I have xset +fp the_directory with TTF fonts, I have mkfontdir and mkfontscale the same directory, I have fc-cache -fv and verified the directory is listed and cached and font count correct, but xlsfonts continues to not list the TTF fonts I want added. Fonts I want are included in in the files fonts.dir, fonts.scale and fonts.list. I've verified the fonts I want are in Font Book in User.

I think I'm missing something pretty obvious, but can't seem to find it. How can I get TTF fonts made available for use by X11?

  • XQuartz 1.20.11?? The current release is 2.8.1: xquartz.org
    – lhf
    May 3, 2021 at 23:23
  • Sorry, not XQuartz then - xorg-server, from MacPorts.
    – Larry
    May 3, 2021 at 23:44
  • OK, same question - for either xorg-server or XQuartz - neither show my added TTF fonts in xlsfonts.
    – Larry
    May 3, 2021 at 23:59
  • Looks like no answers so far - I'd be interested to know if anyone's been able to add TTF fonts to either XQuartz or xorg-server in Big Sur successfully. Maybe I'm just doing something wrong.
    – Larry
    May 6, 2021 at 16:43

1 Answer 1


So it turns out that xlsfonts does not list all fonts known, but rather either only the X server's fonts, or the fonts that are dealt with “classically”. fc-list will list the fonts that are dealt with in a more modern fashion (or that are on the X client?).

In the case of xterm, use the -fa flag to use TTF (and other non-bitmapped?) fonts. For example, if xset q shows directory X in the font path, and directory X has a fonts.dir file (made by running, e.g., mkfontdir X) and a fonts.scale file (made by running, e.g., mkfontscale X), and you've run fc-cache -v, you should be able to run (e.g.) fc-list someFontName and see all the styles that font contains, and be able to xterm -fa 'Input Mono:style=Regular', assuming Input Mono is a known font.

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