Where to Download Free Fonts

Category: Webmaster

Search for free fonts and Google will turn up over 14 million hits. Many of these free font sites are simply duplicates of each other, and some contain malware or pirated material. But after scouring the web and reviewing the recommendations of several typography-related sites, I narrowed the field to a handful of useful sites. Here are some of the best places to look for free fonts, without worrying about viruses or copyright violations...

The Best Free Font Sites

Graphics designers, webmasters, and those who create newsletters, brochures, posters and presentations, are constantly on the lookout for new fonts. There are literally hundreds of thousands of different fonts available, even if you can't always tell the difference between two of them very easily. Here are five places where you can find quality free fonts that are also free of malware and potential copyright issues.

Start with Google Web Fonts. You can browse or search hundreds of free, open-source fonts optimized for the Web. When you find a potential candidate, add it to your Collection. Compare and review the fonts in your Collection to see what they will look like when applied to text that you create. Then let Google Web Fonts create the code that you embed in your Web pages to display the selected fonts.
Download Free Fonts

"Hundreds" of fonts doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the font population. Popular free fonts site Dafont.com boasts over 14,000 free fonts and counting. Like Google Web Fonts, you can preview and experiment with selected fonts before downloading them. Finding the right font in such a huge collection can be daunting, but Dafont is well organized to help guide yours search. Dafont's library is a mixture of open source, shareware, and public domain fonts, so be sure to review any readme files or license terms included with your downloads.

Font Squirrel screens its font uploads to ensure that they're all free for commercial use as well as personal use. If you want only totally free fonts that look good, this is a good source.

Lost Type has only a few different fonts available, but they're carefully selected for quality, style, and general applicability. The site does ask users to pay something to support the authors who create the fonts. You can enter a "donation" of zero to download a font for free. But if you can afford to toss a few dollars in the tip jar, that will help to keep Lost Type and other free sites viable.

MyFonts claims to be "the world's largest collection of fonts," but they're not all freebies. The Myfonts library includes both free and licensed fonts. However, you can set a filter to display only free fonts while browsing the site.

Design Your Own Font?

FontStruct is the place to go when you can't find a font you like elsewhere. Just build your own font using the online font editor. And you don't have to be a graphic artist to design your own font here. FontStruct helps you create fonts based on a menu of pre-defined geometrical shapes, which you can arrange on a grid in the font editor. When you're done, FontStruct generates a TrueType font, which can be used on any Windows or Mac computer. You can also view fonts that others have created to get inspiration. If you upload your new font to the site, other font contributors can comment on your creation, and offer suggestions for improvement.

It is unlikely that you will catch a malware infection from a font file, if you have kept your operating system up to date. Back in 2009, a security hole in Windows was discovered that might have allowed hackers to seize control of a PC through malware hidden in embedded fonts. But a patch for that vulnerability was released long ago. However, you should be wary of ANY download, especially when it comes to free stuff. Downloading from reputable sites and using anti-virus protection should protect you from rogue downloads that contain malware. See my list of Free Anti-Virus Programs if you need to beef up your Internet security.

Some free fonts sites may solicit donations or require subscription fees to download large numbers of fonts. Be cautious about giving any payment details to such sites. If the site accepts donations via PayPal, that's a safe way to show your support. Read any subscription agreement carefully to make sure you are not authorizing recurrent charges by handing over your credit card data.

What's your favorite source of free fonts? Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "Where to Download Free Fonts"

Posted by:

margaret gross
30 Jan 2012

Can these fonts be used in email, e.g. gmail, yahoo mail - as well as imported into word processing software e.g. MS Word
thanks.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Any Windows or Mac program with a standard font dialog will be able to use them. MS Word, yes. Gmail, no, unless you use this trick: http://www.gtricks.com/gmail-tricks/how-to-change-default-fonts-stylish-text-mails/


Posted by:

Warren
30 Jan 2012

Musicians may be interested in free fonts from Scriptorium.


Posted by:

Dr. Bob
30 Jan 2012

If you get hooked on downloading free (or paid for) fonts, you're going to want to install a font viewing utility onto your computer so you can conveniently and quickly see what each of the fonts looks like. There are many such utilities out there. A free one that I use is named FontList and you can find it at:

http://www.bitstorm.org/fontlist/

It puts out a list of the installed fonts in your Windows font folder into an HTML file and provides a sample text view of each of them using the font itself. It's very limited in what it does, but what it does do it does very nicely.


Posted by:

Harold
31 Jan 2012

This site (http://www.yourfonts.com/) allows you to create a font from your own handwriting ... or in my case, printing. It works surprisingly well depending on how carefully you complete the template.


Posted by:

George
31 Jan 2012

MyScriptFont.com lets you create your own handwritten font. The results look like something you printed yourself. Easy to do.


Posted by:

Ari
31 Jan 2012

I design therefore need fonts but avoid free fonts due to copyright problem. We can use common fonts on daily basis without problem such as, Arial, Comic Sans Ms, Courier New, Georgia, Lucida Console,Times New Roman, Verdana, MS Sans Serif. However, it is also important if we want others to read text composed with beautiful fonts the receiver of the text should have the same font installed on computer. But we can use font of our choices in designing.

Before we buy we must also know about True type and Open type fonts. True types are common on computers.

Once I used online font generation service yourfonts.com which was very interesting and great. I have recently purchased 10,000 fonts,from ultimatefontdownload.com. I like Dafont.com for general fonts and for designing graphicxtras.com


Posted by:

Steve
01 Feb 2012

Years back I had a font called Americo and used it in PageMaker. Can't find it anywhere and do not have a copy of it. Anyone recall or can tell me where to find it?


Posted by:

Sue
17 Mar 2012

Look here for the Americo Font

http://www.eaglefonts.com/americo-ttf-159477.htm


Posted by:

Mark
07 Feb 2013

what about good site for downloading barcodes?


Posted by:

marsc
21 May 2013

Thanks for adding a date to your document/article.


Posted by:

marsc
21 May 2013

Online font resources? besides the infamous data siphon oogle? Presently, I'm using dynamic/LOCAL on the server with font@ in css method now. Amazingly, everyone/techies that I talk to keep repeating over and over and over (like a recorder) how the user's system pulls the fonts from their system, well yeah I think I ran across that in 92 and that's not even close to what I'm talking about.

A forwarding or thanks in advance and your time and consideration is appreciated.


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