Font types supported in OS X

FontBookIconXWhile most modern fonts should be available in a format supported in OS X, you might have a collection or two that may be older types which you might not be sure work on your Mac. If so, then while you can simply try installing them to see if they will work, you might first check to ensure they are fully supported.

The types of fonts Apple fully supports in OS X are the following:

  • PostScript Type 1

    These include Windows and Linux Type 1 fonts, with the extensions .pfa, .pfb, .pfm, and .afm. In addition, Apple supports Adobe Multiple Master fonts.

  • TrueType

    TrueType fonts (.ttf), collections (.ttc), and suitcases (no extension), are all supported, in addition, Apple’s “.dfont” Mac-specific wrapper for TrueType that places the font’s resource map into the file’s data fork is supported.

  • OpenType

    This standard, built off of TrueType, is fully supported in OS X and may end in the extension .otf, and possibly .ttf or .ttc.

Unfortunately, without third-party support, you cannot use other font formats either in their full capacity, or at all. While older bitmapped fonts were popular in the classic Mac OS, they cannot be used in OS X, and neither can a number of alternative postscript fonts, such as Type 2, 3, 4, etc. For the most part, available fonts will be in a supported format in OS X, and can be transferred cross-platform between popular operating systems; however, you cannot install or make proper use of a font, then double-check its type to ensure it is not one of those mentioned above.