You can install fonts by copying them them to ~/Library/Fonts but macOS fails to follow them when they are symbolic links. Is there a way to make this work with symlinks?


1 Answer 1


Yes, you can still install fonts by moving or copying them into the user's Library/Fonts folder, without needing to use Font Book.app.

They can even be inside subfolders, if you want to organize them.

Rebooting should not be necessary, though most apps will need to relaunch to update their font menus.

No, symbolic links to other locations won’t work.

macOS supports most modern font formats: ttf, ttc, otf, dfont. Apple described Type 1 PostScript fonts as 'legacy', which should be a warning that support will be removed at some point.

  • Hardlinks obviously will work, but require the font library directory to be in the same partition as the hard-linked files. Wonder whether Finder aliases would work.
    – nohillside
    Sep 5, 2022 at 13:09
  • Are finder aliases different than UNIX symbolic links? I'm basically trying to make sure that the fonts in my dotfiles are reconginsed in both Linux and macOS installations. I'm using GNU stow to create all symlinks and I don't think stow has an option to create hard links.
    – Mili
    Sep 5, 2022 at 13:53
  • @Mili One of the fascinating things on AD (and probably SE in general) is how answers to a broad question can help to shape it better (so maybe another question edit is required). And yes, symlinks are completely different from Finder aliases.
    – nohillside
    Sep 5, 2022 at 14:19
  • @Mili Having said: Personally I think keeping dotfiles working for different environments only works if these environments are similar enough. For cross-plattform situations (like Linux and macOS), a deployment-style approach often works better (where the deployment script takes care of plattform differences like shebangs, font locations etc).
    – nohillside
    Sep 5, 2022 at 14:21
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    @Mili You might be better off using a font manager that enables fonts from any location (presumably these exist for Linux?) and then store the fonts in a central location outside a User folder.
    – benwiggy
    Sep 5, 2022 at 14:33

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