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How To Add Fonts to Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator (Easy Guide)

It’s common for designers and typographers to have Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator in their arsenal. While they might be using other applications, these two seem to be the go-to, especially for beginners. Adobe Photoshop for example, is a wonderful tool for working on typography posters, menus, invites, backgrounds, cards, and more.

Budding users however, may feel daunted when adding custom or new fonts for the first time. Don’t worry though, these tips will teach you how to add fonts to Photoshop and Illustrator.


How To Add Fonts in Photoshop and Illustrator on a Mac

Consider these factors before you begin adding fonts for fewer headaches along the way:

  • DO close all open applications so they don’t interfere during the process.
  • DO know what OS you’re running on (e.g. OS 8, 9, X, or X Classic).
  • DO refer to a documentation, if you plan on installing through a font management utility (FontBase, Typeface, Suitcase Fusion,, etc.).

Those with Mac OS X will be happy to know that it supports Type 1, TrueType (TTF) and OpenType (OTF) fonts. Once you’re ready, follow these steps:

  • Search and download your desired font. You can find them on any free or premium digital resource websites such as Creative Market, Envato Elements, or MyFonts.
  • Locate the file from your downloads folder. Unzip or extract the files if necessary.
  • Install the font. From here, you have three (3) options:
  1. Option 1 – Double-click on the font file to open the Font Book window, and click install. This will make it available across all applications on your device, not only in Photoshop or Illustrator.
  2. Option 2 – Copy or move the font to either Users/Library/Fonts folder (for specific users) or Library/Fonts (for all users). It must be in a loose folder; it can’t be read from a subfolder.
  3. Option 3 – Use a Font Management Utility.
  • Open Photoshop or Illustrator to start using the font. Select the Type tool and scroll down the Character tab to find the font you just installed. Add it to your project.

Easy, wasn’t it? Just remember NOT to move font files into the System location and you’d be all set.


How To Add Fonts in Photoshop and Illustrator for Windows

It’s pretty simple to add fonts for Windows users. Once you’ve found what you’re looking for and have downloaded it, all that’s left is to install it. There are three (3) alternatives:

  • Option 1. Just right-click on the font file (after you have unzipped everything) and select Install. This will make it accessible across all applications on your computer.
  • Option 2. Do it through the Control Panel. Go to Start Menu > Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Fonts. Copy-and-paste new fonts to this location.
  • Option 3. Utilize a Font Management Utility tool.

For users with Windows 98/ME/NT4, you will need Adobe Type Manager® Light (ATM® Light) to install fonts. The fonts must be installed in ATM first, before they can be used on any of your applications. ATM is not required for those with Windows 2000 and XP.

Not seeing your newly installed fonts? Try rebooting your device or restarting the application. If this doesn’t fix the issue, try a different font and see if the problem persists. You can contact the font’s designer for any questions or other hitches that you encounter. For more info, here are Adobe’s installation instructions.


Final Tips

Before getting or purchasing your desired lettering, you should check out its license to ensure proper usage. You can find this information on the website itself, as well as a separate file after your download (usually as a PDF or in notepad). For instance, free licences are often only good for personal use. This means you can’t add them onto client designs or when creating for-profit projects.

Adobe Fonts (formerly Adobe Typekit) offers a nice selection of fonts free for commercial and personal use. This is a great option for designers in a hurry or those who don’t want the hassle of understanding licenses.

Installation is straightforward enough:

  • Ensure that you’re logged in to Photoshop or Creative Cloud;
  • From your dashboard, select Fonts;
  • This should open a new window to Adobe Fonts;
  • Choose the fonts you like;
  • Click the toggle button to activate the fonts.
  • You will see a notification that activation was successful.

Ready to import fonts into Photoshop or Illustrator? There are tons of resources nowadays. Whether you prefer free or premium fonts, the only thing you’d have to worry about is if you have enough space for all of them. Don’t forget these steps so you can download and add fonts to your collection at any time.

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