What is the font that's used in Mac OS X's graphical user interface (GUI), in the menus, dialog boxes, etc.? Is it different from what was used in the classic Mac OS (i.e. OS 9 or older)? If so, what are the fonts back then? I like the font but never knew what it was. Thanks.

5 Answers 5


The font you see in most places on Mac OS X is Lucida Grande, it is the system font in OS X 10.1 Puma to 10.9 Mavericks. Mac OS 1-7 used Chicago, then Mac OS 8 and 9 used Charcoal.

The most recent additions are Helvetica Neue (OS X 10.10 Yosemite) and San Francisco (OS X 10.11 El Capitan through Mojave)

  • How can I change the system font on Sierra back to Lucida Grande. The current font on Sierra is hard to read. I'd like to change it back.
    – Cameron
    Commented May 13, 2017 at 21:42

The font used from Mac OS X is "Lucida Grande"; in Mac OS 8 and 9, the font used for menus and window title was "Charcoal," but it could be changed from the preference panel.

From System 1 up to 7.6 the default GUI font was Chicago.


Since the release of OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) in 2014 the Mac system typeface family is San Francisco.

Type Detail's page on San Francisco

San Francisco is also used in iOS, WatchOS, and tvOS.


Apple is ditching Lucida Grande with its next iteration of OS X, which will now use Helvetica Neue as the default system font on OS X Yosemite.

OS X Yosemite Menubar enter image description here

  • Which version of Neue is used in the GUI? I can't seem to find the right one
    – Nadav S.
    Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 16:47

Sorry but In my computer I would say that it is Apple Symbols. At least that is what the microsoft office says and it looks quite similar...

  • 3
    Microsoft Office is seeing a typeface that is called Apple Symbols, but all of the symbols themselves have character codes outside the range of what is used to display the name of the font--it's just there for completeness. If you found Lucida Grande it would look identical.
    – NReilingh
    Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 5:05
  • 2
    What do you mean by "what Microsoft Office says?".
    – Matteo
    Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 5:46

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