I would like to setup a Linux system with ScrotWM as the window manager, but I noticed that X is aware of only a few fonts. I would like to have UTF-8 fonts that support multiple languages, including Asian languages like Japanese and Traditional Chinese. How do I install fonts so that X can show them? What kind of fonts would they be? And will the fonts be universally available to other programs like Firefox or OpenOffice once I install them? Or will applications maintain separate groups of fonts for their own use? Thanks.


To add fonts while X server is running use command:

xset fp+ /path/to/dir/with/fonts/

And, if needed:

xset fp rehash

To make this permanent add FontPath line to your xorg.conf


You can download fonts (i.e TTF files) then put them in ~/.fonts (for personal use) or /usr/share/fonts (for everyone). After that X should pick up the font list and make it available to all applications (you may have to log out and log back in first).


Step-by-step manual how to install to Linux the multiple fonts from the specific folder:

  1. Open the Terminal application and gain root privileges by typing su and the correct root password.
  2. Go to the folder with the fonts by using cd command, e.g suppose, the user font folder is in Downloads:

    cd /home/**user_name**/Downloads/Fonts
  3. Copy the font files to the system-wide fonts directory /usr/share/font:

    find . -iname '*.ttf' -exec ln -srvf {} /usr/share/fonts/ \;
  4. Refresh the system font cache with fc-cache, e.g.:

    fc-cache -v

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