I'm setting up a new Mac :) I know that my huge font collection will bog down its performance considerably, so I'm looking for a way to store and access them externally - either on an external drive, or preferably in Dropbox.

I would like to keep only the basic system fonts that shipped with the mac onboard, and store all the rest externally. This is easy enough but I don't know how to get Photoshop to pull the fonts from an external folder (other than my user library fonts folder).

In addition to that, I'm working between multiple computers, so I would love to be able to sync fonts between all of them.

I have found some solutions involving Dropbox and Fontcase, but those still require me to store all of the fonts natively on each computer.

Anyone know of any solutions for this?


  • Suitcase server, FontAgent Pro Server
    – Scott
    Apr 27, 2013 at 0:47
  • Not a duplicate, but similar question: Folder to put fonts for Illustrator CS6 without having to install fonts in system (same applies to Photoshop)
    – JohnB
    Apr 27, 2013 at 0:56
  • Storing fonts on your local hard drive will not cause any performance issues. Loading all your fonts into memory may.
    – DA01
    Apr 27, 2013 at 3:26
  • In regards to font server apps, they still cache the font's locally for activation. As far as I'm aware, all the systems out there cache all fonts locally in case of server interruption. Apr 27, 2013 at 17:13
  • voted to close. This is about system configuration, not design in my opinion.
    – Scott
    Apr 28, 2013 at 7:46

3 Answers 3


One way or another you are going to have to store them locally. That's the only way the system is going to be able to use them. That doesn't mean they need to be active, that's what a good font manager is for (I'm a big fan of FontExplorer).

If you have discreet sets of fonts that you can identify (clients, project types, styles), there might be another good solution for you. Use something like BitBucket to host your groups as separate repositories then only pull down what you need at the moment. From there you can either place that group directly in the fonts directory or use a font manager to import/activate it.


With my Adobe apps, I don't install Fonts in the Mac OS X fonts folder - I just store them in Library/Application Support/Adobe/Fonts (backing up the original as a compressed file) and store them in subfolders so all apps can use them - e.g. InDesign, Photoshop.

Worked for me on Mountain Lion 10.8.3 anyway.

I would recomment a font manager for if you're using other non-Adobe apps, though; but this solution is a good one if you're just doing graphic design/PDFs from InDesign etc.


This won't help with having too many fonts for the system to handle, or if they take up too much disk space (?!), but I have a script i've we've been working on to synchronize fonts across multiple OSX machines via a Dropbox folder.

the script still has a lot off issues (duplicating system fonts can lead to a very difficult to recover state if the machine decides to use the synchronized font over the one in /Library/Fonts and then the targeted font is deleted), and identifying duplicate fonts that have different filenames has required more work than i've been able to trow at it thus far, but if you've got some programming chops available it might serve as a starting point. you could certainly extend it to handle swapping groups in and out. it's about 200-300 lines of Ruby, lmk if that's useful to you.

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