Hidden Fonts on Mac OS X

It turns out there is a whole host of fonts that, for some reason, are available to certain applications on Mac OS X, but not actually installed into the system-wide font library. I discovered this while looking for Palatino, which I knew was installed somewhere, but couldn’t find in my system fonts. I opened up Terminal.app, ran a simple locate -i palatino, and found exactly what I was looking for. This, however, opened up a whole new dimension to my search: hidden fonts in Mac OS X.

These little treats are literally littered all around the OS. To install them (as with all font files), you just double click on the icons, and Font Book will open up, with a dialogue asking you if you to confirm the installation.

If you have iWork installed, then in /Library/Application Support/Apple/Fonts/iWork, you will find lots of cool fonts that aren’t normally available to the rest of the OS. These include:

Princetown LET

Similarly, if you have iLife installed, there are a bunch of fonts that come with iDVD, not available to the rest of the system. These are in /Applications/iDVD.app/Contents/Resources/Fonts (Ctrl-Click on iDVD.app and select “Show Package Contents” to get there).

Eight different versions of Lucida come with your standard installation of Java, but can only be found by going to /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Home/lib/fonts/ (again, with the “Show Package Contents” trick).

A font called Matrix Ticker is available in the ESPN widget, which is installed by default. It’s at /Library/Widgets/ESPN.wdgt/ESPNTicker.dfont.

Another two widget fonts, found inside the Unit Converter widget, are at /Library/Widgets/Unit Converter.wdgt/DB LCD Temp-Black.ttf and/Library/Widgets/Unit Converter.wdgt/UC-LCD.ttf. These are pretty cool, mimicking the look of a seven-segment display.

DB LCD Temp-Black

That’s all I have for now. Let me know if there are others you have discovered. The more fonts, the better! (Hey, if I’m going to have a mindless consumer attitude towards something, it might as well be something that takes up no physical space and uses no natural resources, right?)


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