Adding fonts

Fonts can be added to Debian by installing the appropriate package; in Squeeze, fonts are specified in the “Fonts” section.


To add fonts on an ad hoc basis, you may install them in GNOME by opening a Nautilus window to fonts:// and dragging and dropping.

In more detail, place a font file in the directory /usr/local/share/fonts (for all users) or ~/.fonts (for a specific user); both TTF and TTC (TrueType Collection) files should work. These paths are specified in the fontconfig configuration file at /etc/fonts/fonts.conf – you can also include subdirectories or links, which is useful if you have a directory of fonts on a separate hard drive (or partition or other location).

You may check that the fonts are present by checking for them in an application (such as a word processor) or by using the command fc-list – in future the (GNOME) font-manager may provide a good list. If fonts do not show up, try fc-cache -fv to force a rebuild of the font list.


fontconfig is the underlying configuration tool; you may find the following programs useful:

You may find the following useful to change default font rendering:


See all the TrueType (TTF) fonts included in Debian at (updated weekly) or

See all the TrueType (TTF) and ?OpenType (OTF) fonts included in Debian for usage on Windows or Mac OS X at

email lists: CJKUnifonts-devel CJKUnifonts-HakkaIM CJKUnifonts-MinnanIM Freefont-devel Pkg-fonts-bugs Pkg-fonts-commits Pkg-fonts-devel

Debian Fonts Task Force



The pkg-fonts team will use these tags for usertags (user:



To:      Debian Bug Tracking System <>
Subject: <package>: contains non-free font

Severity: serious
Usertags: non-free

Your package contains a non-free font:

<filename in Debian here>
<url to the pkg-fonts review page here>

This looks to be from here:

<upstream URLs here>

From the zip file:

<upstream licence here>

This licence does not clearly allow all the DFSG-required freedoms:

Please contact the font author and ask them to licence the font
under a DFSG-compliant font licence such as the OFL:

If they are not willing to do so or cannot be contacted, please remove
the font from the binary package and the source package and depend on
another font package or move the package to non-free.

Please contact your upstream and ask them to use fontconfig or similar
to get fonts for use by the software instead of using a specific font.

This message is brought to you by the Debian Fonts Task Force:

(ToDo: Template for free fonts)

Source Font Formats

sfd (fontforge's ascii file format for vector fonts)

Generating Fonts from Source

The fontforge is an editor for outline and bitmap fonts that generates all kinds of fonts. It is also scriptable and has an addon tool xgridfit for hinting. The following fonts are built from sfd (found using apt-cache rdepends fontforge):

- ttf-junicode

- beteckna

- essays1743

- ttf-atarismall

- ttf-breip

I created some script to create bold, italic, and condensed typefaces out of sfd fonts:


Font Formats

ttf, otf, bdf, pfb, fnt

Font Tools

texlive-font-utils, fttools, ttf2tex, freetype1-tools, ttf2pt1, otf2bdf



Fonts and Debian: existing and missing

Font related pages:

Further Resources


Old, retained for historical interest and reference: