Adding fonts

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


Above mentioned paths can be customized 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:

To view list of monospaced clint-side fonts (available from Xft, so it is possible to apply font hinting and antialiasing):

  $ fc-list :spacing=mono

To view list of server-side (available directly from X server, so font hinting and antialiasing are not available) monospaced fonts:

  $ xlsfonts -fn '*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-m*'
  $ xlsfonts -fn '*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-c*'

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

  $ dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig-config
  $ dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig


See all the fonts included in Debian at (updated weekly), or For usage of Debian fonts on Windows or Mac OS X see Various libre fonts are missing from Debian and need to be packaged.

email lists: CJKUnifonts-devel CJKUnifonts-HakkaIM CJKUnifonts-MinnanIM freefont-devel pkg-fonts-bugs pkg-fonts-commits pkg-fonts-devel

Commonly Used Fonts

The fonts-liberation (ttf-liberation in squeeze) package supplies fonts with the same metrics as Times, Arial and Courier. These fonts are named Liberation and are present in most cases. If you require the non-free original Microsoft fonts the ttf-mscorefonts-installer package (in contrib) can be used to obtain them.

East Asian fonts: ttf-arphic-uming ttf-wqy-zenhei ttf-sazanami-mincho ttf-sazanami-gothic ttf-unfonts-core

(from Wikipedia: Help:Multilingual support (East Asian))

Debian Fonts Task Force



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

Source Font Formats

sfd (fontforge's ascii file format for vector fonts) UFO (Unified Font Object)

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):

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


Font Formats

ttf, otf, bdf, pfb, fnt, woff

Font Tools

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

Subpixel-hinting and Font-smoothing

The default fonts in Debian derived distributions like Ubuntu and Linux Mint have better looking fonts when compared to default Debian squeeze since the ubuntu-based distros have heavily patched cairo or freetype2 whereas Vanilla Debian doesn't do patching as much as they do. A lot of things about the cairo package has changed recently in wheezy and unstable which have brought almost the same font setup to Debian (But not Squeeze or old) but you have to set it up to your liking. You can create a .fonts.conf file to any user account home folder to set this up. Patching and rebuilding of Cairo packages are not needed any more. An example of .fonts.conf which you can add to your user account home folder without altering anything else:

<?xml version='1.0'?>
<!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM 'fonts.dtd'>
 <match target="font">
  <edit mode="assign" name="rgba">
 <match target="font">
  <edit mode="assign" name="hinting">
 <match target="font">
  <edit mode="assign" name="hintstyle">
 <match target="font">
  <edit mode="assign" name="antialias">
  <match target="font">
    <edit mode="assign" name="lcdfilter">

Infinality for Debian

Infinality font settings and Infinality-freetype are not available for Debian in official repositories and will only be available once Infinality is pushed upstream. There are third party git repos you can use to get the packages working for you. Currently a working third party git repo created by chenxiaolong is available for all Debian architectures. Infinality font config Debian build instructions with prebuilt binaries for amd64 are available for easy installation in a post in the Debian forums created by a user.

Further Resources


Old, retained for historical interest and reference: