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I'm bouncing on a question posted here a while ago: How to sync fonts across Macbooks?

The question is about how to store all fonts on a cloud folder (i.e. Dropbox), and load these fonts on other Macs, using this cloud folder as a "font repository".

User ProGrammer had posted a great answer based on the following this blog post.

I did this on my source computer and successfully moved my fonts to dropbox. I then plugged a map, and folloed these commands:

DESTINATION MAC (Any Mac you want to copy your Fonts folder to. NOTE: This will DELETE your user Fonts folder.)

  1. Launch Terminal in Applications/Utilities/
  2. Run cd ~/Library to open your user Library.
  3. Run sudo rm -r Fonts to delete your user fonts folder.
  4. Enter your password when prompted.
  5. Run ln -s ~/Dropbox/Fonts to create a symbolic link in your User Library.

Point 5 is what I suspect tells the mac that my fonts are not in the Library/Fonts folder, but in the Dropbox/Fonts folder; here's what happens:

  • On my source Macbook, when i install a font, it properly goes to the Font Book, and the font file goes Dropbox/Fonts folder
  • On my iMac though, when i install a font, absolutely nothing happens. Nothing is added to either the font folder nor Font Book.

  • Edit When i drop a font on the Dropbox/Fonts folder, it becomes accessible to all machines through Apps such as Illustrator, etc...

I can't seem to figure out why...!

EDIT: (Reply to comments from @nohillside & @benwiggy)

One of the iMacs gives me this, after i run the ls -l ~/Library/Fontscommand (note: Dropbox on this one is installed on an external drive - other iMac is local and has same issues)

lyly@Ly-iMac ~ % ls -l ~/Library/Fonts lrwxr-xr-x 1 lypnguyen staff 65 Mar 11 15:13 /Users/lyly/Library/Fonts -> /Volumes/3TB/Dropbox (GCPH)/Sales & Marketing/Art Direction/Fonts

Also, both iMacs were having a sort of random behavior on building font lists, with irregular installed font numbers, disappearing fonts, etc...

  • Ideally, you want to use a Font Server app. Font managers like Suitcase and FontExplorerX both have server apps. – benwiggy Mar 11 at 12:19
  • thanks @benwiggy, trying to keep it free and hand made though. It works as is, see edit – Thai Mar 12 at 3:38
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    Can you run ls -l ~/Library/Fonts on the destination Mac and add the result to the question (copy/paste from Terminal as text)? – nohillside Mar 12 at 4:49
  • Your ln command has no target file, which ought to be ~/Library/Fonts. You want to replace your user Fonts folder with a link of the same name, to the Dropbox fonts folder. – benwiggy Mar 12 at 9:38
  • @benwiggy I stumbled across that as well, but according to man ls the target is optional. – nohillside Mar 16 at 5:50
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Implemented a shared font resource may not be as easy as just syncing the entire font folder.

The user font folder may contain font management files, such as encodings.dir, fonts.alias, fonts.list, fonts.dir, fonts.scale.

One of these files, fonts.list, contain full pathnames to the fonts, so if the user names on the shared machines are not the same, this will confuse the font manager.

Also, like many parts of macOS, font resources are cached, so violent changes to the Font folder may require emptying the font cache.

You may be better off just copying the fonts library to each computer and then managing them locally with FontBook, or with a third-party font management app.

You should also check the EULA of the fonts you're using to confirm that you are operating within its terms.

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