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.

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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’t 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.


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fonts install

Patrick Fromaget

I'm the lead author and owner of RaspberryTips.com. My goal is to help you with your Raspberry Pi problems using detailed guides and tutorials. In real life, I'm a Linux system administrator with a web developer experience.

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