Since updating to Mavericks, I've had some issues with the system fonts. Most notably, I seem to be missing some variation of Helvetica. The system seems to replace with a similar font (maybe Lucida Grande?) so it's not much of a nuisance but I want to fix it. Here's Numbers giving an error because of it: Numbers error

Now, Apple has a support page listing all the included fonts. Here's what I have on my system:

mbp:~$ cd /System/Library/Fonts/
mbp:Fonts$ ls
Apple Symbols.ttf                   LastResort.ttf
AppleSDGothicNeo-Bold.otf           LucidaGrande.ttc
AppleSDGothicNeo-Regular.otf        Menlo.ttc
AquaKana.ttc                        Monaco.ttf
Arial Bold.ttf                      STHeiti Light.ttc
Arial Italic.ttf                    Symbol.ttf
Arial Narrow.ttf                    Tahoma Bold.ttf
Arial.ttf                           Tahoma.ttf
ArialHB.ttc                         Thonburi.ttf
Courier New Bold.ttf                Times LT MM
Courier New Italic.ttf              Times New Roman Bold.ttf
Courier New.ttf                     Times New Roman Italic.ttf
Courier.ttc                         Times New Roman.ttf
Geeza Pro.ttf                       Times.ttc
Geneva.ttf                          TimesLTMM
Georgia Bold.ttf                    Trebuchet MS Bold.ttf
Georgia Italic.ttf                  Trebuchet MS Italic.ttf
Georgia.ttf                         Trebuchet MS.ttf
HelveLTMM                           Verdana Bold.ttf
Helvetica LT MM                     Verdana Italic.ttf
Helvetica.ttc                       Verdana.ttf
HelveticaNeue.ttc                   ZapfDingbats.ttf
HelveticaNeueDeskUI.ttc             ヒラギノ角ゴ ProN W3.otf

And for the user installed ones:

mbp:Fonts $ cd /Library/Fonts/
mbp:Fonts $ ls
Al Nile.ttc                         MshtakanBold.ttf
Al Tarikh.ttc                       MshtakanBoldOblique.ttf
AlBayan.ttf                         MshtakanOblique.ttf
AlBayanBold.ttf                     MshtakanRegular.ttf
AmericanTypewriter.ttc              Muna.ttc
Andale Mono.ttf                     Myanmar MN.ttc
Apple Chancery.ttf                  Myanmar Sangam MN.ttf
Apple LiGothic Medium.ttf           NISC18030.ttf
Apple LiSung Light.ttf              Nadeem.ttf
AppleGothic.ttf                     NanumGothic.ttc
AppleMyungjo.ttf                    NanumMyeongjo.ttc
AppleSDGothicNeo-ExtraBold.otf      NanumScript.ttc
AppleSDGothicNeo-Heavy.otf          NewPeninimMT.ttc
AppleSDGothicNeo-Light.otf          Oriya MN.ttc
AppleSDGothicNeo-Medium.otf         Oriya Sangam MN.ttc
AppleSDGothicNeo-SemiBold.otf       Osaka.ttf
AppleSDGothicNeo-Thin.otf           OsakaMono.ttf
AppleSDGothicNeo-UltraLight.otf     PCmyoungjo.ttf
Arial Black.ttf                     PTMono.ttc
Arial Bold Italic.ttf               PTSans.ttc
Arial Bold.ttf                      PTSerif.ttc
Arial Italic.ttf                    PTSerifCaption.ttc
Arial Narrow Bold Italic.ttf        Papyrus.ttc
Arial Narrow Bold.ttf               Pilgiche.ttf
Arial Narrow Italic.ttf             PlantagenetCherokee.ttf
Arial Narrow.ttf                    Raanana.ttc
Arial Rounded Bold.ttf              STIXGeneral.otf
Arial Unicode.ttf                   STIXGeneralBol.otf
Arial.ttf                           STIXGeneralBolIta.otf
ArialHB.ttc                         STIXGeneralItalic.otf
Athelas.ttc                         STIXIntDBol.otf
Ayuthaya.ttf                        STIXIntDReg.otf
Baghdad.ttf                         STIXIntSmBol.otf
Bangla MN.ttc                       STIXIntSmReg.otf
Bangla Sangam MN.ttc                STIXIntUpBol.otf
Baoli.ttc                           STIXIntUpDBol.otf
Baskerville.ttc                     STIXIntUpDReg.otf
Beirut.ttc                          STIXIntUpReg.otf
BiauKai.ttf                         STIXIntUpSmBol.otf
BigCaslon.ttf                       STIXIntUpSmReg.otf
Brush Script.ttf                    STIXNonUni.otf
Chalkboard.ttc                      STIXNonUniBol.otf
ChalkboardSE.ttc                    STIXNonUniBolIta.otf
Chalkduster.ttf                     STIXNonUniIta.otf
CharcoalCY.dfont                    STIXSizFiveSymReg.otf
Charter.ttc                         STIXSizFourSymBol.otf
Cochin.ttc                          STIXSizFourSymReg.otf
Comic Sans MS Bold.ttf              STIXSizOneSymBol.otf
Comic Sans MS.ttf                   STIXSizOneSymReg.otf
Copperplate.ttc                     STIXSizThreeSymBol.otf
Corsiva.ttc                         STIXSizThreeSymReg.otf
Courier New Bold Italic.ttf         STIXSizTwoSymBol.otf
Courier New Bold.ttf                STIXSizTwoSymReg.otf
Courier New Italic.ttf              STIXVar.otf
Courier New.ttf                     STIXVarBol.otf
DIN Alternate Bold.ttf              Sana.ttc
DIN Condensed Bold.ttf              Sathu.ttf
Damascus.ttc                        Savoye LET.ttc
DecoTypeNaskh.ttf                   Seravek.ttc
Devanagari Sangam MN.ttc            Silom.ttf
DevanagariMT.ttf                    Sinhala MN.ttc
DevanagariMTBold.ttf                Sinhala Sangam MN.ttc
Didot.ttc                           Skia.ttf
Diwan Kufi.ttc                      SnellRoundhand.ttc
Diwan Thuluth.ttc                   Songti.ttc
EuphemiaCAS.ttc                     SuperClarendon.ttc
Farah.ttc                           Tahoma Bold.ttf
Farisi.ttc                          Tahoma.ttf
Futura.ttc                          Tamil MN.ttc
GenevaCY.dfont                      Tamil Sangam MN.ttc
Georgia Bold Italic.ttf             Telugu MN.ttc
Georgia Bold.ttf                    Telugu Sangam MN.ttc
Georgia Italic.ttf                  Times New Roman Bold Italic.ttf
Georgia.ttf                         Times New Roman Bold.ttf
GillSans.ttc                        Times New Roman Italic.ttf
Gujarati Sangam MN.ttc              Times New Roman.ttf
GujaratiMT.ttf                      Trebuchet MS Bold Italic.ttf
GujaratiMTBold.ttf                  Trebuchet MS Bold.ttf
Gungseouche.ttf                     Trebuchet MS Italic.ttf
Gurmukhi MN.ttc                     Trebuchet MS.ttf
Gurmukhi Sangam MN.ttc              Verdana Bold Italic.ttf
Gurmukhi.ttf                        Verdana Bold.ttf
Hannotate.ttc                       Verdana Italic.ttf
Hanzipen.ttc                        Verdana.ttf
HeadlineA.ttf                       Waseem.ttc
Hei.ttf                             WawaSC-Regular.otf
HelveticaCY.dfont                   WawaTC-Regular.otf
Herculanum.ttf                      Webdings.ttf
Hiragino Sans GB W3.otf             WeibeiSC-Bold.otf
Hiragino Sans GB W6.otf             WeibeiTC-Bold.otf
Hoefler Text Ornaments.ttf          Wingdings 2.ttf
Hoefler Text.ttc                    Wingdings 3.ttf
Impact.ttf                          Wingdings.ttf
InaiMathi.ttf                       Xingkai.ttc
Iowan Old Style.ttc                 Yu Gothic Bold.otf
Kai.ttf                             Yu Gothic Medium.otf
Kailasa.ttf                         Yu Mincho Demibold.otf
Kaiti.ttc                           Yu Mincho Medium.otf
Kannada MN.ttc                      Yuanti.ttc
Kannada Sangam MN.ttc               YuppySC-Regular.otf
Kefa.ttc                            YuppyTC-Regular.otf
Khmer MN.ttc                        Zapfino.ttf
Khmer Sangam MN.ttf                 ヒラギノ丸ゴ Pro W4.otf
Kokonor.ttf                         ヒラギノ丸ゴ ProN W4.otf
Krungthep.ttf                       ヒラギノ明朝 Pro W3.otf
KufiStandardGK.ttf                  ヒラギノ明朝 Pro W6.otf
Lantinghei.ttc                      ヒラギノ角ゴ Pro W3.otf
Lao MN.ttc                          ヒラギノ角ゴ Pro W6.otf
Lao Sangam MN.ttf                   ヒラギノ角ゴ Std W8.otf
Libian.ttc                          ヒラギノ角ゴ StdN W8.otf
Malayalam MN.ttc                    儷宋 Pro.ttf
Malayalam Sangam MN.ttc             儷黑 Pro.ttf
Marion.ttc                          华文仿宋.ttf
Microsoft Sans Serif.ttf            华文细黑.ttf
Mishafi.ttc                         华文黑体.ttf

As can be seen, I have the correct versions of Helvetica on both those folders. What should I do to fix this issue?

  • Is Helvetica listed in Font Book ? Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 22:14

2 Answers 2


Actually you don't have the correct version of Helvetica in the right spot.

You are missing the files Helvetica.dfont and HelveticaNeue.dfont which are the correct files for the missing fonts. They should be in /System/Library/Fonts. Have a good look at the support page you point to and you will see those two files listed against the fonts.

You do have two files, Helvetica.ttc and HelveticaNeue.ttc, which are not included in a standard Mavericks install but they are not where the System is expecting to find the two fonts.

As an experiment move these two files into ~/Library/Fonts and see what happens (I'd be interested to know the result).

In the long term grab a copy of the two missing files from another Mac running 10.8 or 10.9 and put them into /System/Library/Fonts. You will have to do this by hand since Font Book will only install fonts in either /Library/Fonts or ~/Library/Fonts.


There are two possibilities. The font could be "disabled" or there could be a problem with the font files.

Run Font Book and have a look to see if the font is marked as Off in either your computer or user list.

Then highlight the font in the font list and select File > Validate Font and the font will be checked. This is quite a swift process so I usually check them all. A dialog will open that lists all the fonts and shows you the ones that may have a problem. The most common (and easily ignored) warning is that you have a duplicate font but if you have a duplicate of one you are having a problem with I'd remove the 'User' version.

If that doesn't work then you might try File > Restore Standard Fonts... which moves all the non-standard fonts out of the way into a folder called Fonts (Removed) next to the Fonts folder.

  • 1
    If the fonts were merely disabled, they would still appear in /Library/Fonts. As you can see from the output of ls, they are in fact, missing from the system.
    – user10355
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 1:06
  • I thought I saw them in the list he gave? A more careful look shows you are right. Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 1:16

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