TrueType Fonts with XFree86 4.x mini-HOWTO

Bartek Kostrzewa,

1.5, 2004-06-28

This mini-HOWTO describes how to use TrueType (*.ttf) fonts with XFree86 4.x.

1. Introduction

2. Procedure

1. Introduction

1.1 Copyright

Download, copy and redistribute this text freely. If you do any changes, please submit them to me, and I will pass them to the LDP, of course, credit will be given.

Copyright (c) 2001 by Bartek Kostrzewa

1.2 Disclaimer

Use the information in this document at your own risk. I disavow any potential liability for the contents of this document. Use of the concepts, examples, and/or other content of this document is entirely at your own risk.

All copyrights are owned by their owners, unless specifically noted otherwise. Use of a term in this document should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.

Naming of particular products or brands should not be seen as endorsements.

You are strongly recommended to take a backup of your system before major installation and backups at regular intervals.

1.3 News

This document can be found at:

1.4 Credits

I'd like to thank Bear Giles for his Debian TTF howto which brought me on the right path :o).

Of course, credit should also go to the XFree86 crew for the enormous effort of maintaining XFree86, and Joerg Pommnitz for writing ttmkfdir.

Also I'd like to pass a BIG big thank you to the LDP for building and maintaining a network of helping hands which already guided many people through the hard to overcome the learning curve Linux has.

Thanks to Joe Meadows for notifying me that this howto probably described an illegal act in version 0.0.2 and earlier.

1.5 Translations

Apparently some translations of this document have been written but I don't know where to find them since the authors did not contact me, (no wonder, I did not update since 2001). Please do continue to translate.

Any comments or suggestions can be mailed to my mail address:

2. Procedure

Since my last update a lot has happened but the procedure is still the same even for Just adjust the filename if necessary.

Get a set of TrueType fonts (for example from one of the many sites making fonts availiable for download) and do the following as root at the command line:

Now if you have a working installation of Windows on one of your partitions, you must use the fonts directly from there, copying them to a directory of your Linux partition is considered *illegal*. First read up on how to get your windows partition detected and working in Linux (most distributions do that at installation time, and by default), then as root do the following:

This will make all the fonts on your Windows partition work correctly in X.

There you go. You will now have all of your TrueType fonts working. If you want to add fonts, just move/copy those [*.ttf files] into the aforementioned directory, and repeat the process.

Netscape has problems with these fonts, you have to check the "Allow Scaling" setting in the Fonts dialog, don't feel distracted by the fact that it only shows font sizes 0 and 12. Mozilla has no such problems. Opera neither.

The mkfontdir executable should be included with your XFree 4.x distribution.

If you are missing ttmkfdir, you can obtain it here:

The latest version of XFree86 (currently 4.4.0) can be found at:

The latest version of can be found here: