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Installing New Fonts on Your Computer

written by: cscribe2180•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 2/18/2010

You don't have to chain your desktop publications to the confines of a short and boring font list. Here's how to browse, download, and install new and excitingly creative fonts to your computer to give your publications some extra punch.

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    Find Those Fonts!

    Let's start with the fun part: finding the fonts you want. A number of great Web sites offer fonts for free or at a reasonable price. For example, here are some sites you can check out to download fonts. These sites allow you to peruse font samples and download entire font sets:

    1001 Free Fonts offers over 2,000 fonts for Windows and Macintosh applications.

    Myfonts.com allows you to search their database for fonts by price, character set and foundry (fonts that fall into one particular type)

    Font Freak is another great place to find all of the latest fonts for your PC or Mac.

    Once you've found the fonts you want, simply follow the site's prompts for downloading. Usually, it's as simple as clicking a download button next to your desired font.

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    Downloading Fonts for Windows

    When downloading fonts to a PC with the Windows operating system, be sure to select the download for Windows if specified by the Web site (most font sites, whether free or fee, do this).

    A window will appear asking you if you want to open or save the file. Click "Save."

    In the window displaying your computer files, choose where you would like the font folder to appear. While it's entirely up to you, downloading to the folder entitled "Fonts" or "PSFonts" on your computer's C drive is recommended.

    Sometimes, you will need WinZip to unzip a font file. You will be prompted automatically through WinZip to download the fonts. At that point, save the unzipped folders to the fonts folder in your C drive.

    To install the fonts on your computer, go to "Start," then "Control Panel." In Windows XP, click "Appearance and Themes." If the Fonts option isn't there in the list, look in the left corner of the window. The Fonts folder is sometimes listed there under "See Also." Click on the Fonts folder. Once in the folder, click "File," then "Install New Font." You will then be able to select the fonts you just downloaded and add them to your computer's font list.

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    Downloading Fonts on a Mac

    For those with Macintosh computers, simply download your fonts to the desired location, such as the desktop. Open up your System folder, then click and drag the new fonts to the folder. Click "OK" when prompted.

    You may have to restart programs and/or your computer in order for the fonts to show up on the font lists in your desktop publishing programs.

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    Tips and tricks

    If you use the Adobe Creative Suite, you are able to add fonts to the font folders in each of your Adobe programs. Simply go to your C drive folder, click "Program Files," then "Adobe." Within lies all the folders for your various programs, such as InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, etc. Click on the folder of the program you wish to add the fonts to, then open its fonts folder and drag the new fonts to the list.

    While sites peddling free fonts shouldn't give you any cause to worry about copyright infringement, check anyway. Sometimes, the fonts are copyrighted or come with a licensing agreement that might charge you after a certain period of time.