Setup Microsoft True Type Fonts in Debian Etch

Using Microsoft true type fonts seems to make Linux appearance more pleasant at least in my opinion. In this blog, I would like to explain ways to set up Microsoft true type fonts in Linux by copying fonts from Windows XP partition. Therefore, I assume that the machine that you are working on is a dual boot between Windows XP and Debian Linux.

In Windows XP, fonts are in the C:\WINDOWS\Fonts. Therefore, we will copy all true type fonts (*.ttf and *.TTF) from that directory to Linux. First of all, we need to create a new directory in Debian Linux to store these fonts. Since fonts in Linux are in /usr/share/fonts/truetype, we will make a new directory called msfonts in the /usr/share/fonts/truetype.

>cd /usr/share/fonts/truetype


>mkdir msfonts

Before we can copy true type fonts from Windows XP partition, we need to mount that partition. Please follow the steps in …. and then come back here.

After you mount the Windows XP partition at /mnt/windows and make a new directory /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msfonts, then we are ready to copy all true type fonts from Windows XP to Linux. As root,

> cd /mnt/windows/WINDOWS/Fonts

>cp *.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msfonts

>cp *.TTF /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msfonts

Then, we need to change permissions of the copied fonts to 644.

>cd /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msfonts

>chmod 644 *

Then, we can activate changes with the following command.

>fc-cache -fv

[Update: September 29, 2007] Then, we can use MS true type fonts for Firefox, Iceweasel and Gnome.

[Update: September 30, 2007]

1) I setup MS true type fonts in Iceweasel as follows.

– I open Iceweasel browser. Then, I click Edit–>Preferences–>Content

– Under Fonts&Colors, I click Advanced.

– Then, I set

Fonts for: Western

Proposional: Sans serif , Size=16
Serif: Tims New Roman

Sans-serif: Arial

Monospace: Courier News, Size=12

2) I set System fonts as follows.

– In Gnome, I click Desktop–>Preferences–>Font. (Updated on April 7, 2010, in Debian Lenny, you can go to Font setting by System –> Preferences –> Appearance –> Fonts)

– Then, I change Application font, Document font, Desktop font, Windows title font to “Tahoma”, and change Fixed width font to “Courier New”.  I use the same font size and weight as original.

– Next,  under the Font Rendering, I choose “Subpixel Smoothing (LCDs)”.

That’s all.

Note that MS true type fonts can be installed using Synaptic package manager by searching for “msttcorefonts”. However, this package does not include “Tahoma” font.

This entry was posted in Linux. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Setup Microsoft True Type Fonts in Debian Etch

  1. Jerry Park says:


    Works well.

    Linux fonts in iceweasel often resembled low resolution dot matrix.
    Now they are close to the appearance of firefox in windows.

  2. indra says:

    Just followed your guide, and it works!!
    I have previously installed msttcorefonts via synaptic with no luck.

    Thank you.

  3. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Setup Microsoft True Type Fonts in Debian Etch

  4. cornow says:

    Much better and Debian not an eye sore anymore


  5. stan says:

    I have one question – does anyone have an idea just how legal this is? I own a license for my copy of MS Windows, but does it mean I can use parts of it? What if I have a product running on my Linux machine that uses the MS fonts? Any idea?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s