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How to install Microsoft fonts on Linux for better collaboration

There are certain fonts you'll find on Microsoft Windows that don't ship with Linux by default. Fortunately, there's an easy way to get them.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Person using a laptop
Dougal Waters/Getty Images

There are specific fonts that are considered almost universal for many purposes. Consider the following list:

  • Times New Roman
  • Arial Black
  • Arial
  • Comic Sans MS
  • Courier New
  • Impact
  • Verdana

You don't have to be a font geek (insert Brick Heck whispering "font geek" here) to know any of the above fonts. They aren't just popular, they are used across the board for so many things. Imagine a world without Times New Roman or Arial? Shudder.

Also: 8 things you can do with Linux that you can't do with MacOS or Windows

I do understand the popularity of both of those fonts. I would venture to say that if you've ever collaborated with someone on a document, you've come across either Arial or Times New Roman. And even though MS Office defaults to the Calibri font, many users opt to go with one of the more familiar choices.

If you use Linux, however, you won't find any of the above fonts installed by default because of licensing. The popular fonts we discussed above are owned by Microsoft. The Linux operating system can't offer them out of the box because users must first agree to the end-user license agreement before those fonts can be installed and used.

Also: The best Linux laptops right now

Fortunately, installing the Microsoft Core Font family is very easy to do on most Linux distributions. Once you've installed the proper package, you'll then have access to those seven key fonts.

But how do you install them? Let me show you.

How to install the Microsoft fonts

What you'll need: The only things you'll need are a running instance of Linux and a user with sudo privileges. I'll show you how to do this on Ubuntu-based distributions, Fedora-based distributions, and Arch-based distributions.

1. Open a terminal window

The first thing to do is log into your Linux desktop and open a terminal window from your desktop menu.

2. Install on Ubuntu-based distributions

If your Linux distribution is of the Ubuntu flavor, the command to install the MS Fonts is the following:

sudo apt install ttf-mscorefonts-installer -y

During the installation, you'll have to agree to the license. To do that, tab to OK, and hit Enter on your keyboard and then tab to Yes, and hit Enter. 

Also: How to choose the right Linux desktop distribution for you

When the installation completes, you should then have access to the new fonts.

Agreeing to the MS Core Fonts license on Linux.

You must accept the license before the installation will continue.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Install on Fedora-based distributions

The process for installing the Microsoft Fonts on Fedora-based distributions requires you to issue a few commands. First, you must install some dependencies with the command:

sudo dnf install curl cabextract xorg-x11-font-utils fontconfig -y

Next, you can install the required file with the command:

sudo rpm -i https://downloads.sourceforge.net/project/mscorefonts2/rpms/msttcore-fonts-installer-2.6-1.noarch.rpm

4. Install on Arch Linux

If Arch Linux is your desktop of choice, there are a few packages to install, which can be accomplished with a single command:

sudo yay -S ttf-ms-fonts ttf-vista-fonts ttf-office-2007-fonts ttf-win7-fonts ttf-ms-win8 ttf-ms-win10 ttf-ms-win11

You should now have access to the regularly used Microsoft fonts on Linux. 

Also: The most important reason you should be using Linux at home

Congratulations, collaborating on documents should now be even easier.

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