In this guide, we'll be showing you how to install fonts on your Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa system. This is relatively easy to do, whether with a font manager application or installing the fonts manually. Whatever your preference, we've got you covered with both methods in this article.

In this tutorial you will learn:
  • How to acquire new fonts
  • How to install fonts with Font Manager
  • How to install fonts manually in user-space
  • How to install fonts manually system-wide
Installing new fonts on Ubuntu 20.04
Installing new fonts on Ubuntu 20.04
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Installed Ubuntu 20.04 or upgraded Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa
Software Font Manager
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # - requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ - requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Acquiring fonts


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In order to install new fonts on Ubuntu, you'll first need the font files themselves. You can find a lot of fonts online for free. We recommend browsing 1001freefonts.com to search for some fonts that you might like.

For this tutorial, we'll be installing Bitwise.ttf as an example of how to install a TrueType Font on Ubuntu 20.04 Desktop. If you'd like to follow along step by step, you can grab the same font from the aforementioned website.

Here's a quick and easy way you can download the font from your command line. Open a terminal and enter the following commands:

$ wget -O ~/Downloads/bitwise.zip https://www.1001freefonts.com/d/8190/bitwise.zip
$ unzip -p ~/Downloads/bitwise.zip Bitwise.ttf > ~/Downloads/Bitwise.ttf
$ rm ~/Downloads/bitwise.zip

Running those commands will download the bitwise.zip archive to your Downloads directory, and then unzip that archive and leave you with the Bitwise.ttf font file.

If you'd like to verify your download:

$ ls ~/Downloads/
Bitwise.ttf
$ file ~/Downloads/Bitwise.ttf 
/home/user1/Downloads/Bitwise.ttf: TrueType Font data, 10 tables, 1st "OS/2", 18 names, Macintosh, type 1 string, BitwiseRegular

Installing fonts with Font Manager



The first method we'll cover is using an application called Font Manager. This is our recommended approach to installing fonts, but it's not the only option, as we'll see shortly.

  1. Start off by opening a terminal and installing Font Manager with the following command:
    $ sudo apt install font-manager
    
  2. Once Font Manager is finished installing, open the Applications laucher and search for Font Manager, then click it to start the application.

    Open Font Manager from list of applications
    Open Font Manager from list of applications
  3. Inside Font Manager, click on the + sign to add a new font.

    Font Manager on Ubuntu 20.04
    Font Manager on Ubuntu 20.04


  4. Now, you'll need to browse to the font file on your system. If you're following along with us, the Bitwise.ttf file we downloaded is in your Downloads directory. Select your font and click 'Open'.

    Browse for the downloaded font
    Browse for the downloaded font
  5. Your font should now be installed. You can scroll through the list to find it in Font Manager, or search for it by name in the search box.

    Bitwise font is now installed
    Bitwise font is now installed

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  7. You should see your new font available as an option in writing applications, or any program that allows you to choose fonts. Opening LibreOffice and making sure your font is available from the list of choices is a good way to verify that it has been installed properly.

    Verifying the new font in LibreOffice
    Verifying the new font in LibreOffice

Note that when installing fonts with Font Manager, the new fonts are stored in the ~/.local/share/fonts/ directory. This means that the font is only accessible for the user that performed the font installation.

If you want the font(s) to be available for all users, you need to do a system-wide font installation. We show how to do this below.

Manual user-space font installation



For those that prefer to do things by the command line, manually installing fonts for your user is very straightforward. All you need to do is place the font file inside the ~/.fonts directory.

$ mkdir ~/.fonts
$ cp ~/Downloads/Bitwise.ttf ~/.fonts

Your font is now installed and usable. If you have a lot of fonts to install and want to organize them by directory, feel free to make subdirectories inside of the ~/.fonts directory. Ubuntu will scan this directory recursively and make available any font files it finds.

The fonts directory can contain subdirectories
The fonts directory can contain subdirectories

Manual system-wide font installation

If you need a font to be available to all users on your system, you just need to copy the font file into the /usr/local/share/fonts directory.

Just as the case with the user-space installation, feel free to create subdirectories within this path so you can organize your fonts better. Here's how you'd create a new path and install the Bitwise.ttf font file system-wide:

$ sudo mkdir /usr/local/share/fonts/sample
$ sudo cp ~/Downloads/Bitwise.ttf /usr/local/share/fonts/sample/

That's all you need to do. Your font is new accessible by any user on the system.

Conclusion

In this guide, we learned how to install new fonts on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa. We covered the acquiring of new fonts, installing them with a graphical application, and installing them by command line. You should now feel comfortable installing new fonts on your system, either for a particular user or for system-wide usage.

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