About fonts

A font is a complete set of characters—letters, numbers, and symbols—that share a common weight, width, and style, such as 10‑pt Adobe Garamond Bold.

Typefaces (often called type families or font families) are collections of fonts that share an overall appearance, and are designed to be used together, such as Adobe Garamond.

A type style is a variant version of an individual font in a font family. Typically, the Roman or Plain (the actual name varies from family to family) member of a font family is the base font, which may include type styles such as regular, bold, semibold, italic, and bold italic.

For CJK-language fonts, the font style name is often determined by the variation in thickness (also called weight). For example, the Japanese font Kozuka-Mincho Std includes six weights: Extra Light, Light, Regular, Medium, Bold, and Heavy. The font style name which is displayed depends on the font manufacturer. Each font style is a stand-alone file. If the font style file has not been installed, that font style cannot be selected from Font Style.

In addition to the fonts installed on your system, you can also create the following folders and use fonts installed in them:


Program Files/Common Files/Adobe/Fonts

Mac OS

Library/Application Support/Adobe/Fonts

If you install a Type 1, TrueType, OpenType, or CID font into the local Fonts folder, the font appears in Adobe applications only.

OpenType fonts

OpenType fonts use a single font file for both Windows® and Macintosh® computers, so you can move files from one platform to another without worrying about font substitution and other problems that cause text to reflow. They may include a number of features, such as swashes and discretionary ligatures, that aren’t available in current PostScript and TrueType fonts.


OpenType fonts display the  icon.

When working with an OpenType font, you can automatically substitute alternate glyphs, such as ligatures, small capitals, fractions, and old style proportional figures, in your text.

Regular (left) and OpenType (right) fonts
Regular (left) and OpenType (right) fonts

A. Ordinals B. Discretionary ligatures C. Swashes 

OpenType fonts may include an expanded character set and layout features to provide richer linguistic support and advanced typographic control. OpenType fonts from Adobe that include support for central European (CE) languages include the word “Pro,” as part of the font name in application font menus. OpenType fonts that don’t contain central European language support are labeled “Standard,” and have an “Std” suffix. All OpenType fonts can also be installed and used alongside PostScript Type 1 and TrueType fonts.

For more information on OpenType fonts, see www.adobe.com/go/opentype.

OpenType SVG fonts

Illustrator supports OpenType SVG fonts such as colored fonts and emoji fonts. OpenType SVG fonts provide multiple colors and gradients in a single glyph. 

SVG font_example
OpenType SVG fonts: Multiple colors and gradients

Using Emoji fonts, you can include various colorful and graphical characters, such as smileys, flags, street signs, animals, people, food, and landmarks in your documents. OpenType SVG emoji fonts, such as the EmojiOne font, let you create certain composite glyphs from one or more other glyphs. For example, you can create the flags of countries or change the skin color of certain glyphs depicting people and body parts such as hands and nose.

Glyphs panel showing EmojiOne SVG font characters

To use OpenType SVG fonts, follow these steps:

  1. Create either a text object using the Type tool.

  2. Set the font to an OpenType SVG font. These fonts are marked with  in the font list.

  3. Select specific glyphs using the Glyphs Panel. To view the Glyphs Panel, select Type > Glyphs. Alternatively, you can open the Glyphs panel by selecting Window > Type > Glyphs.

Create composite glyphs

For the purpose of illustration, let's consider EmojiOne, an OpenType SVG emoji font. You can composite several EmojiOne OpenType SVG font characters to create glyphs.

For example, you can create the flags of countries or change the skin color of single-person or body part default characters usually colored , or .


Glyphs in an emoji font, such as the EmojiOne, are distinct from the letters on your keyboard. These glyphs are treated as distinct characters and are available only through the Glyphs Panel rather than the keyboard.

Create flags of countries

The "letters” (A, B, C, D, and so on) in EmojiOne do not correspond to the corresponding keys on the keyboard. When you combine these characters in the Glyphs Panel to make up a country’s ISO code, the two characters form the flag of that country. For example, US gives the American flag, GB gives the British flag, AR gives the Argentine flag, and IN gives the Indian flag.

Flag composite
Combine glyphs to form the flags of countries

Create character variants

Combine single-person default characters; usually colored , , or ; or body parts with any of the available skin colors. The original default character is recolored to match the selected skin color. Such composites currently do not generally work with glyphs having more than one person.

skin-colored characters
Skin-colored characters
Face color composite
Combine single-person characters with skin colors


  • The single-person characters or body parts emojis can be matched with any of the skin colored characters only once.
  • Composite glyphs are a font feature. Not all OpenType SVG fonts let you combine characters to create composite glyphs.
  • You can decompose some EmojiOne composites into their constituent characters.

OpenType Variable fonts

Illustrator now supports Variable Font, a new OpenType font format supporting custom attributes like weight, width, slant, optical size, etc. This release of Illustrator ships with several variable fonts for which you can adjust weight, width, and slant using convenient slider controls available when you click  in the Control panel, Character panel, Character Styles panel, and Paragraph Styles panel.

Search for variable in the font list to look for variable fonts. Alternatively, look for the  icon next to the font name.

A. Access the Variable Font using the Character panel B. Add a Variable Font to a character style 

Choose Type > Recent Fonts to view the custom fonts that you've created and recently used in your document.

Preview fonts

You can view samples of a font in the font family and font style menus in the Character panel and other areas in the application from where you can choose fonts. The following icons are used to indicate different kinds of fonts:

  • OpenType

  • Type 1

  • TrueType

  • Multiple Master

  • Composite


You can turn off the preview feature or change the font preview size in Type preferences.


Live font preview

Preview your selected type objects with different fonts in real time by simply hovering over the font name in the font list available in the Control panel and Character panel.


Live preview of font characteristics

Preview font characteristics, such as size, style, leading, and tracking in real time by simply hovering over the font characteristics available in the Control panel and the Character panel.

Note: Live preview for kerning is not available.

Organize and filter fonts

Quickly find the fonts that you use often by starring individual font families as favorites or selecting from recently used fonts that appear on top of the font list. Recently used and starred fonts are preserved across Illustrator sessions.

While searching for fonts, you can narrow down the results by filtering fonts by classification, such as Serif, Sans Serif, and Handwritten. Further, you can choose to search among fonts installed on your computer or synchronized fonts from Typekit.

You can also search for fonts based on visual similarity (). Fonts closest in visual appearance to the font you're searching for appear on top of the search results.

A. Star fonts as favorites B. Recently used fonts 

Tools for searching fonts

A. Filter B. Apply Typekit Filter C. Apply Favorite Filter D. Apply Similar Filter 


Filter the font list by classification, such as Serif, Script, and Handwritten.

Apply Typekit Filter

Display only synchronized fonts from Typekit in the font list.

Apply Favorite Filter

Show only starred fonts marked earlier as favorites.

Apply Similar Filter

Show fonts, including fonts from Typekit, that are visually similar to the selected font.

Select a font family and style

  1. Select the characters or type objects you want to change. If you don’t select any text, the font applies to new text you create.
  2. Select a font family and style using the Control panel, Type menu, or Character panel:
    • In the Control panel, set the Font and Font Style options.

    • In the Type menu, select a name from the Font or Recent Fonts submenu. Using the Font menu is convenient because it displays a preview of the available fonts.

    • In the Character panel, set the Font Family and Font Style options. In addition to choosing a name from the pop‑up menus, you can click the current name and type in the first few characters of the name you want.

      Tip: To change the number of fonts in the Recent Fonts submenu, choose Edit > Preferences > Type (Windows) or Illustrator > Preferences > Type (Mac OS), and set the Number Of Recent Fonts option.

Specify a typeface size

By default, typeface size is measured in points (a point equals 1/72 of an inch). You can specify any typeface size from 0.1 to 1296 points, in 0.001‑point increments.


In Fireworks, the typeface size is measured in pixels by default.

  1. Select the characters or type objects you want to change. If you don’t select any text, the typeface size applies to new text you create.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • In the Character panel or Control bar, set the Font Size option.

    • Choose a size from the Type > Size menu. Choosing Other lets you type a new size in the Character panel.

      Tip: You can change the unit of measurement for type in the Preferences dialog box. This option is not available in Fireworks.

Find and replace fonts

  1. Choose Type > Find Font.


    Move the Find Font dialog box so that you can see all the text in your document.

  2. Select the name of a font you want to find in the top section of the dialog box. The first occurrence of the font is highlighted in the document window.
  3. Select a replacement font in the bottom section of the dialog box. You can customize the list of replacement fonts by doing the following:
    • Choose an option from the Replace With Font From pop‑up menu: Document to list only the fonts that are used in the document or System to list all fonts on your computer.

    • Select the kinds of fonts you want to include in the list; deselect the kinds of fonts you don’t want to include.

  4. Do one of the following:
    • Click Change to change just one occurrence of the selected font.

    • Click Change All to change all occurrences of the selected font.

      When there are no more occurrences of a font in your document, its name is removed from the Fonts in Document list.

  5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 to find and replace a different font.
  6. Click Done to close the dialog box.


    When you replace a font using the Find Font command, all other type attributes remain the same.

Work with missing fonts

If a document uses fonts not installed on your system, an alert message appears when you open it. Illustrator indicates which fonts are missing and substitutes missing fonts with available matching fonts.

  • To substitute missing fonts with a different font, select the text that uses the missing font and apply any other available font.
  • To make missing fonts available in Illustrator, either install the missing fonts on your system or activate the missing fonts using a font management application.
  • To highlight substituted fonts in pink, choose File >Type, and select Highlight Substituted Fonts (and Highlighted Substituted Glyphs, if desired), and then click OK.

Change the default font

The default font in Adobe Illustrator CC is Myriad Pro. The default font is selected in the Font menu, Character palette, and as the Normal Character Style in the Character Styles panel. The default font is selected even if the document you open doesn't contain that font or if you last used another font before quitting Illustrator. You can change the default font in Illustrator by editing the default template files.

  1. Choose File > Open.

  2. Navigate to the following location:

    OSDisk\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator <version number> Settings\en_US\x64\New Document Profiles


    • Replace <username> with your account name.
    • Replace <version number> with the following values, depending on the version of Illustrator that you have installed on your system:
    Illustrator CC release Version number
    CC October 2017 22
    CC 2017 21
    CC 2015 20
    CC 2014 19
  3. Choose the desired default document profile template and click Open.

  4. Choose Window > Type > Character Styles.

  5. Double-click Normal Character Style in the Character Styles panel.

  6. Select Basic Character Formats on the left of the Character Style Options dialog.

  7. Choose the desired font from the Font Family menu. You can also change other settings such as Font Style, Size, and so on.

  8. Click OK.

  9. Choose File > Save As to overwrite the original document profile template and close the file.

  10. Choose File > New and select the desired default document profile template.

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