Complete Guide to Pre-Installed Fonts in Linux, Mac, and Windows

Web fonts are gaining in popularity now, but they can still be a bit of a challenge to use. Copyright issues often require the use of a third-party font service, which can be risky and expensive.The good news is that all major operating systems come with a variety of fonts that you can use to create your font stacks. This article lists fonts installed with major operating systems and software, shows how those fonts look on that platform, and attempts to suggest fonts with similar appearance and metrics.

This is an updated version of the article originally published in November, 2007.

Differences from the previous version

This version makes several changes and updates to the original version, published in November, 2007:

  1. Updated font lists to include different versions of the major operating systems in separate columns.
  2. Added new OS versions released since 2007 (Windows 7, OSX 10.5-10.7, Ubuntu releases).
  3. Added mscorefonts for Linux in a separate column (this package is not installed by default, but is quite common).
  4. Added iPhone and iPad fonts.
  5. Added fonts installed with Adobe Creative Suite 5 (and various other Adobe products).
  6. Removed section on Foreign Language fonts (see explanation below).
  7. Updated similar font matchings.

About these tables

  • Fonts listed in the same row are near equivalents of each other, with the exception of the last row in each table which is used for other/non matching fonts. The "matching" fonts may not match exactly but have similar character shapes and metrics.
  • Ubuntu is used as a sample Gnu/Linux operating system. Other distributions may have different fonts installed. If you can provide a list of pre-installed fonts on other distros please send it to me and I will incorporate it into this article.
  • mscorefonts is an add-on for Linux. It installs the core web fonts from Microsoft.
  • All font samples were taken from a sample page at 16px, with the exception of Office 2008/Mac which I did not have available. Adobe CS5 font screenshots were taken on Windows.
  • To make things more complicated, different Adobe CS5 programs install different sets of fonts. The Standard Install Set 1 and Standard Install Set 2 are listed in this article (minus the foreign language fonts).

View the tables

View the tables

Foreign Language Fonts

I have removed the lists of foreign language fonts (non-latin) from this version of the article. The reason for this is because there are a lot of foreign language fonts included with each operating system, and it's a lot of work to figure out which language they are for and when they are installed. There also seems to be more variations between versions of each OS.

Many of these fonts do include Latin character sets and could be used to render text in English and other Latin-based languages and appear to be standard sans-serif typefaces when used to render Latin characters. However, since they are intended to be used for non-Latin languages, I am classifying them as "foreign language" fonts. If you have a font on your operating system that is not included in this article, it's probably a foreign language font. Or I made a mistake, and you can let me know.

Discussion

To discuss, ask questions or comment on this article please see the Webmaster Forums discussion about this article.

References:

How-to's

  • Better CSS Font Stacks - explains how to create a font stack and recommends some attractive stacks for paragraphs and headings.
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About the Author

Megan is co-founder and editor of A Padded Cell and administrator at The Webmaster Forums. She has been designing websites since 1997, with expertise in design, information architecture, usability, HTML/CSS, Drupal theming, and more. She is available for short-term or ongoing freelance work in any of those areas. Read her web design blog at MeganMcDermott.com or check out her portfolio.