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.

Adobe Typekit

All InDesign subscriptions include an Adobe Typekit Portfolio plan, which includes a library of fonts which can be synced to your desktop and used with InDesign and any other desktop applications. For more information on how to sync desktop fonts with Typekit, click here.

Install fonts

For information on installing and activating fonts to be used in all applications, see your system documentation or your font manager documentation.

You can make fonts available in InDesign by copying the font files into the Fonts folder inside the InDesign application folder on your hard drive. However, fonts in this Fonts folder are available only to InDesign.

If two or more fonts are active in InDesign and use the same family name but have different Adobe PostScript names, the fonts are available in InDesign. Duplicate fonts are listed in the menus with their font technologies abbreviated in parentheses. For example, a Helvetica TrueType font appears as “Helvetica (TT),” a Helvetica PostScript Type 1 font appears as “Helvetica (T1),” and a Helvetica OpenType font appears as “Helvetica (OTF).” If two fonts have the same PostScript name and one includes .dfont in its name, the other font is used.

Apply a font to text

When you specify a font, you can select the font family and its type style independently. When you change from one font family to another, InDesign attempts to match the current style with the style available in the new font family. For example, Arial Bold would change to Times Bold when you change from Arial to Times.

When you apply a bold or italic style to type, InDesign applies the typeface style specified by the font. In most cases, the specific version of bold or italic is applied as expected. However, some fonts may apply a bold or italic variation that isn’t exactly labeled bold or italic, respectively. For example, some font designers specify that when you apply bold to a font, the semibold variation is applied.

  1. Select the text you want to change.
  2. Do any of the following:
    • In the Character panel or Control panel, select a font in the Font Family menu or a style in the Type Style menu. (In Mac OS, you can select type styles in the Font Family submenus.)

    • In the Character panel or Control panel, click in front of the font family name or type style name (or double-click its first word) and type in the first few characters of the name you want. As you type, InDesign displays font family or type style names that match the characters you’ve typed.

    • Choose a font in the Type > Font menu. Note that you choose both a font family and a type style when you use this menu.

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.


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

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 point size of the font names or font samples in Type preferences.

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.

OpenType fonts (right)
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.

Apply OpenType font attributes

Use the Character panel or Control panel to apply OpenType font attributes, such as fractions and swashes to text.

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

Apply OpenType font attributes

  1. In the Character panel or Control panel, make sure that an OpenType font is selected.
  2. Choose OpenType from the Character panel menu, and then select an OpenType attribute, such as Discretionary Ligatures or Fractions.

Features not supported in the current font appear in square brackets, such as [Swash].


You can also select OpenType font attributes when defining a paragraph or character style. Use the OpenType Features section of the Style Options dialog box.

OpenType font attributes

When you use an OpenType font, you can select specific OpenType features from the Control panel or Character panel menu when formatting text or when defining styles.


OpenType fonts vary greatly in the number of type styles and kinds of features they offer. If an OpenType feature is unavailable, it’s surrounded in square brackets (such as [Swash]) in the Control panel menu.

Discretionary Ligatures

Font designers may include optional ligatures that shouldn’t be turned on in all circumstances. Selecting this option allows these additional optional ligatures to be used, if they are present. For more information on ligatures, see Apply ligatures to letter pairs.


Numbers separated by a slash (such as 1/2) are converted to a fraction character, when fractions are available.


Ordinal numbers such as 1st and 2nd are formatted with superscript letters (1st and 2nd) when ordinals are available. Letters such as the superscript a and o in the Spanish words segunda (2a) and segundo (2o) are also typeset properly.


When available, regular and contextual swashes, which may include alternate caps and end-of-word alternatives, are provided.

Titling Alternatives

When available, characters used for uppercase titles are activated. In some fonts, selecting this option for text formatted in both uppercase and lowercase letters can yield undesired effects.

Contextual Alternatives

When available, contextual ligatures and connecting alternates are activated. Alternate characters are included in some script typefaces to provide better joining behavior. For example, the letter pair “bl” in the word “bloom” can be joined so that it looks more like handwriting. This option is selected by default.

All Small Caps

For fonts that include real small caps, selecting this option turns characters into small caps. For more information, see Change the case of type.

Slashed Zero

Selecting this options displays the number 0 with a diagonal slash through it. In some fonts (especially condensed fonts), it can be difficult to distinguish between the number 0 and the capital letter O.

Stylistic Sets

Some OpenType fonts include alternate glyph sets designed for esthetic effect. A stylistic set is a group of glyph alternates that can be applied one character at a time or to a range of text. If you select a different stylistic set, the glyphs defined in the set are used instead of the font’s default glyphs. If a glyph character in a stylistic set is used in conjunction with another OpenType setting, the glyph from the individual setting overrides the character set glyph. You can see the glyphs for each set using the Glyphs panel.

Positional Forms

In some cursive scripts and in languages such as Arabic, what a character looks like can depend on its position inside a word. The character may change form when it appears at the start (initial position), middle (medial position), or end (final position) of a word, and it may change form as well when it appears alone (isolated position). Select a character and choose a Positional Forms option to format it correctly. The General Form option inserts the common character; the Automatic Form option inserts a form of the character according to where the character is located in the word and whether the character appears in isolation.

Superscript/Superior & Subscript/Inferior

Some OpenType fonts include raised or lowered glyphs that are sized correctly relative to the surrounding characters. If an OpenType font doesn’t include these glyphs for non-standard fractions, consider using the Numerator and Denominator attributes.

Numerator & Denominator

Some OpenType fonts convert only basic fractions (such as 1/2 or 1/4) to fraction glyphs, not non-standard fractions (such as 4/13 or 99/100). Apply Numerator and Denominator attributes to these non-standard fractions in such cases.

Tabular Lining

Same widths are provided for full-height figures. This option is appropriate in situations where numbers need to line up from one line to the next, as in tables.

Proportional Oldstyle

Varying-height figures with varying widths are provided. This option is recommended for a classic, sophisticated look in text that doesn’t use all caps.

Proportional Lining

Full-height figures with varying widths are provided. This option is recommended for text that uses all caps.

Tabular Oldstyle

Varying-height figures with fixed, equal widths are provided. This option is recommended when you want the classic appearance of old-style figures, but you need them to align in columns, as in an annual report.

Default Figure Style

Figure glyphs use the default figure style of the current font.

Work with missing fonts

When you open or place documents that include fonts not installed on your system, an alert message appears, indicating which fonts are missing. If you select text that uses a missing font, the Character panel or Control panel indicates that this font is missing by displaying it in brackets in the font style pop‑up menu.

InDesign substitutes missing fonts with an available font. When this happens, you can select the text and apply any other available font. Missing fonts for which others have been substituted will appear at the top of the Type > Font menu in a section marked “Missing Fonts.” By default, text formatted with missing fonts appears in pink highlighting.

If a TrueType font is installed and the document contains a Type 1 (T1) version of the same font, the font is displayed as missing.

You can choose Type > Find Font to find and change missing fonts. If a missing font is part of a style, you can update the font in that style by changing its style definition.

InDesign’s missing fonts dialog displays whether Font Syncing is Turned On\Off in the Creative Cloud application. If it is turned Off, you also have an option on the Missing fonts dialog itself to Turn Typekit On.

Make missing fonts available

  • Do any of the following:
    • Use the Typekit workflow to sync the missing font with InDesign and other applications. See Sync desktop fonts.
    • Install the missing fonts on your system.
    • Place the missing fonts in the Fonts folder, which is located in the InDesign application folder. Fonts in this folder are available only to InDesign. See Installing fonts.
    • Activate the missing fonts using a font-management application.


    Missing fonts
    Missing fonts


If you don’t have access to the missing fonts, use the Find Font command to search for and replace missing fonts.

Highlight substituted fonts in your document

If the Select Substituted Fonts preferences option is selected, text formatted with missing fonts appears in pink highlighting so that you can easily identify text formatted with a missing font.

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences > Composition (Windows®) or InDesign > Preferences > Composition (Mac OS®).
  2. Select Substituted Fonts, and then click OK.

Document installed fonts

Fonts in a Document Fonts folder that is in the same location as an InDesign document are temporarily installed when the document is opened. The Package command can generate a Document Fonts folder when you want to share your document or move it to a different computer. (Before sharing any document fonts, ensure the font software license allows it.) Fonts synced from Adobe Typekit are not copied by the Package command. Read more about Typekit fonts and the Package command here.

Fonts in the Document Fonts folder are not the same as fonts available from the standard operating system font locations. They are installed when the document is opened and supersede any font of the same PostScript name. However, they supersede only fonts within the document. Fonts installed by one document are not available to other documents. When you close the document, the fonts that were installed for the document are uninstalled. Document installed fonts are listed in a submenu of the Font menu.

Some Type1 fonts are not available in the document. In addition, Mac OS fonts are not available when running InDesign in Windows.

For a video on using document installed fonts, see Sharing files with easy access to the document fonts (video).

Multiple master fonts

Multiple master fonts are customizable Type 1 fonts whose typeface characteristics are described in terms of variable design axes, such as weight, width, style, and optical size.

Some multiple master fonts include an optical size axis, which lets you use a font specifically designed for optimal readability at a particular size. Generally, the optical size for a smaller font, such as 10 point, is designed with heavier serifs and stems, wider characters, less contrast between thick and thin lines, taller x height, and looser spacing between letters than the optical size for a larger font, such as 72 point.

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences > Type (Windows) or InDesign > Preferences > Type (Mac OS).
  2. Select Automatically Use Correct Optical Size, and click OK.

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