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Getting InDesign to See Your Fonts

Susan wrote:

We are having trouble with our fonts. When we open up a layout it will tell us the fonts are missing. I go to the library to check and they are there. I have replaced them as well. Why is InDesign not recognizing the fonts?

There are many possible solutions here, and I invite readers to write in with your experiences. But here’s one trick I always like to try: InDesign’s Fonts folder. Most people don’t realize that InDesign has its own Fonts folder. It’s located in the same folder as the application itself (along with the plug-ins and presets folders). If you put a font in that folder, InDesign can almost always see it. Even better, you can put an alias (or “shortcut,” or whatever you want to call it) to a folder of fonts and InDesign can see all those fonts!

For example, if someone sends me a document to open, along with their fonts, I do not want to load all their fonts onto my system. Instead, I just make an alias from their fonts folder and place it in my InDesign fonts folder. I don’t even need to relaunch InDesign; it just sees them automatically.

The Fonts folder can do other magic, too. For example, you can put instances of multiple master fonts in them and InDesign can read them (even though multiple master fonts are no longer officially supported). You can put a Windows -only font inside the Fonts folder in the Macintosh version of InDesign and it can use it!

So while I don’t have any good answers to why ID isn’t seeing the fonts that it should see, I would recommend trying to put a font in the Fonts folder and see if it works. Perhaps other folks can recommend other troubleshooting techniques you might try.

David Blatner

David Blatner

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at
David Blatner

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109 Comments on “Getting InDesign to See Your Fonts

  1. @Abdelmajid: This is a great question for the forum (you can creat a new topic by clicking Forums in the nav bar above). In the meantime, I suggest putting the text on a master page; that’s where all repeating elements should go.

  2. I haven’t gotten InDesign to see all my Windows fonts yet, but I did resolve a problem with Arial Black. It’s installed in Windows, but ID can’t see it under that name. However, “Black” is a type style for “Arial”, and that’s how I get to it. So in some cases, ID only lists the family name, but not all the styles.

  3. We are using CS3. Up until about 1 week ago when our lead designer’s computer started going nutso with repeated different crashes. She had to repeatedly restart InDesign with deleting her preferences. We kept a log and found that it was not the same files or graphics and so knew we needed to create a different user. Anyway, after creating a new user, we now have font problems. She has several fonts that are in many of her advertisements that have T1 fonts in them. I have found the fonts and put them back on her system and the files SAY they are T1 fonts BUT they do not say T1 in the name of the font which they did when she created the files… SO, the fonts are all pinked out. Any ideas about what I should do to make the fonts once again have the (T1) after the name of the font?????

  4. i realised what was the problem with MY font not displaying rightly. my language toolbar was set to Japanese instead of US English!! ack.

  5. Missing fonts in indesign, load as medium when suitcase sees them as plain? This happens frequently with times & helvetica. I’m using suitcase 12.1.7 and mac os 10.4.11. with any version of indesign.

  6. Thank you! I just spent 2.5 hours trying to figure out how to get Helvetica Neue Cond – not part of the adobe font – onto my system. I had successfully deleted the .dfont, but neither Font Book or Suitcase would recognize it. I really didn’t want to spend $$$$ on the Open Type version of Helvetica Neue.
    This simple fix works!

  7. Obviously using ID’s fonts folder is a workable workaround. But, has ID recognise this being bug?

    We are using CS3 and having problems with Helvetica TT vs T1.

  8. We’re using CS4 and Font Agent Pro. ID seems to look for font first in the Library – fonts before Font Agent Pro (discovered this by using Reveal in Finder in Find Font). This means I cannot utilize FAP use of libraries, etc. How do I set up ID to go to FAP first to look for fonts or is this even possible? Help

  9. As far as T1 fonts are concerned, when I upgraded to a 64 bit Windows machine and installed CS3, it no longer recognized my T1 fonts, even though they were in the system font folder and recognized by Microsoft Office. This was never a problem on a 32 bit Windows XP machine.

    Long story short, placing copies of the T1 fonts in the InDesign font folder solved the problem. When I upgraded to CS5, same problem, same solution.

    I don’t think this is a bug so much as the ugly reality that old equipment/software just doesn’t play especially well with new equipment/software and require tweaks and workarounds, if you are lucky.

  10. Am using InDesign CS4 and also having a problem with fonts. Arial Narrow family is not recognized in InDesign. I’ve tried the technique of loading it to InDesign folder but it says: “the folder is write-protected or used by another program.” In CS3, there’s no problem loading the fonts. Please help. Thanks

  11. I have two questions…
    1. I work at a small publishing company and we recently installed a version and image browser-tracking system called XINET. When we did this, some of our font files got corrupted. When this happened, we installed uncorrupted font files in each of our computers (in our font library folder) and they work fine when we open some Indesign files but they are not recognized when we open other Indesign files which seems strange to me. Do you have some explanation for this? Shouldn’t the fonts be recognized by every file?
    Finally, we installed them in the Indesign Font folder and that worked, but I still would like to know what happened.

    2. Since we are a large team, do you recommend:
    ? working with fonts right from the server
    ? installing the fonts in each computer
    ? using font book or other font managing suite?

  12. In CS5, I cannot find Arial Narrow fonts. What is the solution? These fonts worked fine in CS4. Do I need to buy new fonts? If so, what is the best format to buy – True Type or Open Fact Type?
    Help – this is really slowing my production updates within existing documents using Arial Narrow.


  13. I am having the same issue as some of the others with Arial Black regular not being seen by InDesign CS5 on a PC. When I was using CS3 it was no problem. I have tried putting the font into the InDesign font folder and then restarting the program but it still isn’t seeing Arial Black regular, only Arial Black italic. Any other suggestions?


  14. Hi everybody,
    I just discovered this site trying to solve the Helvetica duplicate type issue. I just bought a new (leftover) Mac Pro (from a hot rodded 10 year old G4) and am reinstalling my old software. I ran CS3 and never even thought about type issues with it. Now with 10.6.3, I’m having the same issues a lot of other people are. I was all excited to read about installing fonts into the InDesign font folder until I discovered CS3 doesn’t have a font folder. I’ve screwed around with this thing for too long now without getting any work done, so just to save my own sanity at this point, I just substituted the few of Helvetica Neue fonts for Univers. I know it’s not an ideal solution, but it works for right now so I can get this ad out! Maybe I’m old school, buy I’ve always likes Univers anyway.

    Great Forum everybody!

  15. @Laura, the problem with Arial Black is addressed in a MS hotfix for XP:

    Text that has the font set to Arial Black and the font style set to bold may change so that the font is set to Arial Black and the font style is set to Italic when you open the document on a computer that is running Windows XP

  16. LOVE YOU…Awesome and so easy just spent an hour or two trying to get my arial narrow fonts to work and your simple tip fixed it in a second. Thanks for the post.

  17. Hello, we have two mac pro machines both running indesign cs5.
    When copying the file to the other computer and trying to work on it on there we get the message about missing fonts.
    The font in question is the Impact one.
    I have made sure that the system/library/fonts folder in both Macs has the same impact fonts but still no luck with opening the file. Would be thankful for any ideas!

  18. I’m using CS2 on a Mac.

    I need only 2 fonts for my current project: Palatino and Embellishments Type One LET.

    Initially both were listed as missing when I opened my project file the day after I started the project.

    I copied the Palatino font into the InDesign font folder and that solved the problem with that font.

    However, when I did the same thing with the Embellishment font, it did not solve the problem. The font is still listed as missing.

    Is there a solution?

  19. I am new to this.. I had a company send me an art file so I can take ownership of it and edit it without paying them $500 each time we edit some text. However, they sent all of these files, a font folder, and I am not sure how to get the fonts to open in my new Indesign CS6. I click on the indesign file and it shows missing fonts but I cannot find a “folder” called FONTS on the indesign page.

    I do see the fonts folder they sent to me.. how do I get the file to update so I can change copy?

    Should be easy, but I am completely lost. HELP!

    Thank you!!!!

  20. Rename the folder that contains their fonts to “Document Fonts” (no quotes, but use those initial caps). Keep the INDD file in the same parent folder as Document Fonts. Now open the INDD file and you should see that ID automatically loads their fonts for use only in that document. That’s a new feature from CS5 (or 5.5, can’t remember).

    The fonts loaded from that Document Fonts folder appear at the top of the Type > Fonts list as “Document Fonts”.

    Some older font types won’t work (won’t autoload), but give it a shot.


  21. I am using InDesign CS6 on Mac OS 10.7.5. I recently installed Font Agent Pro which was working well until today. My InDesign documents which loaded fonts successfully from FAP yesterday do not recognize those same fonts today. They are open in the FAP libraries and are not corrupted but don’t show in the InDesign font menu. I am using all OTF open source fonts. I cleaned my font cache today and restarted my computer too. Any suggestions on getting FAP and InDesign to play well together? Thanks!

  22. I am working in InDesign CS5. I have my paragraph styles set for my document and what I’m noticing is that on every other page the fonts appear to have different weights (regular and bold). Everything is set to regular for this style and the font size and leading are all the same. Any idea as to what is causing this and how I can fix it?? Thank you.

  23. I know I’m late to the party with this problem, but thank you, as I just spent three hours trying to troubleshoot font problem, and yours’ was the only thing that worked… Opened a large, multi-page Indd publication file I work on regularly and it tells me I am missing this one font. Not getting any error messages in suitcase. I Delete font, re-download, renaming, installing once again into Suitcase. No luck. Installed it into system fonts folder, nope. I then open a Quark Doc and I see font, although I can’t see it in an AI file either now. So run disk utilities thinking this might help, no luck. Thankfully I find your post & presto, you saved the day!

    • This worked for me in Illustrator too. (CS4)

      There wasn’t an existing font folder so I just made one with the fonts I needed and they showed up.

  24. I often encounter an issue where an inDesign document is looking for a font like News Gothic (T1) or Futura (TT). I do have the correct fonts, the one packaged with the document, but it doesn’t automatically replace the missing font. The correct font is in my font list as Futura or News Gothic (no TT or T1) but when I try to manually replace it the name switches back to the missing TT / T1 name.

    I think this is caused by saving the document on a machine that has more than 1 version, like both T1 and TT, and inDesign is specifying which one is used. When a machine with only one font version opens the document, inDesign doesn’t find specify that font as T1 or TT and therefore thinks its a different font, even though its the same.

    The only solution I’ve found is to change all such missing text to some other font, reopen the document, and then change it all back to the correct font.

  25. Hello,

    I have a problem with Gotham fonts, I have Indd CC on Windows 8 and the program does not recognize the font entirely, missing diacriticle/some glyphs.
    I have the same problem with Indd CS5, but i fixed when i put the fonts in Innd folder.
    I try the same thing now but not working, i installed the fonts in Control Panel/Fonts also in Indd folder.
    Can you help me?

    Thank you,

  26. I finally found a solution to why fonts don’t show up in Windows. If the fonts are “green”, encrypted, they won’t stay installed past a reboot. To “fix” this, you need to right-click on the fonts (or the folder containing them — before you install them), choose Properties, then Advanced, and UNCHECK “Encrypt contents to secure data”. Make sure to apply it to subfolders and files (via the pop-up dialog box).

    After that, the fonts were recognized.

    Thank you to ‘sarabethhunt’ at this link (see last post):


  27. I will work on a file and set up all of the fonts. Save it and every thing is fine. Then when I open the file up it is saying it can find the font. The font is there but Indesign now has (OTF) next to the font. And the Font that I have activated does not have (OTF) next to it. What would be my best work around. This has only started heppening with the new CC.

  28. I have had to dump a few things from CS4 that I was not using. Now it seems that I have lost fonts from both inDesign and my OS 10.6.8. Any suggestions?

  29. Thanks for this tip! I’m using ID CC 2015 and it wasn’t seeing certain fonts even though Font Book showed them and they were activated in Universal Type Client. I decided to make alias’ of my most used fonts and drop them in InDesign’s font folder. ID recognizes the fonts now and no longer tells me a font is missing. Hurrah!

    • @Cherry or ayone .. Dumb question but how do you make them an alias? I’m Using Windows/ CS3 / InDesign

  30. Thank you. Had the same problem with Arial Black and Arial Black Italic. Simply copied them into the ID CC Fonts folder and all is good.

    • Kim: Actually there is no such thing as using InDesign in the cloud — the cloud is used just as a way to install and manage the app. But InDesign is living on your computer hard drive just like other software. So you should be able to find it in the normal place (for example, on the Mac, it’s in the Applications folder)

      • Using the Creative Cloud app I’ve downloaded and installed the fonts I need. However, after opening and closing InDesign, InDesign is still not recognizing the fonts I downloaded and synched. Any suggestions?

      • Kim: Oh, you are talking about Typekit fonts? Do you see the fonts in other programs? (MS Word or Photoshop or anything else?) I don’t know why InDesign would not see them.

  31. constantly a problem with Ind for me as we pass files back and forth – even when I’m the one that initially created the file! Fonts are a HUGE pain and they get duplicated or installed all over the place.

    Folder Alias worked like a charm – I just rename the folder to the project so I know where they come from.


  32. I have InDesign CS5 installed in a Windows 7 machine.
    I have two profiles – one is an administration profile which I use for administration of the machine; the other is a basic profile which I, and others, can use for ordinary everyday tasks.

    In the basic profile, InDesign cannot ‘see’ many – although not all – of the fonts in the font folder. Minion Pro is one of the ones it can’t see which means that I have to find a working font before I can design anything.

    In the Administration profile, InDesign appears to be able to see all of the various fonts.

    I don’t want to keep having to switch profiles when I use InDesign so it would be good if someone could offer a way for InDesign in the Basic profile to see all of the fonts.

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