What are fonts and how to install them on PCs and Macs

Better known as the fonts used in Word and graphics programs, they can be installed on Windows or Mac PCs in a simple way

Although we use them daily, we know very little about them and the history - more than a hundred years old - that accompanies them. Although we consider them a purely modern invention, fonts have their roots in the second half of the 15th century, when the German Johann Gutenberg invented movable type printing.

From that moment on, font families evolve and change shape and size over and over again, until they "dematerialize" and become the fonts that we know (or should know) and use every day. Steve Jobs plays a fundamental role in this process: with the presentation of the first Macintosh in 1984, users finally have the possibility to control and choose on the screen what would have been the graphic and typographic aspect of the page.

What are fonts

Specifically, when we talk about fonts we refer to a family of alphanumeric characters (all the letters of the alphabet, numbers and the main punctuation marks) that can be displayed on the screen or printed and are characterized by stylistic and compositional consistency. The various fonts are distinguished mainly between serif (with serifs, a graphic element typical of fonts such as Times New Roman) and sans serif (without serifs, such as Arial).

Although the operating system of the computer provides dozens and dozens of fonts for the user to use, it is always possible to download free fonts (in .ttf; .otf and .fon formats) and install them on the computer system.

How to install fonts in Windows

There are several ways to add fonts to Windows. The simplest one is to right-click on the font you want to install and, in the pop-up menu, click on "Install": within a few moments you'll already be able to use it for your documents or flyers. Alternatively, to install Windows 10 fonts (this process also works with previous versions of the Microsoft operating system) you can open "My Computer", access the hard drive on which the operating system is installed, double-click on the "Windows" folder and then on Fonts: drag the font files into the folder and, once the transfer is complete, you'll be able to start using them. The same folder can be reached by opening the "Control Panel", choosing the "Appearance and Customization" section and then "Fonts".

How to install fonts on the Mac

Similar discussion if you use an Apple computer: to add fonts on the Mac you can follow two different paths depending on the number of fonts to be installed. After downloading the font, access the preview (by double-clicking on the file) and click on the "Install" button in the lower right corner of the window. Otherwise, you can launch the "Font Book" (a program in the "Applications" folder of your Mac) and drag the font files to be installed on your Mac directly into the window: just wait for the file transfer time and you're done.