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How To Download and Install Google Fonts

Posted by Jamie on July 2, 2018

By default, Windows 10 has over a hundred fonts built in. Mac OS has lots but only ever seems to use four, Myriad, Lucida Grande, Helvetica Neue and Avenir. As for Linux, the fonts used depend entirely on the distro. One set of fonts that can be used across all operating systems is from Google and there are hundreds, if not thousands of them. Here is how to download and install Google Fonts.

If you’re writing an essay, designing a new document or developing a website, your choice of font goes a lot further than just appearance. Fonts form part of typography, which is part art and part science. Typography can influence time on page, how easy a document is to read and even how your content will be received. If you want to exert a little more control over how you come across in a document, you need to consider your font carefully.

The Google Fonts website is a massive repository of almost universal fonts that can be used across mediums and systems. It is not the only collection of fonts online, but it has to be one of the most comprehensive. Google Fonts are primarily for use in website design but you can also use them on your computer if you like.

How to download Google Fonts

Before we get into installing Google Fonts onto different computers, first we need to find a font and download it. There is a particular method you need to use on the Google Fonts website in order to download fonts locally. As the fonts are designed primarily for use online, local downloads are not the most intuitive.

  1. Navigate to the Google Fonts website.
  2. Select a font you want to download.
  3. Select the red ‘+’ at the top right of the font box. A box will appear in the bottom right telling you ‘1 Family Selected’.
  4. Open the slider box that appears in the bottom right of your screen.
  5. Select the red download icon in the top right of that box.
  6. Select Download.

If you want to install multiple fonts, you can use Step 3 to add lots to your selection and the download them all at once. Remember to not download and install too many at once unless you’re using a font manager as it can slow your computer down!

How to install Google Fonts in Windows 10

Installing Google Fonts in Windows 10 is very easy. All you need do is download, unzip and install. Be careful when downloading fonts as installing too many can cause your computer to run slowly. If you find your applications begin stuttering or web pages take time to load, consider removing some of the ones you have installed but are unlikely to use.

To install Google Fonts in Windows 10:

  1. Download a font file to your computer.
  2. Unzip that file anywhere you like.
  3. Locate the file, right click and select Install.

There are three types of font file you can use with Windows, TrueType (.ttf), OpenType (.otf), and PostScript (.ps). Right click the corresponding file to install it.

How to install Google Fonts in Mac OS

Mac OS tends to stick to a few fonts but can use multiple font types just like Windows. The process is similar too. Mac supports  TrueType ‘.ttf’ files and OpenType ‘.otf’ files.

  1. Download a font file to your Mac.
  2. Unzip the font file somewhere.
  3. Double click a .ttf or .otf file to open Font Book.
  4. Preview the font to make sure it appears how you want it to.
  5. Select Install in Font Book.

Font Book is a new app that enables you to manage all the fonts within your Mac. You can remove as well as add so once you’re done with your new font, or don’t like it, you can remove it from within Font Book.

How to install Google Fonts in Linux

I use Ubuntu Linux so this will describe how to install Google Fonts with Ubuntu. Make the necessary adaptations as you see fit. I use the Type Catcher app as it comes very highly recommended.

Open a terminal and then:

  1. Type ‘sudo apt-get install typecatcher’ to download the latest version of Type Catcher.
  2. Launch Type Catcher.
  3. Navigate Google Fonts in the left pane and find one you want to use. It will preview in the center pane so you can see it in more detail. Change the type size at the top if you need to.
  4. Select Install at the top of Type Catcher to install your font of choice.

Type Catcher can also uninstall fonts if you want to keep a tidy OS. Just load it up and select the font you want to remove and then hit Uninstall.

Use a font manager to make life easier

Font managers are applications designed to keep font libraries tidy and enable you to select fonts on the fly. Originally used for graphic design and web development, they soon found favor with many computer users. Load it up, select a font and away you go. When you want to change it up, select a different font and you’re golden.

I use FontBase as my font manager. There are others out there that are just as good but I tried this one and liked it so have stuck with it. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux too.

Font managers take a lot of the work out of typography. They download the latest fonts, keep themselves updated and can activate fonts for you on the fly. You can experiment with any number of fonts without having to slog through multiple downloads and installations. It works with Google Fonts too which is why I mention it here.

Typography is a huge subject and an important one for anybody who produces content for consumption either online or off. Font selection is an integral part of typography which is why due diligence needs to be applied to that selection. Google Fonts may be primarily for online work but you can use them in offline content too. Now you know how to install and use them whatever operating system you use.

Got a favorite font? Use something other than Google Fonts? Tell us about it below if you do!

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