Installing System Fonts Using the Command Line

Last Updated on 04/27/2013 by dboth

Users can install new fonts for Linux using the Font Management application of the System Settings. This presumes that the user has downloaded the files from somewhere and has them handy in an accessible directory.

These fonts, when installed by the end user, are only accessible by the one end user who installed them as they are considered “personal fonts” and are located in that user’s home directory. It probably makes more sense in most cases to install the fonts in such a way that they can be used by all users of the host.

Using YUM to install fonts from a repository

One way to install fonts is to install from available RPM packages located in the Fedora or RPMFusion repositories using the YUM installer. This is as simple as using YUM as root to list the available fonts and then installing the ones you want.

yum list available *font*
yum -y install <fontname.rpm>

This will install the fonts and should restart the font server.

Installing Fonts not in repositories

Many fonts are not available in a repository for various reasons. Some are proprietary fonts that are available only for purchase.Others may simply not be available in an RPM package.

I bought a CD of 500 Bitstream® fonts many years ago.  These fonts came in both TrueType™ and PostScript® formats. In order to install them for use by any user on a system you must perform the following steps as root. System-wide fonts are located in the /usr/share/fonts directory and in subdirectories thereof.

  1. Create a new directory in /usr/share/fonts – the name does not matter but it should be something that makes it easy for you and other administrators to understand, such as myfonts.
  2. Store the desired font files in /usr/share/fonts/myfonts
  3. Restart the font server, just type the following command and press Enter:

Note that it is not necessary to reboot your Linux host. It may be necessary to restart any applications that were running when the font server was restarted in order for them to recognize the new fonts.