How to add fonts in Photoshop

How to add fonts in Photoshop: Font list in Photoshop
(Image credit: Adobe)

Knowing how to add fonts in Photoshop is pretty crucial for many designers. Photoshop remains the industry standard software for raster graphics editing, and while it comes with a lot of fonts already included, at some point you're going to want to add more or add your own fonts for projects that require the addition of text. 

Fortunately, it's very easy to learn how to add fonts to Photoshop in just a few simple steps. This means you can download all kinds of fonts online, including the best free fonts, brush fonts and typewriter fonts, and add them to your own collection.

Below we'll explain how to add fonts in Photoshop and activate them after downloading them from an online library – and we'll also consider the licensing issues that may come with that. If you don't yet have the software, you'll need to download Photoshop to get started (check out our Creative Cloud discount page to make sure you get the best pricing, or see the links below). Remember that you automatically get access to a huge library of fonts with Adobe Fonts when you subscribe to a Creative Cloud package.

How to add fonts in Photoshop on a Mac

We'll start by looking at how to add fonts in Photoshop on a Mac, but you can skip to how to add fonts in Windows or how to add fonts using Adobe Fonts.

01. Browse and download font

(Image: © DaFont)

Browse your chosen online library to source a font that suits your project. Most of the more established sites will offer filtering options, allowing you to narrow your search down by parameters, such as type of font. When you find a font you like, click the download button. Make sure you quit any active applications at this point.

02. Locate the font file

(Image: © Apple)

The next step to add fonts in Photoshop is to locate the font file in your Downloads folder. If the folder is zipped then double-click on it to access the contents. If you downloaded multiple fonts, they will each have their own separate folder. Two of the most common font file extensions to watch out for are OTF and TTF (see section below for more info on that, or see our guide to common image file formats).

03. Install the font

(Image: © Apple)

To install your font in Photoshop, you have three options:

Option 01: Double-click on the font file to open the Font Box application, where you can simply click a button to install the font, making it available across all applications on your computer, not just Photoshop.

Option 02: Manually copy/move the font files from the Downloads folder into either the Users/Library/Fonts folder (to make available for specified, individual users) or Library/Fonts (to make available for all users).

Option 03: To use a Font Management Utility, refer to relevant documentation for instructions on adding and activating fonts.

04. Select the font in Photoshop

Open Photoshop, scroll down the Character tab and you should now find your desired font in the list. Select the font, and use the Type tool to add to your project. To apply artistic effects to your text you may need to rasterise it first, which turns the text into a bitmap pixel-based image. Once you do this you will no longer be able to edit the text.

How to add fonts in Photoshop on Windows

See the explanation below to learn how to add fonts to Photoshop in Windows or scroll down further for details on how to use Adobe Fonts and where to find fonts.

01. Browse and download the font

(Image: © Font Squirrel)

There are plenty of online libraries that give you a wide choice of fonts to choose from. Utilise their filtering options to focus in on the styles you want. You can also download fonts from the Microsoft Store. Click on the download button and close any active apps.

02. Locate the font file on your computer

(Image: © Windows)

Open the Downloads folder and scroll down to the recently added font file. If the folder is zipped then right-click and select Extract All on it to access the contents. Fonts are downloaded on an individual basis, so there will be multiple folders if you downloaded multiple fonts. OTF and TTF are the two most common font file extensions.

03. Install the font

(Image: © Windows)

There are three options for installing your font in Photoshop on Windows.

Option 01: Right-click on the font file and click install, making your font available across all applications on the computer, not just Photoshop.

Option 02: Click on the Start Menu > Control Panel > Appearance and Personalisation > Fonts. You can simply copy and paste new font files into this list of activated fonts.

Option 03: To use a Font Management Utility, refer to that documentation for instructions on adding and activating fonts.

04. Select the font in Photoshop

Your chosen font should now be available on your computer, so open Photoshop and select it in the Character tab. If you wish to add any of Photoshop’s artistic effects you may need to rasterise the text, making it an editable bitmap pixel-based image. Make sure you’re happy with your text first, since you cannot edit it after this process.

How to add fonts in Photoshop on iPad

Adding fonts in Photoshop on an iPad requires an extra step because they need to be installed via an iOS configuration profile. It's possible to create one on a Mac, but there are apps in the App Store that will allow you to download fonts to the iPad and package it into a configuration profile that you can install.

Meanwhile, if you've created a document using fonts added from Adobe Fonts on your computer or laptop (see below), you may find that the fonts aren't available by default when you open the document on your iPad. In this case, you'll be hit with a message that reads 'Replace Missing Fonts' or 'Transform With Missing Fonts'. 

To fix this, make sure you have the latest iPadOS version, and then download the Adobe Creative Cloud app from the App Store. Open the app, sign in to your account, and then tap 'Fonts' at the bottom of the screen. Head to 'Browse Adobe Fonts', and then tap 'Active Fonts Not On This Device' and 'Install Fonts'.

Font licences: what to consider when you add a font on Photoshop

A screengrab from Google fonts

Google Fonts provides an open-source collection of fonts that can be used privately or commercially (Image credit: Google)

Although free font libraries may seem to be a limitless resource to be able to add fonts to Photoshop, it is worth considering the issue of licences. Since every font is regarded as its own piece of software, it's bound by licensing agreements when you install it onto your computer. Each font comes with some type of licence, which you can check on the End-User License Agreement that comes with any font you download. 

A desktop licence will allow you to install a font onto your computer and use in any application, which makes it fine to use for personal projects, but problems may arise when you want to add a font to Photoshop for use in commercial work.

Even if a font is advertised as a free download, it may still have restrictions regarding commercial work. In the same respect, it’s possible that someone may upload a font and describe it as ‘free’ without the original designer’s permission. When working for clients, it's imperative that you check the font licence and purchase any licences if needed – you're client is unlikely to be happy if they receive a strongly worded letter from the owner of the font.

The easiest way around this is to use open-source licensing. Open-source fonts are free to download and use, so long as you don’t resell and occasionally give credit for use. A good example is Google Fonts (opens in new tab), which is an open-source collection that's popular with designers and can be used privately or commercially (see our pick of the best Google fonts).

How to add fonts in Photoshop using Adobe Fonts

How to add fonts in Photoshop using Adobe Fonts

Adobe Fonts is available with any Adobe CC subscription and can be accessed online or through the app (Image credit: Adobe)

Another good resource for Adobe CC subscribers is Adobe Fonts, which offers a huge selection of typefaces, all cleared for personal and commercial use, with seamless integration with CC. If you are online and logged into CC, you can access Adobe Fonts from inside the app or online. 

If you find a font you like, you can simply click the slider to activate either individual fonts or entire families. These will become available in all Adobe apps. When opening a project with fonts that you don’t own, you will be given the option of Resolving Fonts, which syncs any matching fonts from Adobe Fonts. All fonts are included with any CC subscription and there are no limits on how many you can use at once.

How to add fonts in Photoshop: OTF vs TTF

The two most common files that you will come across if you want to add fonts in Photoshop are TTF (TrueType Font) and OTF (OpenType Font). TTF is an older format that uses glyph tables to define its characters’ appearance, while OTF uses glyphs alongside Compact Font Format tables, giving it the potential for smaller file sizes. Although OTF fonts are becoming more popular, TTF still remains a viable alternative, and it's easier to create than OTF.

Where to find fonts to add to Photoshop

These days there is a huge range of online font libraries where you can download fonts to add in Photoshop and other design software. Many of them offer a range of free fonts to add to Photoshop as well as paid-for options. One of our favourite online font libraries is Myfonts.com (follow the link below) because of the huge range of quality fonts it offers. You can find more options in our guide to the best places to download free fonts.

Buy fonts from myfonts.com (opens in new tab)

Buy fonts from myfonts.com (opens in new tab)
Find thousands of fonts for all kinds of projects at myfonts.com by Monotype. It has over 130,000 fonts, from brush fonts to display fonts, and more than 900 of them are completely free.

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Matt Smith
Designer and Video Producer

Matt has worked for various publishing houses and design agencies, covering studio photography, video production, editorial design, branding, illustration and motion graphics. He currently works for Future PLC with brands such as T3, Woman&Home, Marie Claire, Music Week, TechRadar, Golden Joysticks, Cycling Weekly, Brand Impact Awards, Horse&Hound and Tech&Learning. In the past he has designed titles including Mac|Life, IQ, Bow International, Drummer, iDrum, Acoustic, Clay Shooting, Sea Fishing and GunTradeNews. He has experience across the full Adobe Suite and is currently spending a lot of time creating projects in Blender and After Effects.