How to Add Fonts to Illustrator

In this walkthrough, we've shared how to add fonts to Illustrator, so you can expand your design possibilities and use some specialized typefaces. Illustrator comes with a huge variety of built-in fonts, but outside sources can add more individuality to your creative work.   

Fonts vs. Typefaces
Often, the terms font and typeface are used interchangeably, but they actually refer to different aspects of typography. Fonts are individual sets of characters that share the same size and style, such as 12-pt Times New Roman Italic or 24-pt Arial Bold. Meanwhile, a typeface is the entire collection of fonts. Every size and style in the font family, such as Times New Roman, is included in a typeface. In most cases, you'll be adding font collections to Illustrator.  

How to Add Fonts to Illustrator
First, download a new font collection to your hard drive. You can find thousands of free collections online with a quick Google search, and there are plenty of dedicated sites with professional typefaces as well. Most of these fonts will be in a zipped file format, so you'll need to extract (or "unzip") them first. 

If you're using Windows, you can press Ctrl+click to select multiple font files, and then right-click on them and choose "Install". The fonts will automatically be added to your font library, and Illustrator will recognize them when you use the program again. Meanwhile, Mac users can copy the downloaded font files to their "Fonts" folder, located at <Volume>/Users/<Username>/Library/Fonts.

Finally, launch Illustrator and press T to select the Type tool. Then, click and drag on your artboard to draw a new text box. On the top options bar, you'll see a "Character" drop-down menu, with the full list of installed fonts in alphabetical order. You can also access these fonts by selecting "Type" > "Font" on the top menu bar. Click on your new font, and start typing away. 

Organizing Fonts
Starting with Illustrator CC 2017, you can now save your favorite fonts by clicking the star icon next to the font family name. This allows you to quickly access your go-to fonts between Illustrator sessions. You can also filter the font search by specifying which class (i.e. Serif, Sans Serif, etc) you're looking for, or click the wavy line icon to find fonts that are visually similar with your current selection. 

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