I have type 1 fonts in pfb format that I would like to use with Inkscape on a Mac. However, I can't get Inkscape to find them. The instructions seem to be only for Linux or Windows, but I assumed things would work like in Linux. I could not find *fonts.cache-1 files in my system, it seems like what fc-cache does is to populate a few locations like .fontconfig/ with *-le64.cache-3 files (I assume this to be the same as the *fonts.cache-1 files).

I copied the pfb file to ~/.fonts. From a verbose output of fc-cache, I could see that this directory was read and included in fontconfig's cache. But when I try to open a pdf file with this particular font, Inkscape does not use it and replaces by the default font.

I've searched the web to no avail, there just isn't a lot of material out there on this. I've successfully opened the same pdf in Illustrator by copying the pfb file to Adobe's local font directory, so I know that the font works. But for some reason, Inkscape doesn't use it. Any clues?

I am aware that I can convert the fonts from .pfb to .dfont or otf/ttf, but in my case it is just not practical.

I am using the Inkscape.app downloaded from the webpage (0.48.2 r9819), XQuartz 2.7.4, and OSX 10.8.2. Thanks!

  • Add fonts in fontbook.app ?
    – benoît
    Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 19:20
  • Fontbook doesn't work with type 1 fonts.
    – tiago
    Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 21:34
  • Since when does Fontbook not support Type 1? The problem is you have pfb fonts.. which are Windows files. You need Mac Type 1 fonts.
    – Scott
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 6:02

1 Answer 1


In the olden days, Postscript Type-1 fonts came in two different versions – Mac or Windows. .pfb files are the Windows flavor, which doesn't work on operating-system level in Mac OS X. (Adobe applications have their own font handling, which is why it works there when you put the fonts into the Adobe font folder.) Anyway, the OS X standard folder for user-specific fonts would be ~/Library/Fonts (or /Library/Fonts to be accessible for all users)…

Maybe just convert the old fonts into the modern OTF format. There is a free web-based service for it at http://www.freefontconverter.com


Contrary to my previous statement in the comments, Inkscape on OS X can indeed make use of Windows-flavoured Postscript Type1 fonts (.PFB) if they are placed in a special directory (=folder) on the UNIX level of OS X:

/opt/local/share/fonts/type1/ (This option is probably a remnant of Inkscape's Linux origins.)

This folder does not exist by default in OS X, so you need to create the whole subdirectory tree yourself. This requires a user account with Admin permissions.

The /opt folder may already exist on your system, e.g., if you have previously installed XQuartz X11 to replace the X11 system that was originally installed with OS X. To check, go to Finder and navigate to the root of your startup volume (Macintosh HD), e.g. by pressing Cmd-Shift-G and typing / (slash) in the input field that opens.

If there is no opt folder inside (next to the folders Applications, Library, System, Users), press Cmd-Shift-N to create a new folder and name it opt (you will be prompted to identify yourself with an Admin-privileged user account), then navigate into the opt folder and create a new folder named local, navigate into it and create a new subfolder share. Repeat this down the fonts to the type1 subfolder.

That's it. Now you can drag the Type1 (.PFB) font files into that last type1 folder, or place a folder with a whole font family. They will appear in Inkscape on the next start.

(I got this hint from a remark in this posting here: https://bugs.launchpad.net/inkscape/+bug/995561 and tested it successfully under OS X 10.7.5 with Inkscape 0.48.)

  • Thank you for the suggestion. I forgot to say that converting the fonts is not a viable option. For two reasons: there are many fonts with a pfb file for each font size/style (these are TeX fonts) and when I convert a single pfb file (e.g. cmr5.pfb), OS X imports it using its name (e.g. Computer Modern), not the CMR5 id that appears in the pdf. Thus, Inkscape can't use it.
    – tiago
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 2:09
  • So there is no way for Inkscape to use pfb fonts? This PDF has the fonts embedded, but Inkscape does not support embedded fonts just yet.
    – tiago
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 4:00
  • According to the FAQ, Inkscape supports type 1 fonts since version 0.46, so I don't think a conversion is necessary.
    – tiago
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 4:07
  • If you must use Inkscape and be able to edit text in those PDFs, try this: 1. Convert the fonts and install them in OS X. 2. Open the PDFs in Illustrator, change all text occurrences to the fonts in their new names and save the PDFs. 3. Open the PDFs in Inkscape and edit them. –– If that's not a viable solution, either use a Windows system or drop Inkscape and use Illustrator instead.
    – TehMacDawg
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 4:56
  • What about afm fonts? I also have them in that format. Would Inkscape work with those? I can do what I want in Illustrator, but just wanted to switch to Inkscape.
    – tiago
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 6:06

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