts are used in our everyday tools
If you create a text file, a PowerPoint presentation, a website or an infographic, you will use different fonts (Arial, Times, Verdana, …)

It can be useful to install new fonts on Raspberry Pi :

  • To see websites with their original fonts
  • To create pictures with a beautiful font
  • To participate in collaborative projects with people who are not under Linux without losing the fonts they have chosen

Where can you download and install new fonts?

One specific font

Download a font

To download a new font on your Raspberry Pi, you can look for websites that offer a catalog of fonts

For example, the following links provide this kind of service:
FontSquirrel
1001Fonts
DaFont

Once you have chosen your favorite website, follow these steps to add a font to your Raspberry Pi :

  • Choose one font that interests you
  • Download the corresponding file
    I will install “Source Sans Pro” as an example

Install a font

Once downloaded, here are the steps to follow to install it on your Raspberry Pi:

  • Unzip this file
    • Either with the graphical tool:
      • Once downloaded with Chromium, click on the file in the downloads to open it
      • A xarchiver window shows up
      • Click on Action > Extract (or CTRL+E or the shortcut in the top bar)
        It looks like this:
        extract fonts
        Choose a folder to extract the files temporarily
        The “Downloads” folder is a good choice
        Click on “Extract” to extract all the files
    • You can also extract the files in command line :
      cd ~/Downloads
      unzip source-sans-pro.zip
  • Then go to /home/pi in the file explorer
  • Create a new folder and name it “.fonts”
    Right click > Create new > Folder, and type “.fonts”

    Use CTRL+H to display it (Folders with names starting by “.” are hidden on Raspbian)
  • Then go back to the Downloads folder and copy all the “.otf” and “.ttf” fonts you have
  • Paste the files into the “.fonts” folder you just created
  • That’s it, your fonts are ready to use

If you prefer the command line, you can also do this :

cd ~/Downloads/
cp *.otf ~/.fonts/
cp *.ttf ~/.fonts/
fc-cache -v -f

These commands will move and install all fonts immediately

Fonts packages

If you’re looking for more compatibility with fonts from other systems (Microsoft for example), know that there are several packages of fonts in the repositories

The best known of them allows you to install fonts that you get on Windows, and are therefore often used in documents or websites, but you can not load from your Raspberry Pi
For example, if you open a document that uses the well-known “Times New Roman” font, it is not available on Raspberry Pi

To install them, you will have to follow these steps (to adapt according to the package you want to install):

  1. Update your apt cache
    sudo apt-get update
  2. Install the package
    sudo apt-get install ttf-mscorefonts-installer

    Press enter to accept installing the package

After a few moments, the package is installed, and the Windows fonts are now available on your Raspberry Pi

If you are not comfortable with the command line, you can go to the main menu > Preferences > Add/Remove software, and look for the same package

How to use fonts later in my favorite software?

Now that you have installed your new fonts, how do you use them?

Well it’s effortless, in most cases there is nothing else to do, just install them, and they are available immediately in all software
If the software was already open, you will need to restart it, or at worst reboot the Raspberry Pi
But otherwise, it’s already functional 🙂

As you can see below in my LibreOffice Writer, I already have all the new fonts available

libreoffice fonts

Font Manager

If you need a graphical tool to manage your fonts, know that there is the Font Manager package
This tool allows you to see the fonts installed on the Raspberry Pi and to search for one corresponding to your needs using different criteria :

  • Family Kind
  • Spacing
  • Slant
  • Weight
  • Width
  • Filetype
  • License
  • Vendor

This tool looks like this :

To install it, look for the font-manager package, either with apt or in Preferences > Add/Remove Software
In command line:
sudo apt install font-manager

There are many other functions that I’ll let you try, such as disabling fonts, comparing fonts or customizing the display colors to understand better how it will look like on your final support

The good news is that once installed, you can install new fonts directly by opening the .otf or .ttf file (double-click on it, and click on “Install fonts”)
Like this:

Conclusion

It was a rather short post, but it allowed us to go around the subject
Now you know what fonts are, why to install new ones, find them on the Internet and install them
You also discover a software that allows you to manage them

If you have any further questions on this topic, feel free to ask in the comments below

fonts install
How to install fonts on Raspberry Pi? (Raspbian Buster update)

10 comments

  1. MA Chem Reply

    It did not work: I do not have neither the .fonts directory or the font manager.

    • RaspberryTips Post authorReply

      Hi,

      Try to create the .fonts folder manually: mkdir ~/.fonts
      And then paste the file into

  2. Banjo Reply

    Absolutely doesn’t work the way you described it here. If I double click a .ttf file I see a pop up that asks me which application I want to use to open said file. Tested with a fresh install of rasbian 10. No option to click install.

    • Patrick Fromaget Post authorReply

      Hi Banjo,

      Ok, thanks for your feedback
      I have to check this on Buster and update the post

  3. Patrick Fromaget Post authorReply

    Hello,

    I have just updated this post

    So on Raspbian Buster you have two choices:
    – either copy the font files manually to /home/pi/.fonts (and create the folder if needed)
    – or install font-manager to make it work the same way as on Stretch (open the ttf file and click “Install fonts”)

    Let me know if you still have a problem about this

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