logoBrett Rawlins

Install fonts on ubuntu

January 21, 2019

The other day I needed to install some fonts on our ubuntu server that were needed for an email script. Not something you do every day, so I thought I'd make a note of the steps for future reference.

1. See if the font you need is already installed.

To list all the fonts that are installed type:


To find a particular font, you can grep that list:

fc-list | grep "Arial"

If the font is installed, it will show the path to the font file. If not, it will return nothing.

You can also use fc-match to find out what the system will use when trying to match the given font:

fc-match Arial

2. Search for an installable package.

Many fonts are available as apt packages on Debian/Ubuntu systems. Packages that contain fonts usually have a name that starts with "fonts-". You can use apt-cache search [pattern] to search them.

To search for all font packages type:

apt-cache search ^fonts-

Or you could search for just a particular font:

apt-cache search Arial

If you find one you want, you can simply install it:

apt-get install [package-name]

3. Download the font file and copy it to the server.

If the font you want is not available as a package, you can probably find it on the internet somewhere. A few places that offer free font downloads are:

The font file will usually have either a .ttf (True Type Font) or .otf (Open Type Font) file extension. Once you have the font file, just copy it to your server. You'll probably want to put it in the /usr/local/share/fonts directory so that it is available for all users:

scp -C ~/Downloads/myFont.ttf user@server:/usr/local/share/fonts

4. Verify that the font is installed.

Now log into your server and verify that the font is installed:

fc-match MyFont