Teaching and Learning with Technology

Computing With Accents and Foreign Scripts

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Install Macintosh Fonts for
Macintosh OS X

View Macintosh System 9 Instructions

Page Content

  1. Classification of Fonts
  2. Some Font Links
  3. Downloading and Installation
  4. Using Unicode or Encoded Fonts
  5. Using Print Fonts

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Classification of Fonts

In terms of an operating system, a font can come in several varieties:


  1. Unicode - Complies with Unicode encoding and ideal for Web viewing. If you need to type with this font, you would have to install a separate keyboard utility.
  2. Encoded - Complies with a specific encoding scheme and is also designed for Web viewing. A keyboard utility would also be needed for typing.
  3. Print Font - Encoded as ASCII/Latin 1, but with special characters replacing English letters. The Symbol Greek letter font is a print font. No special keyboard utilities are needed, but they should only be used in Word, P D F or any document meant to be printed.

Note: For some undersupported languages, you may need to install both a Unicode font and a Print font.

Print Quality

  1. TrueType (.ttf) - Most freeware and share fonts are TrueType. These fonts are designed to be printable at any font size.
  2. OpenType (.otf) - A new standard from Adobe which supports Unicode and the high-quality typographical capabilities of Postscript. Open Type is preferred for scripts in which letter forms change depending on its position within a word. However, only TrueType fonts may be available for some scripts, and these fonts are often sufficient for most applications.
  3. Postscript - Higher quality fonts designed for professional desktop publishing. These are usually available only from commercial foundries like Adobe. TrueType fonts are sufficient for most applications.
    Note: Newer OpenType fonts can substitute for Postscript fonts.
  4. Bitmapped - Older fonts designed for monitors. They are usually available in only a fewe fixed font sizes. Some older freeware fonts are bitmapped. They are fonts suitable for viewing Web sites, but may not work well for print. These should be avoided in most cases.

Licensing Terms

To determine the license for a font, you should read the Web page or the "Read Me" file.

  1. Freeware - Fonts which can be used for free. Some licenses restrict free usage to educational or personal use only. Other licenses allow you to distribute font packages to students, but not to sell it for a profit.
  2. Shareware - Low-cost fonts available on the Web. Some allow you to download it for free, but you are obligated to pay a fee if you decide to use it permanently.
  3. Commercial - You must pay a license before you can download the font.

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Some Font Links

The following fonts are available to support additional characters not available in the default system fonts. All fonts are free for commercial use and can be installed on both Windows and Mac OS X except where noted. System 9 does not fully support Unicode fonts.

These sites list sources for different fonts by script. A Google search is also recommended for specific scripts.

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Downloading and Installation

Download and UnStuff

  1. Quit all applications except for your Web browser before downloading a Web file.
  2. Most Web sites package the font in a single .zip or SuffitIt (.sit) file for downloading. Click on the "Download" or the compressed file link to download the file onto your machine.
  3. In the fonts folder, read the "ReadMe" file for any licensing or technical information.

Windows Font Files

The Windows .ttf or the Adobe .otf font file format can be installed in directly into OS X without any modifications. However, some features of South Asian .otf fonts may not be usable on the Macintosh platform.

Install via Font Book

Font Book is a free application provided by Apple on OSX systems. This package allows users to install and manage fonts and will validate any fonts before installing them.

Font Book icon

  1. Open the Applications folder, then open the Font App application.
  2. In the File menu, select Add Fonts.
  3. Browse to the approproiate font file. Click Open to add file.
  4. To test a font, shut down and re-open any word processor or text editor. Or shut down and re-open a Web browser and view a test page for your script.

Manual Install

There are several locations font files can be placed in depending on who needs access to them. Just drag the file into any of the three locations listed below. All navigation instructions begin from the hard disk icon, and colons represent a subfolder.

To test a font, shut down and re-open any word processor or text editor. Or shut down and re-open a Web browser and view a test page for your script.

Comparison of Font File Locations
Usage Folder Location
Any User If you want fonts installed for all users, then place font files in the System (X): Library: Fonts folder.
Note: This requires the user to have Admin level access.
Your Account only If you want fonts installed for just yourself, then place font files in the Users: Home Icon (your account): Library: Fonts folder. This is also known as the ~/Library folder.
Note: OS X Lion and later users should see information below about accessing this folder.
Sys 9 Font Files
If your Mac still includes Mac Classic, then some font files are in the System Folder (9): Fonts folder.
Older fonts may need to be installed in the System 9 Fonts folder in order to be recognized by some applications.

Access User's Library Folder in OS X 10.7 (Lion)

The users Library folder (aka ~/Library) is now invisible by default. However, it can be accessed and opened temporarily with the following options. For a list of methods of permanently un-hiding the Library folder, see this MacWorld article.

A. Go To Option

  1. In the Finder, move to the Go menu and select the Go to Folder option (or click Shift+Command+G).
  2. In the new window, enter "~/Library/". The Library window opens in the finder.

B. Option-Click in Go Menu

Hold down the Option key, then click Go in the Finder. The Library option is now visible.

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Using a Unicode or Encoded Font

For Web Viewing

Go to a Web site which uses your script and is encoded as Unicode and make sure the script is visible. If necessary, adjust your browser settings so that the right script is matched with the right font.

Instructions for adjusting browsers

Unicode Test Pages

The following Web sites show Unicode with a number of different scripts. Some pages may take time time to download and process.

Results will vary. Some scripts such as Greek and Cyrillic are well supported, others such as Armenian and phonetic symbols have lesser support, and some such as Runic and Cherokee have little to no support.

For Printing

To type an entire text, you will need to either:

  1. install a print font
  2. use the TextEdit utility which supports Unicode fonts (a third-party keyboard utility may be needed).
  3. purchase a text editor designed for that script

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Using a Print Font

Once the font is installed, it can be used with Word, WordPerfect, PowerPoint, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign or any product where content is designed for print.

If the content needs to be placed on the Web and you only have print font available, try converting the file to P D F.

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Last Modified: Tuesday, 28-Mar-2017 15:23:57 EDT